Five Steps To Build a Whiplash Claim After a Car Accident

Whiplash is a common injury in car accidents. Although people usually achieve a full recovery from whiplash, some suffer long-term pain and damage.

When filing a whiplash claim after a car accident in Alabama, you can expect the at-fault driver’s insurance to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other accident-related losses. The following five steps are crucial for building a strong claim after whiplash injuries. 

If you suffered a serious injury, consult an experienced car accident lawyer in Mobile, AL. Working with an attorney will make it easier to build a strong insurance claim and negotiate suitable compensation. 

What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a type of neck injury. It often happens in car accidents when the vehicle stops abruptly, and the victim’s head moves quickly back, then forward (like a whip). Whiplash can damage discs, soft tissues, muscles, and tendons in the neck. 

Whiplash symptoms can start immediately after an accident or develop up to 24 hours later. Signs of a whiplash injury include the following:

  • Neck stiffness and pain
  • Back, shoulder, and arm pain
  • Dizziness and headaches
  • Reduced mobility in the neck
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands or arms
  • Tinnitus
  • Insomnia
  • Blurred vision

If you only suffer a minor case of whiplash, you may recover with a few days of rest and OTC pain relievers. However, for more serious injuries, you may need prescription meds, muscle relaxants, and a course of physical therapy. You may also have to wear a neck brace for a while.

What To Do After a Whiplash Injury

Building a solid whiplash claim starts right after an accident, when you may not know yet that you’ve suffered whiplash or how serious your injuries are. These five steps will help protect your rights when dealing with insurance companies. 

1. Seek Medical Treatment 

Whiplash often doesn’t announce itself immediately after a car accident. You may feel fine at first, but only a full medical evaluation will give you an accurate picture of your condition. You must see a doctor ASAP after the collision to protect your health and receive treatment recommendations.

When you file a claim, you’ll also need medical documentation like emergency room records, discharge paperwork, and diagnostic scans. Save every medical record and bill, as these might become vital pieces of your legal puzzle.

2. Follow Your Treatment Plan

Be sure to follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations. This is important for your health and your claim.

Having records of ongoing care (like follow-up appointments or physical therapy sessions) will help prove you’ve suffered a serious injury and reinforce your claim. The other side’s insurance company and/or lawyer may look for any excuse to argue that your condition isn’t that serious, so you must be able to show you’ve been undergoing treatment.

3. Gather Evidence

Apart from your post-accident medical records, gather all available evidence of the accident. Your medical information from before the crash can be useful in whiplash claims since it may help prove you had no preexisting neck or back conditions. 

Other useful evidence includes the police report of the accident, witness testimonies, photos of the accident scene, dash cam footage, and your employment records documenting missed work days. 

4. Communicate With Insurance Companies

Your coverage terms probably state that you must inform your insurer of the accident shortly after it happens. You’ll also need to communicate with the at-fault driver’s insurer.

Whether an insurance adjuster talks to you on the phone or sends you documents to fill out, don’t say more than necessary. Speaking with a lawyer can help with this process. 

5. Consult a Lawyer

If you sustained serious injuries, you may have to negotiate a large, complex claim that includes factors like long-term prospective medical costs and reduced employability. In this case, you should consult an experienced local car accident lawyer, preferably before you talk to the other driver’s insurance company.

Your lawyer can calculate the realistic worth of your claim and handle all communication with insurers. Your attorney will also evaluate any settlement offer and advise you whether to accept it or proceed to filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Do You Really Need a Car Accident Lawyer?

If you suffer a minor injury, you may be able to handle your insurance claim yourself. But if the car accident caused significant damage and you’re facing a lengthy recovery and major expenses, you should start working with an attorney from the start of your claim. 

This is especially true in a state like Alabama, which follows the contributory negligence rule. Contributory negligence means you can’t claim damages if you carry even a tiny part of the fault for the accident. Insurance companies may try to dodge responsibility by arguing that you weren’t driving safely. You need a seasoned car accident lawyer to protect you from these all-too-common tactics.

Many personal injury lawyers usually work on a contingency basis, meaning you only pay when you win. The lawyer’s fee comes out of your settlement, but a legal professional’s skill and experience often mean you’ll walk away with a larger payout, even after deducting the contingency fee. 

Call Jackson & Foster for Help With an Insurance Claim After a Car Accident in Mobile, AL

A car crash can leave you with debilitating injuries, severe mental trauma, and a heap of medical costs. Calling a skilled car accident lawyer is one of the first things to do after a car accident, especially if you suffered a serious injury.

At Jackson & Foster, we have over four decades of combined legal experience representing car accident victims and their families in Mobile, AL. Our diligent lawyers will advocate for your rights throughout your whiplash claim and work alongside you in pursuit of fair compensation. 

Call 251-433-6699 for a free consultation today to learn more about your rights.

Contact us for an evaluation of your case today.