Typical Whiplash Injuries and Settlements
Whiplash injuries are common in car accidents, especially rear end collisions. One reason for the injury is that the collision is unexpected, the other vehicle is coming from behind and the victim has no chance to brace. Even seemingly minor accidents can result in whiplash injuries. Whiplash injury settlements tend to be small. The victim often feels cheated, but the fact is that a case is based on what a jury would do. A jury tends not to award much for whiplash injury claims, unless the jury is lead by an individual that has actually suffered a whiplash injury. These injuries tend to last for as long as six months and often lead to long term problems.
Whiplash settlement amounts vary, but tend be under $15,000 and often can be as low as a few hundred dollars. In California judges seem to agree that a typical whiplash injury settlement should be in the same range as a typical whiplash injury jury verdict which tends to be a little under 10,000. Some insurance carriers offer very little to resolve these claims and some attorneys reject these type of cases. Many law firms will reject soft tissue injury claims if there is not enough evidence to make a convincing case. Whining is not a basis for a good whiplash settlement, even though some victims feel that the basis for a good settlement is whining. Two doctor visits and less than 1,000 in property damage will often result in a zero verdict from a jury and not likely to be cases accepted by a personal injury attorney.
A good result can be obtained where there is a lot of objective evidence to support the whiplash injury claim. The whiplash injury itself is one that has very little objective evidence. X-rays will not show an injury from whiplash. X-rays are routinely used to determine if there is a severe injury such as a broken bone, and x-rays are more often than not used just for that. In reality X-rays serve no useful purpose in the vast majority of cases and do more harm than good. A few doctors refuse to do x-rays, because they understand that it does more harm than good. Insurance carriers make lower offer to settle claims when injuries are treated by chiropractors. Chiropractors are beloved by a few, but not so much by typical jurors. Contrary to popular belief, jurors are generally smart people and they realize that the value of chiropractors is not as good as medical doctors and insurance carriers know this.
Objective evidence in typical whiplash injury claims that supports the claim relate to supporting evidence such as a DUI defendant, a defendant under the influence of drugs, several weeks of prescribed physical therapy, several weeks of prescribed medication, and other evidence that tends to support a significant injury. Statements by the victim so really severe injuries with little or no evidence to support the claim result in small settlements, despite the victim’s insistence that the injury is severe.