Getting Compensation for Whiplash After an Auto Accident
Whiplash is among the most common injuries after auto accidents of any size, yet is frequently doubted and misunderstood by insurance adjusters and motorists alike. At a baseline, yes, whiplash does manifest as relatively harmless stiffness or pain in the neck and upper back, hence many believe that the condition is inconsequential, or that those suffering from it are simply exaggerating their pain in a greedy effort to maximize their auto accident settlement. In reality, that notion couldn’t be farther from the truth—whiplash can impose serious suffering on a victim and should be compensated in full.
Whiplash is a generalized medical term, referring to injuries of the neck caused by sudden, forceful bending back and forth—beyond that, the exact particulars of whiplash are vague. Whiplash can refer to damaged nerves, tendons, spinal discs, and muscles in the neck, but is only ever used in a clinical setting to refer to relatively minor traumas. If you experience a neck injury with symptoms beyond those discussed here (especially discolored skin and signs of a traumatic brain injury) or intolerable pain, you need emergency medical treatment; your injury no longer qualifies as “whiplash.” From most common to most severe, the symptoms of whiplash are generally:
- Pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and lower back
- Paresthesia (Numbness and “pins and needles”)
- Dizziness and balance issues
- General irritability and insomnia
- More intense pain/ pain that stretches to the arms or hands
- Severe headaches
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of mobility in the neck
- Tinnitus (Ringing ears)
- Blurred vision
Whiplash is furthermore a delayed-onset injury, meaning that symptoms won’t set in for hours or even days after an accident; similarly, doctors frequently can’t diagnose whiplash until symptoms set in.
Compensation Associated with Whiplash
Whiplash does qualify as a legitimate injury that can and should be compensated. This compensation is usually represented in two ways in an accident settlement:
- Medical bills. Doctor’s visits aren’t cheap, and since whiplash is often missed upon initial examination, patients will likely have to make multiple appointments. Additionally, whiplash can last for weeks or even months, so costs for ongoing care and pain medications inevitably find their way into whiplash-related compensation.
- Pain and suffering. Although one can never attach a defined price tag to one’s intangible suffering, systems and precedents do exist to give individuals general compensation for the pain they’ve experienced.
The first things an insurance question will ask you when you claim that you’ve experienced whiplash is likely either “how do we know you’re telling the truth?” or “how do you know this isn’t just unrelated neck pain from some other injury?” In either case, proving your point can be difficult, but the process is significantly easier if you have medical records verifying your whiplash and the assistance of an Arizona auto accident attorney.
Arizona Auto Accident Attorneys and Whiplash Compensation
If you’ve suffered whiplash after an accident in Phoenix, give us a call at (623) 877-3600 to talk to an Arizona auto accident attorney. The attorneys at ELG can help you prove that your whiplash and pain are deserving of compensation in full, but just as importantly, we can help with the rest of your accident case—whiplash compensation is just a part of the process, and you’ll likely still need reimbursement for your auto repair costs and any other injuries or damages you’ve sustained.