Whiplash is one of the most common injuries that occur due to vehicle accidents. But, claiming from an insurer to cover the medical costs is not always straightforward.
CompareGuru takes a look at the issue of whiplash claims – along with ways you can get your claim approved.
Whiplash is a soft tissue injury of the neck caused by a sudden, severe movement of the neck.
The name derives from the jerking movement of the neck, which causes this injury. A sudden movement towards one direction and back to its original position (just like a whip).
While whiplash can occur in a variety of situations, it is a very common injury resulting from car accidents. This is due to the sudden stop in motion caused by crashes, which results in the head jerking forward due to the momentum.
Whiplash can range from discomfort to severe pain, which requires medical treatment.
Some of the most common symptoms included headaches, neck pain and stiffness in the muscles which connect to your neck. These include certain shoulder, arm, and back muscles.
The problem that insurers have with whiplash is that its diagnosis is mostly based on self-reported symptoms.
While doctors can perform scans and X-rays to find any severe damage, the overstretching of ligaments isn’t typically observable through medical scans.
Rather, the diagnosis is primarily based on a patient’s report of pain levels and their range of movement.
As a result, insurers are suspicious of many drivers who try to claim compensation for whiplash. With companies saying that many of these claims are fraudulent.
So, how do you go about claiming for a legitimate case of whiplash and actually having your claim approved?
As we’ve mentioned, it’s difficult to provide concrete evidence of whiplash through scans or X-rays.
However, there are steps you can take to bolster your case and prove that you have a legitimate injury.
The first step would be to receive a medical examination from a doctor. While people could technically fake this injury, most doctors are knowledgeable enough to recognise real pain and symptoms in their patients.
According to wikiHow.com, seeing a qualified doctor rather than an alternative practitioner will add more legitimacy to your claim.
You should also gather information about the car accident. Such as the speeds of the vehicle(s) before impact, and the level of damage to property and cars.
It is more difficult for insurers to claim you’re faking an injury when signs such as vehicle damage and speed upon impact prove that the force caused by the accident was sudden and violent.
You should also keep a record of your medical expenses related to the injury, according to AllLaw.com. This will prove that you have suffered financial loss as a result of whiplash.
Having a detailed and accurate record of costs related to the injury will also give more credibility to your claim. The records will have specific amounts and tangible costs, proving that you are not simply pulling a number out of thin air for a quick pay day.
Many legal advice sites say that you should lodge a claim as soon as you confirm that you are injured.
Don’t try to make claims about whiplash at the scene of the accident – this will only increase suspicion.
Rather, see a medical professional and once it is confirmed that you are injured, contact the relevant insurance company.
Do not make any reaching claims to the insurance company about how long your injury will last, or the expected costs. Rather focus on first notifying them that you will be filing a claim.
Don’t immediately settle for a cash payout either. Rather take a proper look at the circumstances and get legal advice if needed.
If you suspect that the insurer is attempting to undermine your claim by assigning blame to you or doubting your medical history, you’ll want to consult a lawyer.
When notifying the insurer of your intent to file a claim, don’t immediately jump to the threat of the lawsuit.
You don’t want the insurer to assume you are another nuisance claim that is fraudulent.
However, if you have supplied the necessary confirmation from your doctor and qualify legally (in terms of fault), and your claim is still rejected, you should consult a lawyer.
You’ll want to find a law firm which is affordable, qualified and – above all – credible.
Resorting to a notorious “ambulance chaser” lawyer will only cause more doubt over your claim.