Handling Whiplash after a Rear-End Collision
Getting into a car accident creates a lot of problems, even if you’re not the one at fault. Getting whiplash in an accident makes the problem substantially worse as it usually adds even more severe legal issues in addition to the pain and suffering of you or anyone else who was injured in the vehicle. Dealing with all of this may seem overwhelming, but there are a few easy steps to ensuring that the legal and medical issues are handled as well as possible.
Getting Medical Treatment
Whiplash occurs when the head and neck are suddenly thrown forward and then thrown backwards in a whipping motion. The muscles in the head and neck are extended beyond their natural range of motion, causing pulled, torn and strained muscles. Whiplash is a common auto accident injury as the seat belt keeps the body in place during the collision, but not the head and neck. Whiplash can also occur in accidents where the cars are going as slow as five miles per hour.
To get the best diagnosis and treatment for symptoms of whiplash, it’s best to seek out a chiropractor. The reason that it’s better to go to a chiropractor for these injuries instead of merely a regular doctor is because chiropractors specialize in muscle problems and pain in the head, neck and back. They’ll be able to accurately diagnose and treat you for whiplash in ways a regular doctor may not.
A chiropractor will also provide detailed and informative reports on your medical condition that may be vital if you wish to pursue legal action against the person who hit you.
Common treatment methods of whiplash include taking pain medication, resting the muscles in the neck for a short period of time and then trying to actively use the muscles in the head and neck to get them back into proper shape. While some people believe using a neck brace is necessary in this situation, recent studies have shown that it can actually hinder recovery and cause future pain by causing muscles to atrophy.
You may also want to seek out a physical therapist for quicker recovery and a decreased chance of chronic pain in the future.
What if Their Insurance Doesn’t Cover All of My Medical Costs?
If the other driver does not have insurance or their insurance policy is not sufficient enough to cover your medical expenses, you may still be helped if your insurance policy has uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage in your insurance policy. Uninsured motorist coverage pays for your damages and medical expenses in the event that you’re hit by someone who doesn’t have insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage is used when the driver doesn’t have a good enough insurance policy to cover your medical expenses. The driver pays as much as they can and your uninsured motorist coverage pays the difference.
If you were the passenger in the vehicle that got hit, the driver’s insurance may cover your medical expenses.
If you don’t have any of these options, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer to see if you should take legal action against the other driver for the cost of your medical expenses.
Should I Hire a Lawyer?
The answer to that question depends on the situation and how it was handled. Proper documentation should be taken at the scene of the accident to support the case that the other driver was at fault for the accident. Seek medical attention as soon as you start feeling soreness or pain. Avoiding getting medical attention makes it seem like your injuries weren’t that severe. Some people may take advantage of that fact to make it seem like you’re trying to scam money out of the other driver.
Once you have received proper medical attention, ask for as much documentation from your chiropractor or other physician as possible. If your doctor can give the proper diagnosis of whiplash and can vouch for the fact that you didn’t have a similar condition before the accident occurred, get it in writing. Keep any other important medical documentation, and get a copy of the police report. You can never have too much information when trying to build up a legal case.
Next, consult a personal injury lawyer about your case. If you want, you can consult various personal injury lawyers to get different opinions on your case. The lawyer will typically look at the evidence that you have collected and give you a good idea on whether or not you have a decent chance of winning.
If they believe you have a solid case, it’s up to you whether or not to hire a lawyer to work on your case. Whiplash cases typically involve fairly small claims since the injury is not considered very serious. Cases are typically for sums around $4000 to $5000, but this depends greatly on your situation. You can either represent yourself with enough research and preparation or you can hire a legal professional to present your case for you. If you do hire a lawyer, ensure that it is someone that seems trustworthy, professional and reputable to ensure that your case is handled as well as possible.