Some of the most common injuries endured by car accident victims are whiplash-related injuries. The hyperextension of the neck during a sudden stop can cause mild to severe neck and spine problems. Many people mistakenly believe they cannot recover damages for whiplash injuries after a preventable car accident. In reality, settlement values for whiplash injuries range from a few thousand dollars to several hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If a whiplash injury significantly altered your life, you can obtain fair compensation for the financial costs of your injury as well as the non-financial pain and suffering you endured as a result of your injury. The type and severity of the injury, as well as the cause of the accident, will determine the settlement value.
Understanding Whiplash Injuries
Medical professionals often diagnose whiplash-associated disorders using grade levels. A grade 0 whiplash injury may not cause any physical symptoms and will resolve itself quickly. Lower grade whiplash injuries can create minor complaints and some signs of strains or sprains. These typically resolve on their own over time, but some borderline injuries may cause chronic pain and suffering.
A whiplash injury that reaches a grade 3 or 4, however, will cause serious and sometimes permanent neurological and musculoskeletal problems. The most severe injuries may dislocate or break the bones of the cervical spine, damage nerves, or cause paralysis.
The amount of damage in the neck and the living experience after the accident will both affect the settlement value of the claim. In most cases, an independent medical expert may need to corroborate the claim evidence with his or her own medical experience to confirm the reasonableness of the settlement request.
Calculating the Demand for Settlement
Personal injury claim settlements cover both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages will cover all calculable expenses including medical expenses, lost earnings, and lost earning potential associated with the injury. The plaintiff may use medical bills, prognosis reports, earnings reports, transportation receipts, and the market rate costs for future medical treatment and rehabilitation.
In addition to calculable expenses, a plaintiff may request compensation for pain and suffering. These damages are not as easy to calculate because we have no straightforward way to measure and assign financial value to the experience of an injury. Your attorney may take your economic damage request and multiply it by a certain factor to determine current and future losses related to pain and suffering.
In this method, the plaintiff team and claims adjustors may rate pain, injury severity, duration, emotional health, quality of life losses, and other considerations on a numeric scale and multiple economic losses by that factor. In severe and debilitating injury claims, a plaintiff may request as much as 5 or 7 times the economic damages request. Your attorney may also look to previous similar claims to determine a reasonable request for pain and suffering or calculate a per diem request based on daily experiences.
What if My Case Goes to Trial?
A jury will not assign a multiplier to determine the award for pain and suffering. They may instead assign an arbitrary value based on their own opinions and understanding of the case. Plaintiff sympathy and the strength of the claim often play a role in the amount of damages a jury chooses to award in court. A strong car accident attorney will improve a plaintiff’s ability to secure damages related to pain and suffering after a whiplash injury.
Other Factors in Whiplash-Injury Related Car Accident Claims
Many whiplash claim valuations sit below the $10,000 mark, while some severe injuries may recover damages in excess of $100,000. Serious car accidents may cause more than one type of injury. When combined with fractures, lacerations, and other injuries, the whiplash injury may only represent a portion of the request for compensation. A licensed legal professional can help whiplash injury victims understand the nuances of Nevada state car accident laws.