One of the most common injuries experienced, especially in automobile accidents, is whiplash. While some symptoms may be transient and alleviate themselves within a few days, more severe cases may prove to have long-standing consequences such as nerve damage, neck and back pain, and headaches. For this reason, many victims of such trauma will seek financial compensation to help safeguard against short and long-term effects. The claims process may be daunting at times and one should understand the answers to some of the more frequently asked questions.
It is first essential to be aware of the circumstances under which a claim can be filed. Only the victim of an accident has the ability to take action. Simply put, it must be determined that the accident was not the victim’s fault. Both police and documented eyewitness reports can greatly aid in this determination. If it is concluded that another individual was culpable, there exists ground for filing a claim.
What Evidence is Necessary to Pursue the Case?
As mentioned before, the most powerful form of evidence is that of police reports and any third party witnesses. Besides any written statements, one should make certain to keep all hospital records, from possible emergency room visits to any follow-up or on-going treatment regimes. Additionally, after a solicitor is retained, he or she should order an independent medical examiner to ascertain the severity and extent of the whiplash injury. Their findings will be documented and subsequently be of great value when referring to pain and suffering.
The Role of a Solicitor
A solicitor should be consulted soon after the accident takes place. They can help in ascertaining not only if one does indeed have a valid legal case to pursue but also in gathering any necessary paperwork and informing the other party of one’s intention to take legal action. Professional lawyers are exceedingly familiar with whiplash cases and are a must should one feel that they are entitles to compensation.
The Logistics of Court Cases
Unlike other injuries, most whiplash compensation cases are settled out of court. One of the primary reasons this is the case is that by the physical nature of whiplash, it is often difficult for the defendant to dispute one’s own levels of pain and suffering. Should the defence eventually lose the case, undue amounts of money will be incurred that they must absorb. It is therefore more likely that the two parties will negotiate a settlement out of court, saving time, aggravation and money. In the unlikely event that the defendant disputes the claim, only then will it become necessary for the courts to determine the ultimate verdict in the case.
The amount of compensation rewarded varies from case to case. This is ultimately determined by not only recompense due to initial pain and suffering but also is calculated by financial hardships incurred as the result of the injury. An example of this is often lost wages due to medical leave from work. It must also be emphasised here that compensation will also include the payment of medical bills as well as any physical therapy treatments which may be required to rehabilitate the injury.
How much of the compensation will one be able to keep?
In whiplash cases, the victim most often keeps one hundred percent of any financial compensation rewarded. Many have the misconception that solicitors’ fees will be deducted from any awards package but it is likely that their fees will be paid by the defendant and their party. Simply stated, most lawyers work on a “no win, no pay” basis.
What if a case is lost?
Once again, should one lose a case, no legal expenses will be incurred. This is another important point to remember.
These represent but a few of the general questions regarding whiplash cases. It is best to contact a qualified solicitor to answer any additional concerns one may have.
John Corwin is a freelance medical writer covering medical news, such as new drug releases, and cases of exceptional treatment be they good or bad.