If you are wondering how to sue for whiplash after a car accident, you should know that you have a right to hire an attorney to handle the legal process. A car accident lawyer can take the various steps involved in a personal injury lawsuit, which includes filing the necessary paperwork within the deadline.
Whiplash is a common soft tissue injury after a car accident, and though it may seem minor, it can lead to lasting medical conditions, such as chronic pain. To recover compensation through a lawsuit, you will have to gather evidence of negligence, as well as your losses. Then, you can make a case to a jury or judge, but your case may settle before then.
After a Car Accident, You May File an Insurance Claim Before or Instead of a Lawsuit
In some cases, it may be better to begin seeking compensation through an insurance claim. You can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, and much of the evidence-gathering process will be the same.
In other cases, you may begin by filing a lawsuit, especially if your injuries are severe. Your case may settle before you go to trial, though.
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Gathering Evidence of Negligence to Sue for Whiplash After a Car Accident
To sue another party, you have to demonstrate that their negligence directly caused or contributed to your accident. When it comes to car accidents, proving the four elements of negligence may look like this:
- Duty of care: The other party owed you a basic duty of care to keep you reasonably safe on the road. For example, motorists have to abide by traffic laws and take extra precautions during inclement weather or hazardous road conditions.
- Breach of duty of care: The other party breached the duty of care through some action or inaction, such as failing to yield the right of way at a stop sign.
- Causation: The other party’s negligence caused or contributed to your accident, such as a rear-end collision.
- Damages: You suffered injuries, such as whiplash, and financial losses due to the accident.
A car accident lawyer can help you demonstrate negligence by collecting evidence, such as traffic camera footage and pictures of the damage to the vehicles. They can also hire expert witnesses, such as accident reconstructionists, to help get to the bottom of what happened.
Gathering Evidence of Losses to Sue for Whiplash After a Car Accident
You will also need evidence to show that your injuries, including whiplash, led to your financial losses. The best way to obtain this evidence is to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. According to Mayo Clinic, whiplash can have latent symptoms that appear days after an accident. Even if you believe your symptoms to be minor, see a doctor.
The sooner you treat your neck injury, the better you can protect against developing a medical complication, such as chronic pain. Some whiplash symptoms to look out for include:
- Shoulder and neck pain
- Numbness or tingling in your arm
- Blurred vision
- Memory issues
- Loss of range of motion in your neck
- Sleep disturbances
Your medical bills and records will also serve as key evidence of your losses. Additionally, your doctor’s prognosis will help you determine any future medical care you will need. You will want to make a full accounting of both your current and future losses to ensure you seek fair compensation.
Other Losses You Can Seek
Aside from your medical bills and records, you will want to take your lost income into account if you had to miss work due to your whiplash injury. Your wage statements, for example, can serve as evidence. You may even qualify for reduced earning capacity if you can no longer earn your pre-injury income.
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You Have a Deadline When Suing for Whiplash After a Car Accident
According to O.C.G.A § 9-3-33, you generally have two years from the date of your car accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, the court could dismiss your case, and you would have no recourse to hold a liable party accountable.
A car accident lawyer can help you meet the deadline and work to make the legal process as time-efficient as possible. Keep in mind that they still need time to investigate an accident, gather evidence, and negotiate with the other party.
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You May Have to Go to Trial to Sue for Whiplash After a Car Accident
If an insurer refuses to offer a fair settlement during negotiations, you can proceed to take your case to trial. A car accident attorney from our law firm can represent you and present the evidence to a judge or jury and seek a verdict.
How Long Does It Take to Sue for Whiplash After a Car Accident?
Every case is unique, so it’s impossible to say exactly how long it will take to sue for whiplash after a car accident. If you begin with filing an insurance claim, it could take even longer. Also, if your case goes to trial, the process will last longer, as well.
A personal injury lawyer can give you an idea of how long your specific case should take. They can also provide you with updates throughout the legal process.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Our legal team works on contingency, meaning we take car accident cases without charging upfront fees. Instead, we take a percentage of your potential settlement or verdict when your case concludes. This payment structure allows you to access legal representation without taking the risk of losing more money due to your accident.
We Can Explain More About How to Sue for Whiplash After a Car Accident
We can discuss your case and go over your legal options in more detail during a free consultation. While you focus on healing, our personal injury attorney can get to work on your whiplash injury claim or lawsuit. Call Kaine Law today.