How to Prove Whiplash (Neck Injury) from a Car Crash
Whiplash is a common car crash injury that not only causes severe pain in the days immediately following a crash but can also cause disorders that persist for years. If you suffered whiplash in a rear-end collision, you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company. However, because this type of soft-tissue injury is rarely visible on X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans, you can expect the auto insurance company to argue the reality and severity of your injury. You may need the help of an experienced car accident injury lawyer to prove the full extent of your injuries and demand all due compensation. If your damages exceed the other driver’s liability coverage, your attorney may also recommend suing that driver personally.
Allow Time to Evaluate the Full Extent of Injuries
While it is important to file an insurance claim immediately after any car accident, you should not rush to settle a claim involving a whiplash injury. It may take months for the full effects of a whiplash injury to become evident. You may need expensive surgeries and other therapies to relieve your pain and address other symptoms. You could be unable to work, care for your family, and generally enjoy life for months or years. You deserve compensation for all of your losses, both financial and emotional, that stem from a car crash caused by another driver’s negligence or carelessness.
Gather Evidence Needed to Prove Whiplash Injury
Research has shown that the pain of whiplash is caused by tiny breaks and tears in the soft tissue that connects and protects the bones of the neck, aka the cervical spine. Specifically, the damage tends to be concentrated in the facet joints that connect the vertebrae together and allow the head to bend and rotate. In addition to neck pain, other disorders caused by a severe whiplash injury include: loss of range of motion in the neck, headaches, dizziness, and pain that spreads to the arms. Because none of these problems can be easily proven by X-rays or other medical tests, other sources of proof will be needed to support a personal injury claim.
Five types of evidence that you should compile include:
Documentation of the accident, including how fast you were going, where you were sitting in the vehicle, from which direction your car was hit, whether the airbags deployed, and how the headrest was positioned.
Medical records showing that you sought medical treatment within a few days of the car accident and multiple times since then. Your medical records may include visits to a physical therapist, chiropractor, neurologist, neurosurgeon, or an orthopedic surgeon specializing in the cervical spine. Medical records from before the accident will also be necessary as proof that your neck pain was not a pre-existing condition.
Pharmaceutical records showing what medications you have taken for the pain.
Imaging results such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs. These may show damage to the spine itself, beyond the soft tissue injury known as whiplash.
Documentation of damages, including medical bills--especially the deductibles and co-pays not covered by your health insurance, the cost of travel to all the doctor visits, and lost wages. You should also track days when you were in too much pain to do your normal activities, including being a companion to your spouse and children, because you can include “pain and suffering” as part of your damages.
Contact a Joliet Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car crash that may have resulted from someone else’s negligence or carelessness, contact our experienced Will County car accident lawyers to discuss how we can help you obtain full and fair compensation. For a free consultation, call the Joliet office of Schwartz Injury Law at 815-723-7300 or our Orland Park office at 708-226-9000.