How to Determine Whether You Should File a Whiplash Injury Lawsuit
You might have heard of whiplash before. You can sustain whiplash in several different ways. However, if you associate it with car wrecks, that’s usually correct. Whiplash from car accidents occurs every day, all across the nation.
If you sustain whiplash in a vehicular accident, you may wonder whether you have any legal recourse. You might have a lot of medical bills related to the wreck, and perhaps you don’t have the money to pay for them. You might also have to miss work because of what happened, which means you’ll lose out on even more money.
You might sue the other driver to recoup your medical expenses. We’ll talk about how you can decide whether to move forward with that right now.
How Long Do You Have to File Your Lawsuit?If you get in a car wreck and you sustain whiplash, you might not decide right at that moment to pursue a lawsuit. Lawsuits are not exactly fun, and you may want to go in that direction only as a last resort.
You should know that you have a set amount of time to file a lawsuit if you eventually determine that’s in your best interest. The limitations statute varies depending on your state. For instance, in Oklahoma, you must file suit within two years. You may have more or less time in a different state.
What is Whiplash?We'll clarify what we mean when we use the term “whiplash.” Whiplash happens when your head and neck jerk forward and backward because of a force acting on your body. Car accidents cause whiplash often, but you might sustain this injury playing sports or in certain other situations.
You might have headaches after sustaining whiplash. You may have neck pain and stiffness. You may need X-rays following the incident to determine the injury’s extent.
A qualified doctor will tell you whether you have sustained whiplash or not. They might tell you to wear a neck brace, or perhaps they will tell you that bed rest and some cold compresses will help. They also might give you prescription pain medication or instruct you to use over-the-counter pain meds.
Usually, whiplash does not cause permanent damage. You might have a severe or mild case. You may have to recover for days, weeks, or months afterward. You might return to work not too long after, or it can take longer in worse instances.
How Can You Figure Out Whether to Pursue a Lawsuit?As for when you should pursue a lawsuit because of a whiplash injury, that’s something you will have to figure out on your own. However, talking to a personal injury lawyer would be a logical place to start if you’re thinking of doing that.
You can approach a lawyer and tell them all about what happened. You can probably locate one pretty easily. Personal injury lawyers that do only car wreck cases are never that hard to find.
Usually, one of these lawyers will do a free consultation with you. If they want to charge you just for consulting with them, go with someone else. You should not have to pay any money to get a lawyer’s professional opinion.
You can tell the lawyer what happened when the other car hit you. You should not omit any detail, and you should not embellish either. You should try to be precise with the details because they might come into play later if they agree to take on your case.
How a Lawyer Will Determine Whether to Take Your Whiplash CaseA lawyer will probably agree to take on your case or not, depending on whether they feel the other driver caused the accident. If they think, based on your description, that your actions caused the injury, they will probably tell you that. That might discourage you, but you will likely want an honest opinion about your prospects.
If you obeyed all traffic laws and another car slammed into you anyway, that’s when a lawyer will probably take on your case. The thing is, though, just because it seems obvious the other driver caused the accident, that does not mean the lawyer will automatically take you on as a client.
You will probably have to gather as much evidence as you can if you hope to retain a lawyer and win a whiplash lawsuit. You might use the lawyer’s car accident scene reconstructionist. They often hire them to show jurors what happens when one car hits another.
They can show, using skid marks, your medical records, traffic camera footage, etc., what happened to you. If they have tons of evidence to show the jury, you will likely win your case. You might get not only money to pay for your medical bills but to cover your pain and suffering as well.
How Much Can You Win?With these cases, there’s no set amount you might expect. What the jury awards you will likely depend on how much money you owe in medical bills.
The jury will also take pain and suffering into account, which is a much more arbitrary figure. They will also look at precedent by considering previous cases like yours and what the jury gave the plaintiff if they found in their favor.
You will need to pay your lawyer with part of the money you get if you win your case. You should try to set up a contingency payment plan, so you will not need to pay them anything if you happen to lose the lawsuit.
You can probably trust a lawyer when they tell you that you should pursue the case or not based on the information you give them. If you sustained whiplash, but it was entirely or partially your fault, it won’t do any good to try and sue the other driver.
Of course, if you disagree with one lawyer’s opinion, you can always talk to another attorney and see if they feel differently.
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