Whiplash injuries occur in different types of car accidents, and its effects and settlement payouts vary depending on the accident victim and injury severity. In addition, it often takes days, if not weeks, to feel and identify the full effects of whiplash. This adds layers of complexity to determining what to expect in payouts.
But the complexity of whiplash injuries and claims does not preclude you from getting the compensation you deserve. The Law Office of Anidjar & Levine can help you identify and evaluate all damages and value in your case. Each case involves unique variables and circumstances, so determining your settlement requires evaluating several factors. Call us at 800-747-3733.
What Factors Determine My Whiplash Injury Settlement?
While whiplash injury settlements are complex, the following are key in determining your payout.
- Legal Liability
- Treatment costs
- Lost wages
Expect an insurance adjuster to contact you following your accident. If you are filing a liability claim against another driver, the adjuster will use police reports, photographs, diagrams, and witness accounts to determine the liable party. PIP claims adjusters will not be concerned with liability, as PIP is available to the policyholder regardless of fault.
While whiplash injuries occur in a variety of accidents, the most common occurrence is another driver striking your vehicle from behind. Determining fault is usually (but not always) simple in rear-ending accidents, but isn’t so clear in others.
Naturally, the severity of your injuries plays a vital role in determining your whiplash settlement payout in liability and PIP claims. However, there are several factors that determine the severity.
The Law Office of Anidjar & Levine can help you identify and prove the severity of your injuries, which largely rests on presenting medical evidence. We will also present evidence to establish your pain and suffering by evaluating the physical symptoms and long-term psychological effects of your whiplash injury.
Physical symptoms include:
- Neck stiffness
- Shoulder pain
- Limited range of movement
Long-term psychological effects include:
- Inability to sleep
- Inability to interact with friends and family as you did previously
Using the preceding symptoms as a basis, insurance adjusters evaluate how much you spent or will spend to nurse yourself back to health. For example, if the only treatment you received was in the emergency room in the immediate aftermath of the accident, they may not consider your injuries severe. However, if you visited doctors and specialists frequently, this may improve your case.
We can help you produce the following to verify your treatment costs:
- Ambulance and/or emergency room bills
- Bills and/or referrals to specialists
- Bills from psychiatrists or therapists aiding you with depression
- Bills for prescriptions aiding physical or mental distress
- A journal documenting your time spent recovering
- Written accounts from family and friends documenting differences in your physical activity or behavior
Lost wages factor significantly in determining your settlement. Primarily, your lost wages serve as evidence of the economic costs the accident and subsequent had on you. Moreover, lost wages may indirectly serve as evidence of the noneconomic costs referenced earlier; namely, the emotional distress you suffered due to the financial uncertainty caused by your whiplash injury.
Prepare the following documents to verify your lost wages:
- Pay stubs
- Time sheets (if applicable)
- A written letter from your employer verifying your employment, salary, and hours
How is My Settlement Payout Calculated?
Insurers calculate your upfront costs caused by your injuries. For example, if you spent $4,000 in medical expenses and lost $3,000 in wages, you are due $7,000 in damages. But your settlement should account for future losses and expenses too. Some insurers fail to account for the long-term effects of your injuries when they offer settlements.
However, many insurers and lawyers use a pain and suffering multiplier to provide additional compensation. Typically, they take the amount of money spent on initial care, treatment, therapy, and rehab as the basis for attributing a specific dollar amount to pain and suffering. Then, they multiply that number by a factor ranging roughly from 1.5 to four. Some use a per diem method where they multiply a certain daily rate by the number of days of pain you experienced.
A point to remember is insurers do not often treat whiplash injuries as serious injuries. So, it is possible they will apply the lower end of the multiplier to your case. The Law Office of Anidjar & Levine can help you present your case arguing for the appropriate valuations of your losses and pain and suffering.
What if I’m Offered an Early Settlement for My Whiplash Injury?
Receiving an early settlement offer is not uncommon when dealing with personal injuries. While the upfront cash may be tempting, it is prudent not to come to any agreements until you know the full extent of your injuries. The full whiplash injury effects often do not manifest until days and weeks after the accident. And if you accept a settlement prematurely, you will be unable to seek additional compensation.
The Law Office of Anidjar & Levine recommends seeking representation before coming to any agreements on a whiplash settlement. We can help you present the best case possible to get the payout you deserve.