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Can I Sue for Whiplash?

July 30, 2019

Whiplash is an injury to the neck that can happen in both minor and major car accidents. Even in a light fender bender, the neck can whip back and forth in a way that strains the muscles or tendons. This can cause a painful or debilitating whiplash injury.

Although most cases of whiplash are minor injuries, victims may still recover compensation for their damages with lawsuits in Colorado. If someone else caused your car accident or another incident – and by extension, your whiplash injury – you could have the right to file a lawsuit. If you have been a victim in a car accident in Colorado, contact our Denver car collision lawyers.

Deflated airbags after a car collision

What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash occurs when a force moves the head and neck rapidly one way, and then another – like the fast movement of a whip. This abrupt motion can strain or tear the ligaments in the neck, resulting in a range of symptoms that could last days, weeks or months. The most common symptoms are neck pain, headaches at the base of the skull and trouble moving the head and neck.

  • Neck stiffness
  • Loss of motion
  • Tenderness in the shoulders
  • Tingling sensations in the arms
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Blurred vision
  • Tinnitus
  • Fatigue or trouble sleeping

Symptoms of whiplash could arise immediately after the car accident, or they may appear hours or even days post-collision. Sometimes the adrenaline of the crash initially masks the symptoms of whiplash for a victim. You should seek a doctor’s advice for potential whiplash as soon as you notice potential symptoms of whiplash after a car accident, sports impact or physical violence.

Do You Need to Prove Whiplash?

Whiplash is a soft tissue injury. Unlike an injury such as a bone fracture, whiplash will not appear on medical scans or x-rays. This can make whiplash more difficult to prove to an insurance company during an accident claim. Unfortunately, most insurance companies will require you to prove your whiplash to receive payment for your related damages. Damages could be economic or noneconomic depending on your specific accident.

  • Costs of whiplash treatment, including x-rays and physical therapy
  • Medical devices such as a neck brace or collar
  • Prescription medications such as anti-inflammatories and painkillers
  • Estimated lost wages from having to stay home from work or perform lesser tasks
  • Physical pain in the neck, back or arms
  • Emotional distress from your injuries or accident

You may also be eligible for damages such as vehicle repairs and punitive damages based on the circumstances of your case. For an insurer to agree to give you a settlement, however, you may need medical evidence proving you have whiplash. Explaining your symptoms to a physician as soon as possible after a collision could lead to a doctor’s letter confirming your diagnosis. Providing medical documentation to the insurance company should be enough to receive a settlement from the at-fault party.

The Average Settlement for Whiplash

Whiplash is typically a minor injury that goes away with moderate treatments such as medications, massage therapy and a neck brace. The price for medical treatments and lost wages related to whiplash, however, can total into the thousands. Some claimants have received tens of thousands in compensation for whiplash injuries.

The value of your claim will depend on the extent of your injuries and the costs of medical care. A personal injury lawsuit may result in higher compensation for your injuries than an insurance claim in Colorado. If you wish to file a lawsuit against someone for your whiplash injury, you have three years from the date of your accident to do so.

Missing the statute of limitations will generally lead to the courts refusing to hear your case. Courtrooms in Colorado are strict about time limits, so make sure you speak to a Denver personal injury attorney well before the expiration of your deadline. A personal injury lawyer could help you fight for maximum compensation for a whiplash injury.