Valuing Your Neck Injury Claim
If you are filing a lawsuit or an insurance claim for neck or whiplash injuries, you will need to know how to determine the value of your claim, prove your injuries, and overcome allegations that your injury was pre-existing. A personal injury attorney with neck and whiplash experience will be able to evaluate your case and help you get the compensation you deserve.
Value of a Whiplash Claim
In addition to the obvious costs associated with medical treatment, neck or whiplash injuries can have a damaging effect on your work, your social life, your ability to function, and the quality of life you had come expect. With a wide range of damages available to personal injury victims, you need to consider many factors when you determine the value of your case, including:
- the seriousness of your injuries,
- whether or not you were at fault or partly at fault for the accident
- the cost of medical treatment,
- lost wages due to missed time at work,
- pain and suffering for the injuries you suffer,
- Ongoing costs including the likelihood of high future medical expenses
Many of these damages require estimates and projections of future costs, or assigning a value to intangible feelings such as pain. Contact an attorney to walk you through the damages available for your neck or whiplash injury, and make sure you do not undervalue your claim.
Proving Neck Injuries
When you have symptoms of whiplash after an accident, it is important to seek medical attention from a provider who understands neck and spine injuries. In order to prove your injuries to an insurance company or a court, you will need to have written diagnosis from a physician specializing in the type of injury you suffered. Your medical documentation should also include results of a test such as x-ray, MRI, EMG, CT Scan, or other diagnostic tool that clearly shows your injury.
Even when symptoms of whiplash or other “soft tissue” injuries do not appear on objective test results, a medical provider who has experience with soft tissue injuries can help find the cause of your symptoms as well as the seriousness of your injury. An attorney with accident-related neck injury will know how to use the medical information related to soft tissue injuries to prove your case.
NOTE: Insurance companies and opposing attorneys may request you be examined by an independent physician of their choosing. If you receive a request to see another doctor, contact your attorney immediately.
Effect of Pre-Existing Neck Injuries
A pre-existing condition to your neck or spine could reduce the damages you collect if you are unable to prove the current accident caused the symptoms that led to your claim or lawsuit. However, if you can prove that the accident made the injury worse, you can collect for the degree to which the condition has been made worse. Additionally, if you had a previous neck injury and are more susceptible to injury and the new accident causes the pain to return or aggravates the old injury, then you can recover for your injuries as though this were a brand new set of injuries. For example, if you had a previous neck injury and you're free of pain, but another slight bump could permanently disable you, if someone negligently crashes into you, that person will be liable for your full damages, even though they had no way of knowing your condition was so fragile.
You should work with your attorney and medical providers to make sure everyone has as clear an understanding as possible of the portion of your neck pain that the accident caused. That way, you have the best chance of getting paid for the full value of any new or aggravating injuries.