Average Whiplash Injury Settlement Amounts
Average Settlement For A Whiplash Injury
Whiplash occurs when the neck is whipped forward and back suddenly, often as a result of car accidents. This can cause injuries to the cervical spine—the part of the spine found in the neck—and surrounding tissues. Whiplash, neck sprain, or strain (they all mean the same thing) occur when ligaments and muscles in the neck are forced beyond their normal range of motion.
Whiplash from rear-end car accidents is unfortunately quite common. In fact, they’re the most typical type of motor vehicle collision and account for more than 30% of injuries stemming from car accidents in the United States. With that being said, there have been millions of whiplash lawsuits over the years. Although most cases are mild and only last a few weeks, our San Antonio personal injury attorney represents all accident victims. If you think your case may be small enough and not cause long-term damage or require extensive medical treatment, it’s still recommended to be checked out by a medical professional because many whiplash accidents can cause injuries that do not surface for days or even weeks after the accident.
The Severity of Whiplash Injuries
Whiplash generally disappears in a few weeks. Often, this is possible to accomplish just with pain medication and physical activity. Others may experience chronic symptoms that last. There might be additional injuries too that lead to someone’s lasting symptoms. For instance, some spinal injuries go unnoticed initially. It’s common for the cervical spine and the connecting tissues to sustain damage following whiplash. These after-effects of whiplash are meanwhile called Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD).3,4 Symptoms connected to WAD or Cervical Spine Syndrome commonly include:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Pain when moving neck, loss of range of motion
- Shoulder, arm, and upper back pain
- Numbness, or tingling of the face, arms
- Blurred vision
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Trouble sleeping
- Cognitive and emotional symptoms (irritability, trouble concentrating)
If you’ve been in a high-speed accident, are experiencing severe pain, or have difficulty moving your neck, it’s possible that you’ve sustained a serious whiplash injury. The average settlement for a whiplash injury can vary widely and must be determined by an experienced personal injury attorney. However, some groups of people are more at risk for more severe injuries, including those who have had whiplash or other back/neck problems previously and the elderly. In these cases, settlement amounts could be much higher given the pain and suffering caused to the high-risk individual.
Grades Of Whiplash Injuries (Grades 1-4)
Whiplash injuries are distinguished by levels of seriousness, with each level having unique symptoms. The grades for a whiplash injury are:
- Grade 0 Whiplash – No visible signs of injury, no medical treatment needed.
- Grade 1 Whiplash – Although there are no visible injuries, you may feel pain or soreness. It’s recommended that you seek medical treatment, but symptoms usually disappear in a few days without intervention.
- Grade 2 Whiplash – When you’re in pain, it’s hard to ignore. You might not be able to move as well, and you might need medication to help.
- Grade 3 Whiplash – Grade 3 whiplash injuries are severe, often requiring immediate medical treatment and follow-up appointments. The victim’s range of motion is usually limited and they experience constant pain in their neck, shoulders, and head. It isn’t uncommon for the victim to miss work or have difficulty sleeping because of Grade 3 Whiplash.
- Grade 4 Whiplash – Grade 4 whiplash is the most serious and usually requires surgery, months of chiropractic treatment, and physical therapy. These injuries often result in large settlements.
What Is The Average Whiplash Settlement Amount?
Several things will affect your whiplash injury settlement amount, including the extent of your injury and how it has changed your life. Your particular injury will also be a factor. For example, if you have suffered a debilitating back or neck injury that prevents you from working or causes other permanent changes to your life, you may be offered a larger sum.
In addition to determining who was at fault for the car accident, the cost of your settlement may also be influenced. If one driver is found guilty by a court of complete negligence – meaning they failed to properly take care while driving and resulted in harming others on the road – this is known as strong evidence of personal injury. Such cases involving whiplash must not only provide proof of pain and suffering but also how it has impacted day-to-day life going forward. The average settlement amounts for whiplash injuries generally account for:
- $10,000 to $100,000 for minor neck and back injuries
- $1 million to $5 million or more for life-altering whiplash injuries or permanent disability
If you’ve been in a whiplash accident, you may be wondering how much your case is worth. It’s difficult to say without knowing the specifics of your situation, but an experienced personal injury lawyer can give you a better idea of what to expect.
Whiplash Claims & Red Flags From Insurance Companies
It is essential to see a doctor immediately after an accident for several reasons, one of which is that your claim’s success depends on a confirmed diagnosis of whiplash by a qualified physician. Even with this confirmation, the insurance company or opposing attorney might still challenge the doctor’s diagnosis if the case goes to court.
Since whiplash has so many non-evident symptoms, it’s more carefully looked into than other injuries. Insurance companies commonly assume fraud in these cases because unfortunately, fraud continues to be an issue in the U.S.
Although physicians’ standard tests for whiplash are largely accepted across the medical community, insurance companies don’t always take them at face value. These tests are only reliable if the patient is being honest about what hurts and their current range of motion. While this might not be fair, plaintiffs can expect very tough questions from the start of their claim process. If it goes to court, the integrity attacks will only get worse.
Contact Our San Antonio Whiplash Injury Attorney Today
Although whiplash injuries may seem difficult to assess for the purposes of a settlement, looking at average whiplash injury settlements for your grade of injury is a great starting point. To do this, find an injury with similar severity and use that figure as a basis for negotiation in your demand letter. If you are still having difficulty calculating what your car accident settlement should be, talking to a car accident attorney can give you better insights into the value of your case. For more information about whiplash injury settlement amounts, contact the Law Offices of J. Robert Davis today for a free consultation.