For some, it will be obvious that they’ve suffered an injury after a car accident—there might be sore muscles, disorientation, severe pain, or worse. For others, they may feel perfectly fine and believe they’ve escaped the accident injury-free. But whiplash injuries often sneak up on victims, as symptoms don’t usually appear until days or weeks after their car accident. With this in mind, seek a medical evaluation if you’ve been in a wreck and don’t feel any obvious injuries right away. Whiplash injuries can disrupt your life in myriad ways, from difficulty completing simple household tasks to severely reducing your quality of life. If you have experienced a whiplash injury, you deserve compensation for your suffering. Read on to learn more about what factors impact whiplash settlements in Florida.
What Is a Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash injuries are soft-tissue injuries resulting from the rapid backward and forward motion of your body upon impact in a car accident. Although we wear seatbelts to keep our bodies stabilized following a collision, there is unfortunately no protection preventing the movement of our heads and necks upon impact.
Whiplash injuries can cause pain immediately after a car accident. For many, the signs and symptoms of whiplash don’t appear until much later.
Signs and Symptoms of a Whiplash Injury
Those suffering from whiplash may feel a variety of symptoms that vary in severity.
Common whiplash injuries include the following:
- Neck pain and stiffness,
- Soreness in the jaw,
- Arm pain and weakness,
- Back pain, and
- Shoulder pain and stiffness.
Although whiplash injuries are thought of as a relatively minor condition, for many they can cause long-term pain and discomfort. Medical tests may be required, such as CT scans and MRIs to assess the inflammation in the soft tissues, nerves, and spinal cord.
You should never underestimate the complications that whiplash injuries may cause. Chronic pain following a whiplash diagnosis is not uncommon. When this occurs, victims may wish to pursue a settlement for their injuries from the responsible party. You have a right to recover when your life fails to return to normal after a car accident.
While it may never return you to the person you were before, a fair settlement may alleviate the financial and emotional burdens you are experiencing.
What Factors Impact a Whiplash Injury Settlement?
Your personal injury attorney knows that no two car accidents present the same facts and circumstances.
A personal injury attorney like Wendy Doyle-Palumbo analyzes the specific facts of your case to determine a range of possible compensation amounts for your whiplash injury. Various factors impact a whiplash injury settlement including the following.
Florida is a “no-fault” state.
Under Florida’s current no-fault law, every driver is required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection or PIP insurance coverage. This coverage provides payment of medical expenses to the insured, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
While $10,000 may sound like a lot of money, this barely covers the financial burden for those suffering from chronic whiplash injuries. PIP coverage does not include the pain and suffering associated with chronic conditions resulting from whiplash injuries.
The severity of the Injury
Don’t lose hope if the $10,000 paid by your PIP fails to fully compensate you for your whiplash injuries. It is possible to file a claim and seek recovery of additional compensation from the liable party.
In Florida, you may file a claim against the party responsible for your injuries if your injury meets the state’s injury threshold.
Your whiplash injuries meet a “serious injury” threshold if it causes one of the following:
- Significant permanent loss of bodily function,
- Permanent injury (to a degree of medical probability),
- Significant permanent scarring or disfigurement, or
Some victims recover from their whiplash injuries in the days or months following the onset of symptoms. However, if your whiplash injuries persist and even increase in severity, this could signal a more significant whiplash injury. For example, chronic pain, numbness, and other signs may indicate spinal, muscle, or nerve damage.
Long-term whiplash injuries may require physical therapy, continued medical observation, and increased medical expenses. Some people may never fully recover. Dealing with these chronic injuries may increase a typical whiplash payout.
But you need an aggressive and compassionate personal injury attorney on your side. Wendy Doyle-Palumbo understands the disruption a chronic whiplash injury can cause and works with clients to obtain just compensation amounts.
Sometimes whiplash injuries prevent you from working in the same manner as you did before the accident.
For example, if your job requires physical strength and heavy lifting, your whiplash injury may make it impossible for you to carry out these duties. Whiplash injuries don’t just negatively affect those employed in physical jobs.
Administrative duties requiring you to sit at a desk for hours may severely aggravate your whiplash injury. If you can’t work the job you had before your accident because of your whiplash injury, contact a Florida car accident attorney to explore options for a whiplash settlement.
Even if you’re still able to work your job, your long-term whiplash injury may require you to attend physical therapy and medical appointments to keep your recovery moving in the right direction. This may take away valuable time from work and result in a reduction of your earnings.
These lost wages impact possible whiplash injury compensation amounts as they are recoverable. Your personal injury attorney reviews how your whiplash injury affects you and your daily life to support your claim against the responsible party.
When you choose Wendy Doyle-Palumbo to represent you in your personal injury lawsuit, you receive the personal attention you wouldn’t get in a big firm. Additionally, while some personal injury attorneys seek to avoid a courtroom, Wendy Doyle-Palumbo isn’t afraid to litigate your case to get the results you deserve. Whiplash injuries are a complex area of personal injury law and require the expertise of a qualified attorney like Wendy. If you worry that your $10,000 PIP coverage will fail to compensate you for your injuries, let her take a look at your case from all possible angles. This approach has earned Wendy Doyle-Palumbo the impeccable reputation of never cutting corners to obtain the best possible outcome for her clients. Although typical payouts for whiplash injuries vary from case to case, Wendy Doyle-Palumbo works with you to get what you need to recover.