Florida is one of five states that have some of the highest rates of car accidents in the country. According to Policy Genius, the Sunshine State ranks third among other car-accident-prone states, trailing only behind California and Texas.
With thousands of car accidents occurring yearly in Florida, one type of injury becomes all too common — whiplash injuries. In Florida, more than 100,000 car crashes happen daily. Of this number, a significant proportion results in whiplash injuries.
Whiplash injuries are some of the most common injuries following car accidents in Florida. Some are treatable, resulting in recovery. The vast majority, however, are not.
Find out more about whiplash in car accidents in Florida, and why you need to call a car accident attorney for compensation.
What Is a Whiplash Injury?
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a whiplash injury is a type of neck injury caused by sudden and extreme neck extension and flexion. In other words, a whiplash injury occurs when the neck abruptly tilts forward or backward.
During a whiplash injury, the soft tissues of the neck sustain damage as a result of extreme shearing forces. The soft tissues that sustain the most damage are the:
- Intervertebral joints of the neck
- Muscles of the neck
- Spinal discs
- Nerve roots
Whiplash in car accidents is at its worst when the nerve roots are involved. Damage to the nerve roots in the upper spinal column can trigger neurological symptoms.
What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash in Car Accidents?
At the very onset, many will not complain of symptoms. However, once the initial shock of a car accident has passed, some of the most acute and common symptoms that appear are:
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
Whenever nerve roots sustain damage as a result of the injury, neurological symptoms appear. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, prickling sensations will signal nerve damage. The prickling sensation is a sign of paresthesia. Paresthesia is characterized by numbness in the arms or even the legs in some cases.
Besides neurological symptoms, cognitive problems arise in the worst cases of whiplash. Some victims present with memory loss, cognitive deficits, anxiety, and irritability.
Can Car Accident Insurance Pay for a Whiplash Injury?
As a motorist in Florida, you should carry auto insurance. Auto insurance, by law, should cover your medical expenses and some property damage. While this sounds great on paper, there is one problem — the average coverage cap.
Most insurance companies will cover a maximum of $10,000 of medical bills and damages. This amount may suffice if all you require for your whiplash injury is spinal manipulation and some NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). However, the costs can quickly add up if you require more treatment.
Given how severe whiplash in car accidents are in Florida, you are better off assuming that you will need more coverage. Unfortunately, your insurance provider may either refuse to provide added coverage or the expenses exceed your maximum coverage.
For this reason, you will need to seek compensation from the driver who caused the accident. While Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to auto accidents, your right to compensation will not always be guaranteed.
This is where hiring a car accident lawyer comes in.
How Much Compensation You Can Receive for Your Whiplash Injury
The amount of compensation you can receive will, at the very least, equal the amount your insurance provider paid. This amount will likely be about $10,000 in medical expenses. However, the damages you sustained will warrant a much larger amount. With a car accident and personal injury lawyer as your legal counsel, you have a chance of recovering more than what you paid for medical bills.
Average settlement amounts can range from $10,000 to as high as $100,000. You can stand to gain much more if your whiplash injury is severe enough to cause some type of disability.
The calculation for the exact amount can be a tricky undertaking. An experienced attorney can make the necessary calculations and hand you an estimate of the amount to which you are entitled.
Several factors can determine how much you can recover. These factors are as follows:
If your legal counsel has determined an amount, this may be reduced. It may be reduced if the opposite side can prove that you had a hand to play in your injuries. Florida’s Comparative Negligence Statute provides that recoverable compensation can be lessened. The reduction can occur if the victim or plaintiff is partly responsible for the accident.
For instance, if you had a blood alcohol concentration of 1% during the time of the incident, this can reduce the amount you can receive as compensation.
The Severity of Your Injuries
Barring comparative negligence, the more severe your injuries are, the higher your compensation needs to be. For this reason, you need to have evidence that paints an accurate picture of your injuries.
The most important piece of evidence to prove your injuries is a medical report issued by a physician. This is why it is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Other Losses or Damages
Besides your medical bills, you might need compensation for other losses. If your whiplash injury is severe enough to cause you to miss work, you can file for wage loss compensation.
Compensation for your lost wages can pay for the amount of time you were not able to work.
Whiplash From a Car Accident in Florida? Get the Best Personal Injury Attorney in the State
Whiplash injuries are common in Florida. However, despite their commonality, not everybody gets compensated — at least not fairly.
One of the mistakes many injured drivers make when seeking compensation is DIYing their claim. Doing this can be an uphill battle — one you will likely lose.
You can even the odds and receive what is due to you. If you have been at the receiving end of a whiplash injury in Florida, contact us today at Fetterman and Associates.