Car accidents are increasingly common in Los Angeles. In 2014, there were more than 75,000 car accident-related injuries and deaths in Los Angeles County. Victims who are involved in Los Angeles car accidents can suffer from a variety of debilitating and painful injuries. Whiplash is among the most common injuries that drivers and passengers will suffer in a Los Angeles car accident.
If you were involved in a Los Angeles car accident and suffered a whiplash injury you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver. An experienced Los Angeles whiplash injury attorney can help you maximize the amount of compensation you can recover.
What is whiplash?
Whiplash is a common (but often misunderstood) car accident injury. The Mayo Clinic defines whiplash as a “neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck.” The injury is called whiplash because the movement of the neck is similar to that of a whip. Our necks are not intended to move in this way. When our heads are jarred back and forth our bodies can sustain serious injuries to the neck and/or spine.
How do I know if I have whiplash?
It is important to seek medical attention if you have been involved in a Los Angeles car accident. Many times, a medical evaluation can help to identify injuries that you may not be aware of. Car accident injuries like whiplash are best diagnosed within a week of a car accident. This is because the signs and symptoms are most prevalent during this time.
The sooner you see a doctor, the greater your chances of a successful and accurate diagnosis. If you have been involved in a car accident and are suffering from any of the following whiplash symptoms you should seek medical attention:
- Neck pain or stiffness
- Difficulty or pain in moving your neck
- Decreased range of motion in your neck and shoulders
- Blurred vision or difficulty seeing
- Sensitivity to pressure on the shoulders or neck
- Difficulty concentrating, or
- Tingling in your hands or arms.
These symptoms are commonly reported in car accident victims who suffer from whiplash. It is important to seek medical attention so that the whiplash injury does not linger. Failure to treat whiplash injuries can lead to more serious health issues in the future.
Why should I file a whiplash claim?
Rear-end car accidents are the leading cause of whiplash. When your car is struck from behind, the impact can cause your head to jerk forward and then immediately jerk backward into your headrest. As we discussed above, this can lead to a number of health issues. Treating and recovering from these health issues can be time-consuming and expensive.
Most Americans do not have enough in savings to cover these extraordinary costs. Fortunately, Los Angeles car accident victims may be able to recover compensation by filing a personal injury claim for damages.
In many situations, rear-end accidents are the fault of the driver who rear-ends you. If you are rear-ended or involved in another type of car accident you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for your whiplash injuries. The damages you recover in personal injury lawsuit can help you to recover the costs associated with the accident. These can include costs for medical expenses, rehabilitation, medication, lost wages, pain and suffering, embarrassment, and mental anguish.
How much can I recover for a whiplash injury?
If you file a personal injury lawsuit for damages, how much is your whiplash claim worth? The answer to this question will depend on at least three things:
- the economic damages you suffered;
- the non-economic damages you suffered; and
- whether or not you were partly to blame for the accident.
Economic damages are injury-related costs that you can easily calculate. Things such as medical expenses, lost wages, and lost earning capacity are all examples of economic damages. When you are awarded economic damages, you are basically being reimbursed for financial costs that you would not have had to incur if the accident had not occurred. Economic damages are intended to put you back in the financial position you were in before your whiplash injury.
Non-economic damages are injury-related costs that are more difficult to calculate. This is because non-economic damages are based on injuries that are subjective rather than objective. Pain and suffering is a great example of a non-economic damage.
We know what pain and suffering is when we see it. We do not always know how to value pain and suffering in terms of money. The pain and suffering a victim endures will be different with each and every case. Everyone has a different tolerance for pain and no two accidents are identical. In each individual case, a finder of fact (judge or jury) will consider all of the evidence in a case to determine a financial award that would be an appropriate amount of compensation for pain and suffering. Other examples of non-economic damages include loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, loss of companionship, disfigurement, and embarrassment.
If you are partly responsible for the accident that caused your whiplash injury your ability to recover compensation may be limited. California follows the rule of comparative negligence. A victim’s right to recover compensation is reduced by the percent of the accident that is determined to be his or her fault.
For example, let’s say you suffer a whiplash injury when you are rear-ended while sitting in Los Angeles traffic. It is later determined that you are 20 percent responsible for causing the accident because you were texting on your phone and were not paying attention to the traffic around you. Any compensation you recover from the driver who rear-ended you would be reduced by your 20 percent liability. This means that if you suffered $10,000 in damages you would only be able to recover $8,000 from the other driver.
Filing a Los Angeles Whiplash Claim
Have you been injured in a Los Angeles car accident? Did you suffer from whiplash injury and are struggling to pay for costly medical bills? Is your whiplash injury keeping you from doing your job? If so, it is important to speak with an experienced Los Angeles whiplash injury attorney as soon as possible.
The amount of time you have to file a whiplash claim is limited. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner you can begin to recover the compensation you need to recover from your whiplash injury. Do not hesitate to call our Los Angeles office today to schedule a free consultation.