Thursday, April 15, 2010

Whiplash for $200 anyone?

This week a new client told me that their insurance adjuster said they would only be paid $200 for their whiplash, and that was the standard amount.

What? At first I thought my client was kidding me, but he was not. I have not fully investigated this case, but I do want people to know that there can be no 'standard' settlement amount for a whiplash claim. Each case will vary according to the nature, duration, and extent of the injury.

Whiplash is a serious injury that happens by the backward and forward movement of a person's head due to sudden acceleration or deceleration of a vehicle involved in a collision. The pain may be due to the sudden strain on the neck muscles or ligaments which sometimes produce muscle spasm. Whiplash injury can be very painful, and the person may suffer long term pain.

It is also not at all unusual for whiplash pain to first develop from hours to days after the accident.

Unfortunately, whiplash has been stigmatized by the insurance industry. People who actually have whiplash are made to feel like malingerers, even though they are truly suffering. I have had several people tell me that they never put any stock in whiplash claims until they had a whiplash injury of their own, and now they know it is real.

It is important to get medical treatment if you have pain in your neck, shoulders, or head after a car accident. It may in fact turn out not to be serious, and may just heal on its own. However, it may be something more serious, that will need to be treated by a physician.