Average Settlement for Whiplash Injury in South Carolina
What is the average settlement or payout for a whiplash injury? Naturally, whiplash victims want to know how much compensation they can expect from a personal injury settlement. Nationwide, there have been millions of whiplash lawsuits over the years, which gives an attorney a good idea of the potential payouts. However, because each individual’s whiplash injuries differ, the average settlement for whiplash can vary greatly, and there’s no way to predict the exact amount.
Whiplash Settlement Calculation: Weighing the Factors
Whiplash is a neck injury when the head unexpectedly moves backward and forward due to sudden impact. Depending on the force of the impact, whiplash can be mild or severe. While whiplash generally occurs during a car accident, others may suffer a neck injury in some other accident or when participating in high-impact sports, such as football.
The symptoms that commonly follow a whiplash injury include:
- Neck pain and stiffness;
- Loss of range of motion in the neck;
- Shoulder, arm, and upper back pain;
- Numbness or tingling of the face;
- Blurred vision;
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears);
- Trouble sleeping; and
- Irritability or trouble concentrating.
An injury victim’s settlement for whiplash injuries depends on several factors, including:
- The severity of your condition;
- The total cost of past and future treatments and rehabilitation;
- The type of treatments required;
- The amount of time needed to recover or reach maximum medical improvement;
- The number of days missed from work;
- The amount of income lost;
- Pain and suffering and emotional anguish; and
- Other costs associated with your whiplash injuries.
Reaching a potential settlement amount requires weighing the evidence against all these factors. For example, did you have severe neck pain after the accident but didn’t go to the emergency room? If so, your claim probably won’t be able to reflect the severity of your pain because there are no medical records to substantiate it.
In the least severe cases, whiplash injuries could result in a settlement of a few thousand dollars. Injuries requiring intense physical therapy or other rehabilitative treatments could result in an award of $10,000 to $50,000. For injuries resulting in permanent disability, the claim’s value could be $100,000 or more.
The Biggest Factor: The Severity of the Injury
The severity of whiplash injuries is generally the biggest factor in determining the settlement payout. If you suffered a severe whiplash injury, the compensation will be higher.
Being in a high-speed accident may be the first indication that you suffered severe whiplash. In certain car accidents, sudden deceleration or acceleration causes the neck to whip forward and back, causing an injury.
Another indication you suffered severe whiplash is instantaneous neck pain following the accident. Though many neck and back injuries take a little time to show up, a serious neck injury will have immediate pain.
Additionally, if you have trouble moving your neck and tingling or pain that travels through the arms, this could all indicate a more serious and lasting whiplash injury.
How to Get Compensation: Filing a Claim
Before calculating a potential whiplash injury settlement, you must know whether you have a claim. The claims process begins by filing an insurance claim. Since South Carolina is an at-fault state, if you suffered whiplash in an accident, you could pursue compensation from your insurer, the at-fault driver’s insurer, or a personal injury lawsuit.
Keep in mind to pursue compensation, you must first prove fault. A law enforcement officer generally attempts to determine fault for an accident at the scene. Officers will focus on whether any drivers involved should face criminal charges or receive a citation for a traffic violation. If the officer determines a particular driver is at fault, the officer may charge that driver with a traffic infraction or a more serious charge. This is good news for your case if that driver is not you. While the police report cannot be used as evidence of negligence at trial, it will guide the insurance company to find who was at fault.
Additionally, you will need a diagnosis before you can pursue a claim. In fact, without substantial medical records documenting your diagnosis and treatment, your claim will be minimal or denied. It should be no surprise that the insurance company won’t take your word for it!
When speaking with an insurance adjuster, divulge only basic facts and avoid discussing your injuries. The medical records will speak for you. Choosing to discuss your injuries could result in the adjuster twisting your words or minimizing your symptoms. Any misrepresentation or downplaying of your symptoms could lower your compensation award or doom your claim.
After filing the claim, if you cannot negotiate a fair settlement, you can contact a personal injury attorney who will assist you in filing a personal injury lawsuit.
What Is the Average Settlement for Whiplash?
If you’re still wondering about the average payout for a whiplash claim, contact the Peace Law Firm. John Peace founded the Peace Law Firm in Greenville, South Carolina, in 2002. His experience as a former insurance company employee gives him a deep and nuanced understanding of insurance-related issues, including personal injury claims. To request a consultation, please call 864-298-0500.