When it comes to dealing with the aftermath of an auto accident, one of the biggest worries is the amount of compensation you may be due. After all, the costs associated with medical bills and the damage caused to your vehicle can quickly add up. If you’ve been injured in an accident and have suffered from whiplash, then you may be wondering what a typical settlement amount might look like.
Whiplash injuries may not be the most serious injuries that you can suffer in an auto accident, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have value. Spinal injuries can cause pain and discomfort that can last for months, even years after the initial trauma. That’s why whiplash settlements in an auto tort case are usually between $6,000-$20,000 when the injury is not permanent.
A Closer Look at Whiplash Settlements
When looking at average jury verdicts for whiplash over the last five years, they tend to stay just under $20,000. However, those judgment amounts may vary depending on severity. Some settlements awarded through a trial may be more than ten times this amount. According to a colleague who is a Florida injury attorney, the average settlement for Florida whiplash injuries is $35,000.
What It All Means
It’s important for people who have suffered from a whiplash injury in an auto accident to understand their rights regarding compensation. Consult with a personal injury lawyer to get a better understanding of what your potential settlement could look like so you can make an informed decision about whether or not to pursue a lawsuit.
Whiplash Grading System
When a person suffers from whiplash, doctors use a unique grading system to determine the extent of their injury. This system ranges from Grade 0 to Grade 3 and can help pinpoint the seriousness of a person’s symptoms. Here is an overview of the Whiplash grading system to give you a better understanding of what each grade means.
Grade 0 Whiplash
Grade 0 whiplash means that there are no outward signs of injury or pain present. Although this may appear as if there has been no injury at all, it could be that the symptoms have yet to manifest themselves and the victim may be affected in the long run.
Grade 0 Whiplash injuries are typically less severe and require minimal medical treatment or time away from work. As such, they often result in a settlement ranging from $1000-$5000 depending on the amount of property damage and lost wages.
Grade 1 Whiplash
Grade 1 whiplash typically does not come with any physical indicators, but the pain associated with the condition may start to become more pronounced weeks or even months following the accident.
Grade 1 Whiplash Injuries, the most common type, can merit settlements between $5000 – $10,000. This is largely determined by how much immediate and ongoing medical care is needed, as well as what percentage of income was lost due to the injury.
Grade 2 Whiplash
When someone is dealing with Grade 2 whiplash they will most likely experience neck pains as well as other signs of musculoskeletal injury.
Grade 2 Whiplash Injuries, usually resulting in headaches and neck pain that make it difficult for victims to look at a computer screen for long periods of time, have an average settlement range between $20,000 – $30,000. Factors such as medical expenses and missed wages will determine the exact payout.
Grade 3 Whiplash
Individuals who have grade 3 whiplash will not only feel neck pains but will also show signs of physical impairment due to the severity of their injury.
Grade 3 Whiplash Payout Scale: The average payout range for Grade 3 Whiplash is between $25,000 – $100,000 due to variables such as age, fitness level, medical bills, and wages lost.
Grade 4 Whiplash
As the injuries become more severe with Grade 4 Whiplash Injuries, so too do the costs associated with them. Settlements in the 6-7 figure range aren’t unheard of thanks to expensive surgeries and long periods of recovery requiring frequent visits to specialists. Lost wages also play a bigger role in these settlements due to the inability to resume normal day-to-day activities.
Whiplash injuries can vary greatly in severity and cost, with the most severe costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlements. In any case, it’s important to be aware of the financial ramifications that come with being diagnosed with whiplash.
Understanding Your Settlement Options
When it comes to whiplash settlements, there are typically two types of payments that you can receive: special damages and general damages. Special damages refer to any direct financial losses you may have incurred as a result of the accident, such as medical bills or the cost of repairs to your vehicle. General damages are a little more abstract and refer to things like pain and suffering.
Calculating Your Potential Settlement
The amount of a typical whiplash settlement will depend on a variety of factors, including how severe your injury is and whether or not you were at fault for the accident. Generally speaking, the more serious the injury and the less at fault you were, the higher your settlement amount is likely to be.
For instance, if your whiplash was severe and you were found to be only partially at fault for the accident, then you could expect to receive a larger settlement. On the other hand, if your injuries were minor or you were deemed to be mostly responsible for the accident, then your settlement amount will likely be much lower.
Determining Your Entitlement
The total compensation you can expect to receive depends on the severity of your injury. Severe cases of whiplash often require specialized treatment and a longer recovery period, meaning that a more substantial sum may be appropriate in these scenarios.
It is important to account for all medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident, including not just immediate costs but any ongoing or additional treatments. Your attorney will be able to provide an estimate based on your specific situation and the applicable laws in your state.
Jose was injured in a car accident and suffered from whiplash as a result. He filed a claim against the driver’s insurance company, received compensation, and continued with his life. Weeks later, he developed serious back pain which was attributed to the original whiplash injury. He was then informed that the whiplash had caused an undetected brain injury that needed specialized care—care that his health insurance company could only partially cover. He was stuck with the balance, wondering whether to go to work or sign up for the surgery he desperately needed.
Getting Help From a Lawyer
An experienced whiplash lawyer can help you maximize your settlement amount so you are better prepared for any situation. Taking into account all potential factors, an attorney can help ensure that you receive adequate compensation to cover all medical costs related to the injury, as well as lost wages or income if you were unable to work for an extended period of time due to your recovery.
Seeking Professional Assistance
Determining an accurate figure for your whiplash settlement can be tricky and you may want to consider speaking to a professional who is familiar with auto accident law. An experienced lawyer can advise you on whether or not you should pursue legal action and can help fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
In some cases, months or even years after an initial car accident, injured individuals develop new symptoms due to nerve damage caused by whiplash. If this happens, you must be prepared for additional medical bills beyond the scope of your original settlement agreement. Setting aside a portion of your initial settlement for these unforeseen circumstances should give you peace of mind and help cushion any financial losses in the future.
Your health and well-being are too important to put at risk. If you’ve been involved in an accident and have suffered a whiplash injury, don’t wait to take action. Maximize your chances of receiving a full settlement by enlisting the help of an experienced attorney today.