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How Much Is a Whiplash Claim Worth in a Lawsuit?

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries resulting from car accidents. It occurs when the head is jerked back and forth suddenly, causing strain to the muscles and ligaments in the neck. Whiplash injuries can range from mild to severe, with symptoms like neck pain, stiffness, headaches, shoulder and arm pain, numbness or tingling, and more. If you’ve suffered a whiplash injury in an auto accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be wondering – what is a fair settlement for whiplash? Here’s what to know about the value of whiplash claims and settlements.

What Impacts the Value of a Whiplash Injury Claim?

Several important factors affect how much a whiplash claim may be worth, including:

  • Severity of Injuries – More severe whiplash injuries that result in ongoing pain, disability, and medical treatment will be worth more than mild strains that resolve quickly. Permanent injury increases value.
  • Medical Expenses – Costs for diagnosis, treatment, physical therapy, medications, procedures, and assistive devices directly impact the claim value. Keep detailed records of all accident-related medical costs.
  • Lost Wages – An inability to work and lost income due to the injury plays a role in determining settlements. Be sure to calculate all lost wages from missed work days.
  • Pain and Suffering – Compensation can be awarded for both physical and emotional suffering related to the injury and recovery process. More severe, longer-lasting pain warrants higher damages.
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life – Damages can be sought if injuries prevent engagement in regular activities.
  • Liability and Insurance Coverage – Clear liability and ample insurance coverage increase potential payouts. An experienced injury attorney establishes liability.

Average Whiplash Injury Settlement Amounts

Minor Whiplash Injuries

Recent whiplash injury claim data indicates that settlement amounts for minor neck and back strains typically fall between $10,000 and $100,000, with the average settlement landing around $50,000. These include strains that resolve relatively quickly with minimal treatment. Settlements on the lower end are more common. Factors keeping settlements low for minor whiplash include short recovery periods, minimal verifiable pain and suffering, low medical expenses, and no lost wages.

Moderate Whiplash Injuries

For moderate whiplash cases with more extensive treatment and a longer recovery, settlements may range from $50,000 to $5,000,000. Moderate whiplash often involves muscle tears, disc injury, or vertebral fractures. Ongoing medical care over months, verifiable pain and suffering, and some lost income increase settlements for more severe whiplash.

Major Whiplash Injuries

For major whiplash injuries that cause ongoing disability or impairment, such as permanent loss of range of motion, multiple disc herniations, or vertebral fractures, settlement amounts typically span from $1 million up to $10 million or more. The most severe whiplash cases with lasting pain and disability can result in multi-million dollar verdicts if brought to trial. Factors that increase the value of major whiplash claims include permanent loss of range of motion requiring surgery, multiple levels of disc herniation or fracture, and forced retirement due to inability to work. Ongoing medical care, very high medical costs, and significant lost income also warrant larger settlements.

Does it Make Sense to Settle a Whiplash Claim?

Many whiplash cases settle out of court through negotiations between injury attorneys and insurance companies. Settlements allow claimants to resolve their cases efficiently and avoid a lengthy trial. Insurers also have motivation to settle, as it limits their litigation expenses and liability.

Settlements typically make sense for minor or moderate whiplash injuries. However, victims with severe injuries may get more compensation by rejecting initial offers and taking their claim to court. Jury awards for major injuries often exceed pre-trial settlements. An experienced injury attorney Los Angeles can provide guidance on whether to settle or go to trial based on factors like liability, damages, and insurance coverage. They will fight for full compensation.

What is a Fair Whiplash Injury Settlement?

Determining a fair whiplash settlement amount depends heavily on the circumstances of each case. With the wide range of potential values based on injury severity and other factors, there is no universal fair or standard settlement. Less severe whiplash cases resulting in strains, sprains, or minor soft tissue injuries may warrant settlements from $10,000 to $50,000. More serious injuries involving fractured vertebrae, herniated discs, and concussions may justify settlements from $100,000 to $5,000,000. The most severe whiplash claims resulting in disability or permanent impairment may deserve seven-figure settlements exceeding $5 million.

Ultimately, a fair whiplash settlement should fully account for all accident-related losses and damages supported by medical evidence and documentation. This includes medical bills both current and future, lost income, pain and suffering, and impact on quality of life. With an experienced attorney fighting for top dollar, victims can be assured of a fair settlement.

Pursuing the Maximum Value for Your Whiplash Injury

Don’t just accept what the insurance company offers. Their first settlement offer is generally low, hoping claimants will accept a quick payout. To maximize your claim’s value, be proactive:

  • Seek medical attention immediately and follow all recommended treatment. Gaps in care can reduce claim value.
  • Consult and retain experienced Los Angeles injury lawyers. An attorney will thoroughly investigate liability and aggressively negotiate top settlements.
  • Document all accident injuries, medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and impact on daily life. Detailed records help prove damages.
  • Have a medical expert assess permanent impairment. This boosts pain and suffering damages.
  • Participate in mediation if offered. Many insurers suggest mediation prior to trial. An experienced mediator and attorney can leverage this to secure a fair settlement.
  • Be reasonable in settlement negotiations, but don’t accept unreasonably low offers. Prepare for trial if needed.
  • Consider settlement demand letters outlining claimed damages and requesting a specific settlement figure. Quantifying losses can produce improved offers.
  • If trial is necessary, work with attorneys to present a compelling case proving liability and damages. Jury verdicts often exceed settlements.

How Long Does a Whiplash Claim Take to Settle?

There is no set timeline for whiplash injury claims. Simple claims with clear liability may settle within several months. More complex claims involving disputed liability, vague injuries, multiple parties, or severe damages can take a year or more to resolve. Factors impacting claim duration include:

  • Severity of injury and treatment needs – More serious injuries often take longer to evaluate.
  • Disputes over fault and negotiations – Contested liability lengthens the process.
  • Multiple medical opinions – Getting second opinions delays settlements.
  • Medical limit disputes with insurers – Disagreements over reasonable treatment costs add time.
  • Witness availability – Coordinating witness statements and testimony takes time.
  • Backlogs in the court system – Courts have high caseloads, slowing trials.

Have patience and work closely with your attorney throughout the claims process. Rushing for quick settlements often compromises value, so focus on maximizing your recovery through persistence and preparation. With an experienced law firm on your side, obtaining fair compensation takes priority over speed.

Pursuing fair compensation for your whiplash injuries requires expertise. The dedicated attorneys at Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Lawyers have decades of experience obtaining maximum settlements for clients injured in auto accidents. We handle every aspect of the claims process while you focus on recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling (800) 4-THEWIN.