How to File a Claim for Whiplash After an Accident

You were involved in a minor accident, but you walked away feeling okay. Then, days later, a dull ache creeps into your neck. It worsens into a severe pain that keeps you awake and makes it impossible for you to turn your neck like you used to.

This could be whiplash, a common injury many people misunderstand. As whiplash is not a visible injury, you’ll probably be wondering how best to tackle the situation. You might need a whiplash attorney to help you navigate the process of getting the compensation that you deserve.

What Are Your Legal Options?

There are two main ways to file a whiplash claim: through your own insurance or against the at-fault driver’s insurance.

Using Your Insurance (First-Party Claim)

If you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) on your car insurance, you can file a claim with your own company, even if you caused the accident. PIP helps pay for medical bills and lost wages from the accident.

Going After the Other Driver’s Insurance (Third-Party Claim)

If your medical bills are higher than your PIP coverage or your whiplash is causing a lot of pain and making it hard to live your life normally, you might want to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance company.

Steps to File a Whiplash Claim

Given below are some of the steps that you should follow when filing a claim for whiplash

  1. Visit a hospital ASAP: To file a whiplash claim, you first need to prove that you actually have the condition. A visit to the hospital can help with this.
  2. Alert the Police: The concerned authorities must be notified that an accident has taken place. This, in turn, leads to them drafting a police report, which acts as valuable evidence in legitimizing the accident.
  3. Inform the Insurance Company: You must report the accident and submit medical records that show you have suffered whiplash to the insurance company.
  4. Seek Legal Assistance: An experienced legal professional will help draft a demand letter that includes all the losses you have suffered due to the accident. This is the initial step of the claim. They will be by your side until negotiations are done.

But to win this type of claim, you’ll need to prove the other driver was at fault for the accident.

What You Need to Build a Strong Case

Winning your whiplash claim is all about building a strong case. Here’s what you can do to make it convincing:

Keep All Your Medical Paperwork

Don’t throw away any receipts or notes from doctor visits, tests, physical therapy, or medicine you get for your whiplash. This shows a clear timeline of your treatment and how bad your injury is.

Track Your Pain

Write down how much pain you’re in every day, what symptoms you have, and how the whiplash makes it hard to do normal things. This journal helps prove how the injury is affecting your daily life.

Show Lost Income

If your whiplash keeps you from working or makes it hard to work as you used to, collect proof of lost wages. This could be pay stubs or a letter from your boss.

The Negotiations and Settlement Process

After you’ve collected all your medical records, your lawyer will talk to the insurance company for you. Be prepared for the insurance company to downplay your injury or offer you way less money than you deserve. Your lawyer will fight for a fair settlement that covers your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

This process can take time, so be patient. Don’t settle for a quick, lowball offer that doesn’t cover everything. Insurance companies try to close cases quickly.

Your lawyer will go back and forth with them, negotiating until they get you a fair settlement. Sometimes, this might involve some compromise, but your lawyer will make sure you get enough money to cover your losses.

There are two main types of settlements: a lump sum payment or payments spread out over time. Your lawyer can advise you on which option is best for you.

Once you have a final offer, take your time to review it with your lawyer. Make sure it covers everything you’ve lost, including medical bills and lost wages. Signing the agreement means you give up your right to sue the other driver or their insurance company later.

Your lawyer can help you weigh the pros and cons of the offer so you can make an informed decision about whether to accept it.