According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 1 person was injured every 2 minutes 34 seconds in Texas in 2020. The TxDOT also reported that there were 14,679 car accidents in Fort Worth in 2021, which caused 2,488 minor injuries and 534 serious injuries. Whiplash is a neck injury commonly caused by rear-end car collisions. However, it can also result from other incidences, such as falling from a height or being hit by something. While whiplash is often a minor concern – causing pain, stiffness, or soreness – it can sometimes be severe, causing spinal injuries that can lead to disability and time off work (lost income). That’s when you should contact a whiplash injury lawyer in Fort Worth.
If you suffered whiplash in Fort Worth, TX, whether in a car accident, a fall, a blow to the head by an object, or physical abuse, you have the legal right to file a personal injury claim to get compensated for your damages. Even so, you might ask yourself: is it worth filing a whiplash claim? How much is the compensation for a whiplash injury claim? Who pays the settlement? By partnering with personal injury attorneys in Fort Worth, TX, you get the legal support you need to understand the details of your claim and the personal injury claim process and tilt the case on your side.
Heller Law for your Whiplash Injury Lawyer Fort Worth, TX
At the Heller Law Office, we are dedicated to providing personalized legal representation in personal injury claims, including personal injury lawsuits involving neck sprains. We’ve been helping personal injury victims in Fort Worth fight for their legal rights in the legal system for nearly a decade, so we know the legal system and how to handle personal injury cases. We will leverage that experience and other resources at our disposal to fight on your behalf to ensure you get the maximum settlement.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a sudden jerk or bending of the neck forward, backward, or vice versa. It’s a type of neck sprain that causes damage to the soft tissues, discs, nerves, and tendons in the neck, resulting in pain, soreness, and stiffness. As aforementioned, most whiplash injuries are caused by rear-end vehicle crashes, usually because of distracted driving, panic stops, tailgating, poor vehicle safety systems, or reduced traction due to bad road conditions.
Reports indicate that 1/3 of all car crashes involve whiplash injuries, and almost 90% of all car-accident injury victims suffer some form of neck pain. After sustaining a whiplash, an accident victim may experience:
- Lower back pains
- Neck pain, stiffness, and soreness
- Pain or numbness in the arm, hand, or shoulder
- Hearing loss
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Concentration or memory issues
It’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention after sustaining a whiplash injury. Doing that ensures you get the proper medical exam to determine the severity of the injury and that you’re getting the right treatment for quick recovery. Unfortunately, insurance companies are typically critical of the time and treatment a claimant gets. Failure to take the necessary steps incentivizes them to offer an otherwise lower settlement.
How Long Does it Take to Recover from Whiplash?
The recovery timeline for a whiplash injury is contingent on various factors, including:
- Injury severity
- Your age and health, as well as any pre-existing conditions (if any)
- Occupational risks, particularly if you do physically strenuous jobs
- Whether you receive treatment; if so, what type?
It’s also worth noting that some people never recover fully from whiplash symptoms. In such a case, the condition is referred to as chronic whiplash syndrome (CWS).
Is It Worth Claiming for Whiplash?
If your doctor diagnoses you with whiplash after a car crash, you might be interested in filing a claim against the at-fault party. Remember, a whiplash injury caused by another person’s negligence or recklessness puts you in an unprecedentedly difficult situation. Besides suffering physical pain and trauma, a whiplash injury can lead to loss of finances, property damages, lost wages, medical bills, and more.
By filing a claim, you hold the at-fault party accountable for their negligent action that caused your injuries. In addition, the settlement you get can help you get back on your feet and even cover any debts, such as medical liens.
How Much Can You Settle for Whiplash?
While you might be eager to determine the settlement amount for your whiplash claim, you should understand that there is no standard figure or average compensation for such claims. The compensatory amount awarded depends on several factors, such as the type of injury and severity of the issue. Some whiplash injuries are minor, while others are severe and debilitating.
