Reckless or negligent driving results in car accidents that occur with alarming frequency throughout North Carolina. Even apparently minor crashes or collisions may possibly injure you and have the potential to be detrimental to your health and well being.
Among the various types of injuries that are related to car accidents, whiplash is one of the most common. Victims can sometimes find it difficult to know how to go about filing a claim regarding whiplash injury. Here, we provide information that will help you to understand better what whiplash is, the health impacts associated with it, and how to seek compensation to allow you to recover quickly from your injury.
How to tell if you have Whiplash?
Due to the impact of the collision, the driver’s head is jerked back and forth that results in neck strains and sprains. This is called whiplash. Other than sustaining injuries to neck muscles and tendons, major whiplash cases also constitute damaged discs, ruptured ligaments, and vertebrate fracture. There is a high probability that such major whiplash injuries may result in nerve damage that is permanent.
Around 800,000 people sustain whiplash injuries every year. It comes as no surprise then that one third of all insurance injury claims are Whiplash injury claims, as is mentioned in a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Medical attention is absolutely necessary in order to rule out potential injuries if you are involved in an accident. As suggested by Mayo Clinic, whiplash symptoms may take some time to appear, ranging from a few hours to days. However, the effects of whiplash can last for many months after the accident. Some of the symptoms are as follows:
- Stiffness and pain in the neck that worsens with movement
- Reduced range of motion in the neck, head, or arms
- Regular headaches, weakness, or giddiness
- Pin pricks or numbness in the hands; and/or
- Soreness and pain in the arms, back, and shoulders
Moreover, the symptoms of major whiplash injuries can often include blurred vision, ringing in the ears, problems with memory and concentration, disturbed sleep, and mood disorders that include anxiety and depression.
How to file an insurance claim involving Whiplash
In North Carolina, negligent and reckless drivers can be held legally accountable for the harm they cause in car crashes and resultant injuries. In the event of an accident, it is advised by the North Carolina Department of Insurance that drivers do the following:
- Stop driving and pull over to a safe place at or near the accident
- Call and inform the local enforcement agency or the North Carolina State Highway Patrol
- Obtain the driver’s contact information including the driver’s license number and vehicle registration number, and insurance details like policy number and name of their insurer
- Go to a hospital immediately and get medical attention even if the injuries seem minor to you; and
- Notify your insurer at the earliest so that you can file a whiplash injury claim
Be sure to contact the insurer of the driver responsible for the accident. A claims representative of the insurance company will be put to your case. They may want to take your statement regarding the events that led to the accident according to you. You must keep in mind that the insurance companies may want to undervalue or even deny your claim since they have a financial motive for doing so. Speak with an experienced car accident injury lawyer before you sign any documents or make a statement to an insurance adjuster.
Getting compensation through a Whiplash personal injury claim
In order to be compensated through a Whiplash personal injury claim, you will need to provide a few things first. They are as follows:
- Medical records and bills – Collect any and all records provided by the hospital and the doctor that highlight your symptoms, diagnosis, test results, treatment, and follow-up care. Also collect the bills and the receipts for prescription medication and over-the-counter medicines.
- Statements provided by the doctor – Get a statement from your doctor that highlights the nature of your injury and the treatment recommended for recovery. In case your injury has impacted your health permanently, ask your doctor to give a detailed account of the type of care that will be required in the future.
These statements and records provided by the doctor and the hospital will allow your lawyer to show the full extent of the costs that are related to your injury, including any future costs that are likely to come up. Get an experienced car accident attorney that can help you in negotiating with insurance companies and getting a fair and just value of your claim.
Being patient while your whiplash claim resolves
Insurance claims and investigations can take some time to reach a verdict. During this time you should refrain from engaging in any activity that may potentially jeopardize your case. Follow up on your subsequent appointments with your medical supervisor and follow all treatment recommendations while restricting physically strenuous activities.
It is advisable that you refrain temporarily from using social media while the claim is being resolved. Journal News has reported that insurance companies can use your comments and posts on social media, like Facebook and Twitter, to avoid paying the compensation. A few examples of how social media can be used against you by the insurance companies are as follows:
- Denying claims based on posts that show that the victim is a reckless and negligent driver who engages in drinking and driving, speeding, texting behind the wheel, etc.
- Pictures and videos that show that the victim is engaging in physical activity like exercising, yard work, etc. can plant doubt in the mind of the insurance adjusters. It may look like the impact of your injuries you suffered is not as extensive as you claim. It may also show that you are not avoiding strenuous activity as is usually recommended by doctors in such cases.