Did you know that about 5.35 million car accidents occur in the United States in a year? These car accidents occur with alarming regularity and are often the result of negligent behavior and reckless behavior on the driver. Car accidents, whether big or small, shouldn’t be taken lightly –– even a seemingly minute collision can inflict injuries that lead to debilitating long-term health complications, and affect your overall health and wellbeing.
Whiplash is one of the most common types of injuries that victims of car accidents face. There are approximately 800,000 cases of whiplash in drivers and riders every year from car accidents. Although a third of all insurance injury claims are done for whiplash, many remain unsure of how to file a claim. Since the whiplash claims process can be notoriously complicated for beginners, we have simplified it for you down below!
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a neck injury that is caused by an abrupt acceleration or deceleration from a collision. Medically, it is called a cervical acceleration-deceleration injury and it is classified as a soft tissue injury. The collision causes your neck to bend at an extreme angle forwards, then backward at lightning speed. Consequently, the force of the collision overstretches and injures the soft tissues that hold your cervical vertebrae together, such as the muscles, nerves, and tendons.
Some of the symptoms of whiplash include pain in the neck, shoulder, lower back, or even your hand and arm. The pain can result in stiffness and a limited range of motion in your neck and arms. Other symptoms include impaired vision, dizziness, issues with memory and concentration. Whiplash can also affect your mental well-being by causing fatigue, irritability, and even anxiety and depression. The duration for whiplash to heal and its symptoms to disappear varies greatly, from a few weeks to two years. Hence, it is highly recommended that you see a doctor for your injuries, even if the pain is minimal.
What To Do Right After A Car Crash Accident
Right after the car crash, pull over as soon as possible at the scene of the accident. If that is unsafe for you, stop at a location near the accident. Then, notify the law enforcement of your area –– which are usually your local police. Meanwhile, don’t forget to obtain the other driver’s information, including contact details, driver’s license number, vehicle registration number, the name of their insurer, and their insurance policy number. This information is extremely crucial and will be used to hold the other driver accountable for their actions.
Drivers who caused car accidents through their negligent actions can be held liable for any resulting damages by law. If you were not responsible for the accident, you will need to contact the other driver’s insurer, who will then send a representative to handle your case. The representative will require you to make a statement detailing your side of the story. It is best to first get legal advice from a car accident injury attorney before making a statement or signing any documents. This is to minimize the risk of having your claim undervalued or denied by the insurance company, which is often motivated to do so for profit.
A doctor will usually examine the patient’s neck using X-rays to determine if any serious injuries require immediate treatment. There must be no major wounds left unattended on the head, neck, or rest of the body.
Based on the medical findings, the doctor will then place a collar on the patient’s neck to offer additional support. If the X-rays come out normal but the patient is still experiencing neck pain, the cervical collar will be kept in place for about a week. If the pain seems to be more severe, the doctor may obtain an additional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study to better detect injuries to the soft tissues that may not be as visible with a normal X-ray scan.
What To Do After Getting Medical Care
File a claim with your insurer as soon as possible after you see a doctor. You will require several documents, including statements from healthcare professionals who treated you and official medical records, and documentation of your injuries. These documents allow your insurer to know how much money will be needed to treat your injury, and the cost of follow-up medical care you will require in the future.
Statements from your doctors should have details about your injury, including its nature, the prognosis of recovery, and required treatment. If your injury has resulted in other complications, your future treatment and care plan should also be included.
Medical records include records from your doctor, hospital, and emergency room. These records should have information about your injuries and symptoms, results from diagnostic tests, treatments, as well as discharge instructions about follow-up care. Other than medical records, you will also require financial documentation in the form of medical bills and receipts for medication, both prescription and over-the-counter.
What To Do While Waiting For The Claim To Go Through
It takes some time for your claim to go through. During that time, be mindful of your actions as they may affect your case and even decrease the amount of compensation you receive. Be sure to follow your doctor’s medical advice about changes to your daily activities. Any follow-up treatment and appointments should be attended as well.
It is advised that you refrain from using social media while your claim is being resolved. Your posts and comments on social media platforms (such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tiktok, blogs, and other media-sharing platforms) such as can be used as evidence by insurance companies to void your claim.
For example, insurance companies may use your posts to prove that you were speeding, texting while driving, drink-driving, or engaging in other behaviors related to reckless driving. Your insurers may also dismiss the severity of your injuries by using video and photographic evidence of you engaging in strenuous activities or going against the doctor’s advice. Such behaviors include exercise, yard work, dance, and other physical activities.
The amount of compensation you receive depends on the severity of your injury. If you have mild to moderate injuries, you will usually receive $2,500 to $10,000. If you have severe whiplash, you will receive around $30,000.
Car accidents can happen to anyone, even if you are careful on the road. Hence, it’s useful to be aware of whiplash and its long-term effects on your quality of life. You deserve fair compensation for any medical treatment for whiplash. However, because the process of making a successful claim can be quite stressful, you should hire a lawyer to ensure that your claim will not be unfairly rejected.