The settlement fee you receive for your whiplash injury depends on the extent to which the injury has affected your life. You have the right to pursue the maximum settlement for your damages. In Texas, you can get compensated for a number of losses and injuries, including:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Disability expenses
- Lost income
- Medical devices
- Medical expenses
- Loss of enjoyment of life (LEL)
- Psychological trauma
- Property damages
- Reduced earning capacity
These are just a few examples of the damages you can recover in a whiplash claim. Remember, every case is unique, and the settlements vary. An individual with a severe whiplash injury may not fully recover. Hence, their compensation will likely be higher than those with a minor whiplash that takes a few weeks to recover. It would be best to talk to your personal injury lawyers to get the specific details of your claim.
Even so, you can expect to recover an average of $5,000 to over $20,000. In this context, average means nothing other than a result of a math calculation. Your injury pertains to you only, and your usual mode of life is also specific to you alone. That said, it’s somewhat arbitrary to determine averages for other claimants to your case.
Types of Damages Recovered in a Whiplash Claim
In the legal sector, damages refer to the settlement amount you receive after winning a whiplash lawsuit. There are three types of damages:
- Economic (special damages) – Special damages refer to the money you receive to compensate for your financial losses. These include lost income, medical expenses, diminished earning capacity, and property damages.
- Non-economic (general) damages – General damages are losses that one can’t put a monetary value on. Examples of general damages include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional trauma, etc.
- Punitive damages – Courts rarely award punitive damages in negligence lawsuits. The court may only award punitive damages when the defendant is guilty of gross negligence, recklessness, or malpractice, resulting in severe injuries. In such a case, punitive damages are awarded to penalize the at-fault party and deter others from engaging in such behavior.
Texas Comparative Negligence Fault Law
Texas is one of the 32 states that follow a modified comparative negligence doctrine. This law allows the court to hold each party accountable for the percentage of negligence they contributed to the accident. Therefore, if the court determines that you’re partially at fault, it will reduce the settlement amount by the percentage of fault you contributed.
For example, if your case is worth $25,000, and the court determines that you’re 20% at fault, it will reduce the amount by 20%, which means you’ll receive $20,000. Furthermore, the court can further reduce damages in cases where the personal injury victim settles with multiple parties. In such circumstances, the damages will be reduced by the same proportion as the claimant’s percentage of fault.
Who Pays Out for Whiplash Personal Injury Case
If you’re involved in an accident and suffer whiplash injury because of another driver’s recklessness or negligence, the driver’s insurance company pays the settlement. In Texas, each driver is required to take out car insurance with liability coverage for bodily injuries and property damages. The state’s minimum liability coverages include:
- $30,000 for every injured person per incident
- $60,000 total for all injuries in an incident
- $25,000 for property damage per incident
Filing a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer seems straightforward, but it can quickly get complicated. Insurance companies usually do everything possible to pay the lowest possible settlement – preferably nothing.
They typically act quickly to offer you an initial settlement offer, which likely doesn’t come close to covering all the damages you’ve suffered. In addition, an insurance adjuster will often ask questions regarding the severity and extent of personal injuries when you seek medical attention and whether a specific medical treatment is necessary. Finally, they may even argue that you were at least 51% at fault, making it impossible for you to receive financial compensation.
What Happens If Whiplash Goes Untreated?
As with any injury, untreated whiplash may lead to serious health complications. Since whiplash injury strains the neck muscles, tendons, tissues, and ligaments, untreated whiplash can result in spinal misalignment, leading to chronic structural problems from the head to the feet.
Most whiplash victims don’t fully understand the severity of the injury until they seek treatment. While some minor whiplash injuries can be treated using OTC drugs, ice, or rest, others are severe, requiring surgery to repair the spine. The implications of not treating the injury can be more significant for those who sustain serious injuries. They risk suffering from CWS, which could worsen the injury over time.
Experienced Personal injury lawyer for Whiplash in Fort Worth
It’s crucial to partner with a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer. The Heller Law Office is a personal injury law firm and has helped thousands of accident victims recover compensation for their losses. We’ll investigate the facts of the case and build a strong case that proves negligence on the other driver’s part. Our personal injury attorney knows how to deal with insurance companies. We’ll use our legal expertise and experience to ensure you receive the maximum compensation in the personal injury lawsuit. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and case review!