What Happens if the Insurance Company Says Your Whiplash Case Is Worth $0?

What Is Whiplash?

One of the most common neck injuries sustained by our clients who have been in a motor vehicle accident. This injury often leaves a person with soft tissue damage that results in minor to severe pain in the neck and head area, but can also affect the back and other extremities. The pain is especially noticeable when the person attempts to move their head, our Indianapolis personal injury lawyer adds. 

Certain types of bone structure damage can be a form of whiplash and is most often a result of a collision that involves excessive force, e.g., being struck by a semi-truck.

What Causes Whiplash? woman with neck injury in vehicle

In the majority of instances, whiplash occurs when there is a sudden, often unexpected, acceleration-deceleration type of force. It's most often associated with a rear-end automobile collision, but can be caused by any number of crashes, such as t-bones or head-on collisions.

What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?

The type of symptoms you will likely experience with whiplash are:

  • Neck pain
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Shoulder pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Arm pain
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Back pain
  • Visual disturbances

How Will My Doctors Know I Have Whiplash?

Whiplash is a condition that is primarily symptom-based, meaning your doctor will likely not be able to diagnose you based on physical examination alone. To receive a proper diagnosis, it's important that you be honest and accurate with the description of your symptoms. This will determine whether or not you have whiplash or some other condition and what type of treatment you'll need.

Keep in mind, the doctor's primary concern after your accident is to assess whether or not you have sustained a major injury to your neck, head, or other areas of the body. With this in mind, our car accident attorney says, you will likely undergo x-rays following your accident or be placed in an immobilization device.

What Types of Treatment Will I Need?

Your treatment will depend on the severity and type of symptoms you are experiencing. The most common type of treatment may involve pain relief medication, physical therapy, and/or supportive devices, e.g, a neck collar.  

  • Medication: to help relieve pain and reduce swelling or inflammation
  • Physical Therapy: to help relax pinched nerves, improve blood circulation and realign your spine
  • Supportive Device: to help stabilize the area during healing (a padded collar is often used)

How Long Does Whiplash Pain Last?

If you follow your doctor's orders, there's a great chance that you will make an excellent recovery from whiplash, but there are instances in which a person's suffering may last for months. Because the severity of the symptoms and the type of accident varies from person to person, your pain can last anywhere from one week to a few months.

Can Someone Take Steps to Prevent Whiplash?

The proper use of seat belts is an important step in preventing whiplash, or significantly reducing the severity of its symptoms. Your overall health and age also play a role in determining the risk of suffering whiplash symptoms.   

Why Is it a Good Idea to Contact a Car Accident Lawyer?

The majority of whiplash cases are treated with a low amount of respect by the insurance company. Because this type of injury doesn't display any physical markings or damage, there will be a lot of questions about the severity of your injury, or whether it ever even existed.

Without an experienced injury attorney who has handled thousands of these cases, it's possible your whiplash injury may be labeled a MIST case. It's not uncommon for insurance companies to view whiplash as a "mystery injury" and fail to give it the legitimate attention it deserves.

Having worked these cases since 1936, we know better. In fact, recent studies have concluded that there is a close relationship between whiplash and brain injury, most notably concussions. Often times these symptoms are overlooked by an insurance company and a person's claim is greatly undervalued.

James R. Keller
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Partner at Keller & Keller