Whiplash is no minor medical matter. This soft tissue injury occurs when the neck is jerked suddenly in one direction and then back again. As a result, the neck’s tendons, muscles, and discs could all suffer damage.

People can get whiplash in different ways, including from sports injuries and from simply falling down. However, it’s especially common after vehicular crashes — rear-end accidents in particular.

Be aware that, if you were to suffer from whiplash, you might feel fine for a while. In part, that’s because your body might be releasing extra endorphins and adrenaline to dull the pain.

At some point, though, you’d start to feel the effects of that whiplash. They could become severe and perhaps even debilitating. Those symptoms might include any of the following:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Pain in the lower back, hands, arms, or shoulders
  • Numbness in the arms and hands
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of sleep
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing sounds in your ears
  • Blurry vision
  • Memory failures or confusion
  • Moodiness

Seeking Medical Help

It’s vital to see a doctor right away if your head is ever violently shaken or snapped backward. Indeed, when it comes to soft tissue injuries, the damage can worsen over time without proper medical care.

On top of that, when you later file an insurance claim, the insurance company might be more likely to accept your injuries if you sought medical care immediately.

In fact, it may be a good idea to make an appointment with a doctor who specializes in traumatic injuries instead of your regular physician.

A trauma specialist will be more experienced with whiplash and might be able to spot the subtle signs of this injury more adeptly. (This doctor might order an imaging test like a CT scan or an MRI scan as well.)

Moreover, if you do have whiplash, your doctor might recommend some combination of these treatment options:

  • Extra rest
  • Over-the-counter pain medications
  • A heat pack
  • A cold compress
  • A neck brace
  • Lidocaine injections
  • Prescription pain medications
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Antidepressant medications
  • Physical therapy

After you receive prompt and thorough medical care for your whiplash, you next need to protect yourself legally and financially. That is, it’s time to file your insurance claim.

Strengthening Your Whiplash Claim

Before you file your claim, you’ll want to have as much evidence as possible in your possession. And you could start gathering evidence right at the scene of the accident.

If you or another passenger in your car can do so safely, get plenty of photos of the accident scene. Take those pictures from various angles, and make them as clear as you can. In particular, get photos of:

  • The damage to your car, inside and out
  • The other vehicle, especially the license plate
  • Any visible injuries that you or your passengers have suffered
  • Tire marks on the road
  • Any damage to trees, fences, road signs, and so forth

You’ll also want to collect the names and contact information of all bystanders and witnesses. Later on, those people may be able to provide valuable accounts and testimony.

You can bring all of this evidence, along with your medical records, to your attorney’s office. Your doctor’s notes, in particular, may prove to be important.

In addition, don’t delay filing your claim. You want to take action while the circumstances of the accident are still fresh in everyone’s mind. After all, the human memory tends to fade rapidly, and crucial details could get lost as time goes by.

Watching What You Say

A word of warning here: Do not discuss your accident with anyone at the scene. When you talk to the other driver immediately after the crash, you could exchange insurance and contact info, but that should be it. Don’t apologize, and don’t mention anything about your circumstances immediately before the crash. Don’t say, for example, that you were momentarily distracted or had sunlight in your eyes.

If that other driver asks you any specific questions, politely decline to answer them. Indeed, keep your words to an absolute minimum. After all, even the simplest and most innocuous comments could later be misconstrued at a negotiating table or in a courtroom.

In a similar vein, don’t speak to the other driver’s insurance company on the phone, no matter how many times its representatives try to contact you. They may try to tempt you with a monetary settlement, one that might sound enticing. However, you can be almost certain that the amount of money they offer will be far lower than what you could obtain with a lawyer’s help.

Not to mention, it’s easy to inadvertently say something that sounds like you’re accepting liability for the crash. Such a statement might even lead to the insurance company’s revoking the settlement offer.

Filing Your Insurance Claim

When it comes to vehicular accidents, Texas is not a no-fault state. Under Texas law, then, if another driver’s mistake caused your crash, you’d have to file your claim with that person’s auto insurance company and not your own.

As soon as you’re ready, you could bring your documentation to an attorney’s office. That way, you could formally begin the process of filing a claim and negotiating an equitable settlement.

Your lawyer will also prepare to bring your case to court in the event that the insurance company refuses to negotiate fairly.

Also, you should collect documentation to prove how much you’ve incurred in crash-related expenses. With the right evidence, you’d stand a better chance of getting the right amount of compensation. Examples of such documents include:

  • Copies of your medical bills
  • Insurance deductibles and co-pays
  • Receipts for medications and treatments you’ve paid for out of pocket
  • Taxi or ride-share receipts if you’re currently unable to drive
  • A statement from your workplace explaining how much income you’ve lost due to missed work

You might have to wait a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months for the insurance company to process your claim and settle. In large part, it depends on how many claims the company is dealing with at the moment.

Furthermore, the insurance adjusters might be waiting for certain medical documents or surveillance videos that they’ve requested to come in. Or they might be conducting a full-scale investigation of their own.

In any event, it’s possible that the insurance company will dispute one or more of your claimed expenses as frivolous or unrelated to the accident. That’s another reason why you ought to have a skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced attorney advocating for you.

Pain and Suffering

Your lawyer will also help you earn the pain and suffering compensation to which you’re entitled under the law.

This type of payment isn’t connected to specific and identifiable expenses. Instead, it redresses the physical, mental, and emotional suffering that a person undergoes after an accident.

How would your attorney arrive at a precise dollar amount for your pain and suffering? The first step would be to carefully weigh a number of factors, among them:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • The length of your recovery period
  • The extent of your medical care
  • The extent of your property damage
  • The degree to which your quality of life — your mobility, your ability to work, your opportunities to pursue hobbies, and so forth — has been diminished

Next, your attorney would multiply the total cost of your other expenses by another number — the worse your pain and suffering, the higher the number.

Your lawyer could then use keen negotiating skills, honed over years of study and practice, to earn that amount for you.

Of course, it sometimes happens that an insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith. In such a scenario, the insurance company’s reps might keep stalling, or they might keep lowballing you.

If that happens, your accident attorney should be ready, willing, and able to file a lawsuit and make a convincing argument before a judge or jury.

What PM Law Firm Could Do for You

If you’re a car accident victim, we at PM Law Firm are here to help. We serve the people of Humble, Kingwood, and Atascocita, Texas, with fearlessness and finesse, dedication and deep legal expertise.

Furthermore, if you’re suffering from whiplash due to a vehicular crash, we’ll help you attain the financial stability you deserve. That way, you could start to reclaim your life and rebuild your future. At PM Law Firm, we have true empathy for all of our clients, and we understand that whiplash is so much more than just a pain in the neck.