How Do I Prove I Have Whiplash after a Car Accident?
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries suffered in car accidents. Whiplash involves damage to the soft tissues in the neck and surrounding areas. Soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains, and tears to muscles, tendons, and ligaments are notoriously difficult to prove.
For this reason, it can be extremely difficult for a person who has suffered a whiplash injury to substantiate an insurance claim after a car accident. This discussion describes the definition and symptoms of whiplash as well as the reasons these injuries are hard to prove, the types of compensation available for whiplash injuries, and the actions to take to prove the validity of a whiplash personal injury claim.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a violent action that causes a person’s head and neck to be thrown forward and back, a motion that is common in the context of car accidents as well as other physical experiences, such as rough sports or similar activities.
This sudden jerking of the head and neck can damage the muscles and tissues in the area, which include those in the head and neck as well as those in the shoulders, back, and arms.
The damage caused by whiplash injuries can cause severe pain, take a long time to heal or involve permanent damage, and require prolonged and extensive treatments.
What Symptoms Are Associated with Whiplash Injuries?
Whiplash involves a violent whip-like motion that causes many types of injuries to several regions of the neck and surrounding areas. Whiplash injuries can include one or more of the following symptoms:
- Muscle spasms
- Limited range of motion
- Sore shoulders, back, and/or arms
Why Do People Often Experience Resistance against Claims of Whiplash?
Whiplash injuries are common, but insurance companies are leery of whiplash claims for a reason.
Despite the relative vulnerability of drivers to such injuries, particularly in rear-end collisions, claims for such injuries are often seen with a degree of suspicion by skeptical claims representatives.
As we have established, whiplash is difficult to prove. There are few visible indicators readily available to show that whiplash injuries are present. Since medical imaging cannot capture the injuries to soft tissues the same way they can display broken bones or other observable injuries, there is often serious doubt about whiplash claims.
For obvious reasons, insurance companies do not like to pay out claims that have no verifiable proof. Because whiplash injuries are so difficult to prove, insurance companies have come to suspect that any claim of whiplash has the potential to be made up.
The unfortunate truth is that cases do exist in which people fraudulently claim whiplash when no such injury exists. This makes it all the more difficult for individuals with real whiplash injuries to be taken seriously.
How Might a Delay in Symptom Onset Affect a Whiplash Claim?
Another reason to doubt the veracity of a whiplash claim is that often the symptoms of whiplash take some time to surface. This lag between the time of the accident and the onset of symptoms can make it difficult for a whiplash sufferer to make a case that links the injury back to the accident that caused it.
A clear tenet of insurance liability has to do with tracing the cause for the injury back to the incident in question. The insurance company will be responsible for the costs of the injury only if the injury can be linked to the car accident. When days or weeks pass after the accident before symptoms appear, it can raise questions about whether to injury was caused by a separate incident or by a preexisting condition.
What Costs of Whiplash Should Be Covered by Insurance?
Unfortunately, whiplash injuries often involve inflammation and swelling that develop over time. Vague stiffness and discomfort can develop into severely painful and even debilitating conditions that require extensive and costly medical intervention and ongoing physical therapy.
The costs of medical visits and treatments for whiplash injuries can be quite expensive. A serious case of whiplash can also affect a person’s ability to work at the very time that they may be struggling under the weight of these medical expenses.
The out-of-pocket costs for car accident-related injuries should be covered by insurance. Likewise, any lost income that results from the inability to work should also be available through insurance coverage.
How Can Someone with a Whiplash injury Prove that Their Claim Is Valid?
The main way to prove that a case of whiplash is real is to have documentation of the symptoms and the attempts to address them. Documenting whiplash should start as soon as possible after the accident. Any discomfort or painful sensations should be brought to the attention of a doctor as soon as possible. This is solid medical advice, but it is also an important way to safeguard the right to an injury claim.
The best possible way to prove a whiplash claim is to follow these steps:
- Seek medical help right away. At the first sign that something is not right, you should see a doctor for an evaluation. Attempting to handle it yourself with pain medicine can worsen unaddressed symptoms, but putting off a proper diagnosis can also harm your chances for a successful claim for your injuries.
- Document everything. Keep good records of your appointments, diagnoses, treatments, medical advice, and symptoms, including the physical and emotional struggles related to your injury. Medical records are a good way to show official documentation of your injuries, but keeping a journal or other notes about your experiences can be surprisingly useful when presenting your case, especially if the damage from your injury begins to affect your mental health.
- Follow doctor’s orders. If you expect your claim to be taken seriously, you will need to show that you have been doing your part to address the injury. Consistent adherence to your treatment plan can demonstrate that the injury is real. Being able to prove that you kept your appointments and followed all physical therapy recommendations can be vital to your claim.
Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Clients Suffering from Whiplash
If you suffered whiplash or any other serious injury in a car accident, you should be able to collect damages to cover the costs of your injuries. The Highland Park car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr can help you prove that your claim is valid and determine what kind of compensation may be available for your injuries. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or 732-537-8570 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.