How to Build a Whiplash Claim After Injury 

man holding neck after whiplash injury in car accident

If you or a loved one experienced whiplash after an automobile accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. There are many steps to building a claim for whiplash injury, but it’s important to start by seeking medical attention and getting treatment for your injuries. Also, be sure to gather as much evidence at the scene as possible and keep your medical documentation.  

Next, schedule a free consultation with our car accident attorneys in West Virginia to learn about the best path toward full and fair compensation. We have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for injury victims throughout West Virginia. Let us put our skills and experience to work for you. Call (304) 345-6789 or reach out online to schedule your free consultation today. 

What Should I Do After a Whiplash Injury?

Whiplash is a type of neck injury that often occurs in car accidents. The vehicle stopping abruptly can cause a passenger’s head to violently move backward, then forward, potentially causing serious damage to the neck.  

It’s important to act quickly after the accident to build your whiplash claim, even if you’re not yet sure of the severity of your injuries. Following the steps below can help give you the greatest chance of success in a whiplash claim. 

1. Get Medical Assessment and Treatment

Whiplash symptoms can take days to develop. Even if you don’t experience pain or other symptoms right after the accident, a full medical evaluation will provide a better picture of your condition. In addition to protecting your health, seeing a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident will produce medical documentation that can be used later to substantiate your insurance claim and lawsuit. 

2. Follow Your Treatment Plan

Following a doctor’s recommendations for treatment is important for both your well-being and whiplash claim, since ongoing records of treatment can act as evidence of the severity of your injury. Presenting documentation of follow-up appointments, physical therapy appointments, or other continued treatment can reinforce your claim and provide legal proof that your condition is serious. 

3. Documentation and Evidence Collection

Gathering medical records will strengthen your claim, but so will acquiring any available evidence of the accident, such as a police accident report. Photos of the crash scene, dash cam footage, witness testimonies, employment records, and previous medical information are all useful when proving your injury in settlement negotiations and court.   

Our attorneys can assist in gathering all available evidence, including police records. We can also enlist the help of subject matter experts to help substantiate your claim.

4. Dealing with Insurance Companies

You have no legal duty to speak with the at-fault driver’s insurer. Avoid doing so before consulting with an attorney. Our legal team will ensure that you are not taken advantage of.  

However, if you file a claim with your own insurer, you will be required to cooperate with their investigation. Your policy will also require you to inform your insurer of the accident soon after it occurs to preserve your coverage. It is still best to let your attorney do the talking, as even your own insurer will place their bottom line before your best interests.  

When speaking to insurance adjusters on the phone or filling out documents for an insurance claim, only include information that is absolutely necessary. Our attorneys know how to deal with insurers and their underhanded practices designed to minimize your compensation. Let us handle the settlement negotiation process to ensure your rights are protected and that you leave no money on the table. 

5. Seek Legal Assistance

While minor injuries and small insurance claims may seem easy to handle, severe whiplash injuries can lead to complex cases that may be difficult to navigate on your own. Often, these cases involve significant medical costs and time away from work, which can also create financial strain. 

Consulting an attorney with experience in whiplash car accident claims can help. If possible, do this before you speak with the other driver’s insurer. Our personal injury attorneys can calculate the worth of your claim, as well as handle all communication with insurers and other parties.  

Our attorneys can also evaluate settlement offers and give advice on whether to accept or proceed to a full-fledged personal injury lawsuit. With a lawyer, you increase your odds of receiving higher compensation for your injuries. 

Understanding Whiplash Injuries

Also known as a cervical sprain, whiplash is a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth neck movement. It is commonly caused by rear end car crashes. Most cases of whiplash resolve within a few days or weeks with pain medicine and exercise, but some people experience complications like long-lasting neck pain. 

The most common symptoms of whiplash include neck pain and stiffness, lowered range of motion in the neck, headaches, shoulder and back pain, tingling or numbness in the arms, fatigue, and dizziness. Less frequently, people experience blurred vision, tinnitus, insomnia, trouble focusing, mood problems, and memory problems. People who have experienced whiplash, high-speed injuries, and lower back or neck pain before are at risk for more severe symptoms. Adults over 65 are also more vulnerable.  

It’s important to collect documentation of any injury or illness you may experience after a whiplash injury in order to bolster your claim. You should also keep your attorney up to date on your diagnosis and treatment so you can be compensated for all injuries—even ones that manifest later on. 

Potential Challenges

Whiplash can be more difficult to prove than visible injuries like broken bones, scars, or burns. However, the symptoms of whiplash injuries can still be chronic, painful, and life-changing, even if they don’t appear until weeks or months after the accident. Still, you may find it difficult to recover compensation for these injuries, especially if they manifest long after the crash.  

After experiencing whiplash, it’s important to refrain from posting online or telling people in writing that you feel fine, as the other driver’s insurer may use those words against you later. The insurer may also try to claim you weren’t driving safely, even if the accident wasn’t your fault. It can also be difficult to recover compensation for your injuries if the driver that caused them is uninsured. Hiring an attorney can help you navigate challenges like these and the legal landscape as a whole.  

Settlement values for whiplash claims depend on several variables, including proving the other driver’s liability. Values will also depend on the total amount of medical expenses you’ve paid, the anticipated cost of future medical care, and the permanence of your injury. 

Establishing Fault

According to the state’s car accident laws, West Virginia is an at-fault insurance state, meaning injured plaintiffs can normally recover compensation from at-fault drivers after a car accident. However, it is also a modified comparative negligence state. This means plaintiffs can only recover compensation if they’re 50 percent or less responsible for the accident. 

Unfortunately, defendants and their insurers will fight hard to minimize your compensation. We are prepared to push back harder when they try to pin the blame on you.

Our Experienced Attorneys Can Assist With Your Whiplash Claim

If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident and are experiencing symptoms of whiplash, our experienced Charleston car accident attorneys can help. We are a full-service personal injury law firm with over 20 years of experience and a proven track record of success, having won millions for our clients through aggressive legal advocacy. 

Call (304) 345-6789 or reach out online to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. Our car accident attorneys are equipped and ready to help you get the compensation you deserve. 

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Attorney Bobby Warner
Content Reviewed by:
Bobby Warner

Bobby has received many accolades throughout the years from both his peers in the legal community, as well as the media. The National Trial Lawyers association named Bobby a Top 100 Trial Lawyer and he has been selected as a Member of the Nation’s Top One Percent. Additionally, he has been named a Best Attorneys of America by Rue Ratings, which also named Warner Law Offices to its Best Law Firms of America.