When to File a Claim for Whiplash
Learn what factors will influence your decision of when to file a whiplash injury claim.
The question “when should I file a claim for whiplash?” is really two related questions:
When is a whiplash injury severe enough to merit a claim?
On the surface, this question is easy to answer. Any time you are injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you deserve compensation.
The difficulty lies in determining how hard you should work to secure this compensation. If you have suffered a very minor whiplash injury consisting of just a bit of soreness and no lasting symptoms or aftereffects, your medical bills are no doubt quite low. You should have little trouble securing a settlement from the insurance company that will cover you needs. You can most likely do this through the claims process without needing to involve an attorney.
However, if your injury is more severe, you may find you deserve more compensation than the insurance company is willing to provide. At this point, you will need to enlist an experienced car accident injury attorney’s aid in preparing and presenting a strong claim to the insurance company. If you do not receive a fair settlement offer you may then decide to pursue your case in court.
When is the best time to make a claim for damages related to a whiplash injury?
One of the biggest challenges with a whiplash injury is that it can be difficult to tell how severely you are injured. Though whiplash injuries in rear-end accidents are common, only about 10 percent of victims will suffer permanent damage resulting in disability. Considering that up to 60 percent of these disabled individuals had injuries that seemed only moderate at the time, you can easily see the difficulty victims face here.
This means that before considering any settlement offer, you need to:
- See the doctor
- Get your doctor’s prognosis for your recovery
Assuming you are expected to achieve maximum medical improvement within a year or so of the accident, you should wait to file your claim until you reach this point. This will help ensure that you have a complete and accurate total for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering and protect you from accidentally forfeiting compensation by accepting a low settlement before you really understand your injury.
If you would like an opportunity to talk about your case with an expert whiplash injury attorney for free, please call 909-982-0707 and ask for your initial consultation with Fernando D. Vargas.