If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident, you should seek medical attention immediately to determine whether you are suffering from any common car accident injuries, even if you are able to walk away from the wreck.
In addition to receiving the medical attention that you may need, having a doctor’s record of any injuries you sustained from the crash can be strong evidence if you decide to make an accident claim, either with your car insurance company or against the other driver.
What is a whiplash injury?
One of the most common types of car accident injuries is a whiplash injury. This is a soft tissue injury received when your head is suddenly jolted back and forth. It often occurs in rear end collisions at red lights or stop signs.
A whiplash injury specifically affects the neck, so one of the most common symptoms is neck pain. People suffering from whiplash will have difficulty moving their neck through its full range of motion. Other symptoms include headaches, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, and tingling or numbness in arms.
It is important to note that whiplash does not appear immediately after a car accident. It can take up to twelve hours for this kind of neck injury to show symptoms. Even if your doctor releases you to go home, make sure you monitor your symptoms. Seek treatment if your symptoms worsen or new symptoms appear.
What type of compensation can I seek?
The amount of compensation you can seek for your whiplash injury claim will vary greatly, depending on the extent of the damage. Some people fantasize about sustaining a minor injury from an accident involving a wealthy driver and subsequently receiving a huge payout. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Instead, your claim amount will be tied to the actual injury you have suffered.
You will be allowed to seek “special damages,” which are tied to specific monetary losses you have incurred as a result of the car accident.
This will include repayment of any medical expenses you have had including medical bills, medication expenses, physical therapy, hospital fees, etc. Additionally, you can seek damages for any property loss, including the repair or replacement of your vehicle.
Special damages also include other monetary losses. If you missed work due to pain, doctors visits or had to take significant time off, you may be eligible to receive repayment. These lost wages are easily calculable. If you have to hire a driver because you can no longer drive or you have to make additional child care arrangements because you can not be a caretaker during recovery, these bills may also fall under the umbrella of special damages.
Unfortunately, recovery from a whiplash injury is not limited to repayment of money spent. Often, people suffer from, and are thus able to recover “general damages.” These are damages that are not specifically tied to a bill or expenses. Instead, they are often referred to as pain and suffering.
After suffering an injury, the quality of your life can change dramatically overnight. Some examples of this are:
- You can no longer play basketball with your friends at the gym because it jostles your neck too much.
- You can’t pick up your toddler because it hurts your neck.
- You wake up in the middle of the night in pain and have trouble focusing the next day because you didn’t sleep well.
Your personal injury attorney will help you receive the maximum amount of compensation for your whiplash injury. Keep copies of all of the bills you have incurred, so you can be compensated for special damages. You should also document the ways your life has changed, including the things you can no longer do. This will help you receive proper compensation for your general damages, including pain and suffering.
One final note – in Arizona, you must file a car accident lawsuit within two years of the event. Otherwise, the statute of limitations will run out and you will not be able to seek compensation from the other driver. If you are filing a claim with an insurance company, you will likely need to file your claim much closer to the date the accident occurred as well.