If you have been diagnosed with whiplash after a car accident that was not your fault, you could be entitled to damages—compensation you could claim through the at-fault motorist’s insurance company, or even your own health care provider. However, proving whiplash to an insurance company can be challenging.
Accidents and Whiplash Injuries
Whiplash is a potentially traumatic neck injury caused when the head is moved forcefully back and forth. While whiplash is a common injury, the condition is not well understood. However, medical researchers believe that whiplash-related pain could stem from complex interactions between the muscles, discs, nerves, and tendons in the neck.
The most common symptoms of whiplash are:
- Neck pain
- Neck stiffness
- Upper-body discomfort, including pain in the shoulders and back
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentration
Since whiplash can present with different symptoms affecting different parts of the body, it could be misdiagnosed or mistaken for another disorder. You should always consult a physician if you believe you might be suffering from whiplash after a motor vehicle accident.
Recovering Compensation After a Whiplash Injury Accident
Missouri is an at-fault insurance state. That means, the other driver’s carrier will pay for the cost of your medical treatment up to the limits of their liability policy. If your whiplash injury requires treatment beyond the limit, you will have to consult your health insurance provider. You may be responsible for any co-pays, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
If the other driver does not have adequate automobile insurance, you may be able to claim damages through your policy’s uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage.
The Costs of a Whiplash Injury
Whiplash injuries can be difficult to diagnose and treat. If you begin experiencing inexplicable pain or discomfort after a car accident, you might incur expenses for:
- Emergency room visits
- Diagnostic tests and examinations, including MRIs, X-rays, and specialist follow-ups
- Prescription medication
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
If your whiplash is severe, you might have to take time away from work to recover, losing income you need to afford medical care and keep a roof over your head.
The average whiplash claim is valued between $2,500 and $10,000. However, severe whiplash conditions sometimes warrant long-term care. Since Missouri does not cap damages in whiplash injury cases, you could receive as much compensation as you need to make a full legal recovery.
The Difficulties of Winning a Whiplash Case
While most whiplash injuries will resolve within a matter of months, some have the potential to become a chronic condition. You might be in pain for years. When you are negotiating an insurance settlement, you must account for the possibility that your whiplash could present long-term complications.
However, securing fair compensation can be difficult. Whiplash is a painful but poorly understood condition. Unlike other injuries and diseases, doctors cannot confirm whiplash through a CT scan, MRI, or laboratory test. Instead, when physicians suspect that a car accident victim could have whiplash, they must make their diagnosis based on your subjective physical feelings.
Since a whiplash diagnosis could require years of intensive treatment, insurance companies are often reluctant to provide coverage for whiplash claims. They might try to deny or devalue your case by:
- Suggesting that your physician misdiagnosed you
- Saying your injuries do not require long-term care
- Accusing you of fabricating pain for financial gain
You Deserve Compensation for Whiplash
Whiplash is a common post-accident condition that can cause a great deal of pain and hardship. However, insurance companies have spent years maligning whiplash, doing everything in their power to present the condition as a fabrication. The insurance company, the adjuster, and their attorneys will often try to devalue your whiplash claim and tell you the pain you feel is not real.
Are You Suffering From Whiplash Following a Missouri Car Accident?
If you've been injured in a Missouri car accident and are suffering from whiplash, you should speak with an experienced whiplash lawyer as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 314.200.1229 to schedule a free consultation. We help whiplash victims throughout the state of Missouri including Columbia, Springfield, Kansas City, St. Louis, Kirksville, and Cape Girardeau.