It is an injury that often does not make itself known until hours after an accident, but whiplash is one of the most common injuries people encounter in an auto accident. Whiplash can have a life-altering impact on your ability to work and conduct your life in the same manner as prior to the accident.
Knowing what to do after a car accident is important. If you suffer injuries from the accident you need to seek medical attention and contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. For information on whiplash and what to do after a whiplash injury, read on.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a neck injury resulting from the sudden twisting or thrusting of the neck. The most common cause is an auto accident when the vehicle is hit from the rear or side, causing the head to whip suddenly back or sideways.
The injury is due to a sudden hyperextension of the spine, causing injury to the vertebrae and soft tissues, including nerves, ligaments, muscles, and spinal discs. Depending on the severity of the hit it may also cause brain injury, or torn muscles in the shoulder and upper back.
You May Not Know You Have Whiplash Immediately
Do not tell anyone you feel fine or have no injuries at the accident scene. In the excitement of the moment, you may not realize you have injuries or the pain may not have set in yet. The signs of whiplash usually begin within two days following an accident. If you do begin to feel any symptoms of whiplash seek medical attention immediately.
- Ears ringing
- Jaw pain or soreness
- Impaired vision
- Neck, shoulder, back pain
About 10% of those who suffer whiplash become permanently disabled because of their injury. About 60% of those who have even a mild whiplash injury experience lifelong symptoms. This includes neck stiffness and chronic pain.
How to Receive Compensation for Your Injury
When you are in an accident you may receive a quick settlement offer from the insurance company or the other party. Do not sign or agree to anything until you have consulted with a whiplash attorney.
Whiplash is a personal injury, and your attorney will evaluate your case, advise you of your rights, and file a personal injury claim to help you receive compensation. It is important to take specific steps to make sure you have all evidence necessary for filing your claim.
Seek Medical Attention
Do not delay in seeking medical attention when you believe you have an injury from your accident. Not only does this ensure you receipt proper treatment, but it also validates that the injuries are a direct and proximate result of the accident. This information is important in insurance negotiations and personal injury lawsuits.
Keep Medical Records
During the course of medical treatment from the first paramedic at the accident scene through the end of your rehabilitative care make sure you save all information relating to your accident injuries. This includes the names and addresses of all medical professionals, bills, x-rays, MRIs, diagnosis, prognosis, etc. This documentation assists your whiplash lawyer in showing that you suffered a significant injury for which you deserve compensation.
Document the Accident Scene
If you are able, take photographs of the accident scene, including your vehicle and that of the other driver, the intersection, and any other information that may be relevant. If possible, take down names and contact information from any witnesses.
Write down in detail what you remember about the accident. Do not rely on your memory, write it down while fresh in your mind.
Consult With a Whiplash Attorney
As soon as you have any indication of injuries from your accident contact a personal injury attorney immediately. Your attorney will have knowledge of personal injury law, traffic law, and insurance law to make sure your rights are protected.
Your attorney understands that trying to pay your bills while recovering after an accident is difficult. Auto insurance disability only pays 80% of your wage up to a maximum of $400 per week. Those payments are made only for two years following the accident.
The Insurance Act allows claimants to apply for an Advance of the Judgment that they will likely receive at trial. To obtain this advance you will need to have a personal injury attorney who is filing your claim and can provide an evaluation on the likely compensation you may receive from your lawsuit.
What a Whiplash Attorney Will Do
Personal injury claims are handled on a contingency fee, which means you do not pay unless we win or settle your claim. Attorney fees are paid as a percentage of the settlement. The attorney will explain all fee details to you when you meet for your free consultation.
While the goal is to settle as quickly as possible, your lawsuit may take several months or more than a year. The determination of time depends in part on how long it takes you to heal. The attorneys will need to know your long-term prognosis as that affects the amount of compensation you receive.
Alberta has maximum amounts that are payable for soft tissue injuries. Whiplash falls within this cap, which was a maximum of $4,000 at the time of activation of the Alberta Minor Injury Regulation in 2004. The cap is adjusted every year for inflation, and as of 2021, the cap is $5,365.
Claims can be made for other areas you suffer, including loss of wages and the emotional impact of the incident. The maximum amount of compensation set forth by the Supreme Court of Canada is $330,000 for pain and suffering. You are able to request compensation for future care, loss of opportunity, loss of wages, and more that are in addition to the pain and suffering cap.
The law is complex and the best course of action is to not take the word of an insurance company or the other party’s attorney on what you can and cannot receive under the law. You need to consult with a whiplash injury lawyer regarding your rights.
While more than 95% of personal injury claims reach an out-of-court settlement, the negotiations and legal knowledge of an attorney will result in the best settlement possible. If the matter does not settle, they will have the knowledge of court procedures and rules to take the matter to trial.
Contact a Whiplash Injury Lawyer
Now that you understand the serious and lifelong impact a whiplash injury may cause, you know that one of the first steps you must take after an auto accident includes contacting a personal injury lawyer.
If you have whiplash or any other type of injury resulting from the actions of another person, you need to contact a personal injury lawyer at Assiff Law at (587) 524-300. A free consultation is our first step in the legal process to getting you the compensation you deserve.