Getting a Fair Settlement for Whiplash Injury


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What is Whiplash?

Although few attorneys use the term whiplash anymore because of the negative connotations it now carries, whiplash describes the injuries which generally occur as a result of the violent and extreme snapping or jerking of the head and neck.  Whiplash is most commonly associated with rear-end auto accidents, but may occur as a result of: 

  • Car, truck, or bus accidents that don’t involve rear-end impact;
  • Sports injuries;
  • Child abuse;
  • Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents;
  • Work injuries; and 
  • Assaults

Misconceptions About Whiplash

One of the biggest misconceptions about whiplash is that it only occurs in high-speed, high impact rear-end collisions.  The truth is that whiplash often occurs in low-speed, low impact accidents.  A variety of factors can influence whether a whiplash injury occurs including the position of the accident victim’s head at the time of the impact, the position of the seat and headrest at the time of the impact, the size and weight of the vehicles involved in the crash, and the height and weight of the accident victim. 

Another common misconception about whiplash is that it is not a serious injury because it involves soft tissue.  However, medical experts have found that soft tissue injuries can have long term effects, particularly if untreated or if treatment is delayed. 

Whiplash Lawsuits

A whiplash lawsuit is a type of personal injury claim which must be initiated within the statute of limitations period as governed by state law.  In order to win a whiplash lawsuit, a plaintiff must prove the following four elements: 

  • That the defendant had a duty to act or to refrain from acting in a particular manner;
  • That the defendant breached his duty;
  • That the plaintiff was injured; and
  • That the defendant’s breach of his duty was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. 

If a plaintiff proves these four elements, he may be entitled to recover both economic and non-economic damages.  In some instances, a plaintiff may also be entitled to punitive damages.  However, a plaintiff’s whiplash settlement or jury award may be reduced if he has a pre-existing neck injury, has a history of filing personal injury lawsuits, or is found to have been contributorily negligent. 

Getting Legal Help

If you or a loved one has suffered a whiplash injury as a result of an auto accident or other type of accident or incident, you should speak with a qualified personal injury attorney.  A personal injury attorney will assist you in determining your legal rights and in obtaining the compensation you deserve.

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