Getting injured in a car crash, especially a rear-end collision, often means that you are suffering from a whiplash injury. As the Mayo Clinic explains, whiplash is a neck injury that is common in motor vehicle accidents.
It is caused by a “forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.” Most frequently, whiplash occurs in rear-end auto accidents, but it is a traumatic injury that can occur in other types of auto collisions and accidents, as well.
If you sustained a neck injury and were diagnosed with whiplash, you are likely wondering whether you may be eligible to receive a settlement.
What is the average settlement payout for a whiplash injury? The answer to that question varies on a number of different factors. Whiplash injury settlement payouts can range from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars.
What Losses Did You Sustain in Your Whiplash Injury?
One of the most important factors in determining whiplash injury compensation amounts is the type and amount of losses you sustained as a result of the injury.
For example, did you need to visit the doctor just once, or was your injury so severe that you needed rehabilitative therapy in addition to being unable to work? The following are the types of losses that your car accident lawyer will take into account when negotiating an average settlement for whiplash in your case:
- Hospital bills
- Follow-up costs of doctor’s visits
- Costs of rehabilitative therapy
- Prescription medicine costs
- Lost wages
- Future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
The losses described above include both economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses are those for which there is a specific dollar figure such as the amount paid on a bill for a doctor’s visit. Non-economic losses, differently, do not have an object dollar figure. It is often difficult, for example, to put a price tag on a person’s pain and suffering.
Accordingly, non-economic damages can vary much more widely than economic damages. Both types of damages are designed to compensate a victim for losses and are known as “compensatory damages.”
When you are negotiating a settlement amount, the other side will take into account the likely compensatory damages you would be awarded if the case goes to court and is decided by a judge or jury.
Negotiating a Total Whiplash Settlement Amount
Most people who suffer whiplash injuries in car accidents will recover in a few weeks’ time. However, some people end up with long-term consequences from the injury, such as chronic neck pain, headaches, and even arm pain or numbness. Determining a total amount for your whiplash injury will require consideration of some of the following:
- Whether you have (or will) recover fully from your whiplash injury
- Costs already paid for medical bills and other medical treatment
- Lost wages due to your inability to work, as well as future lost wages if you are not expected to recover for a period of time or if you are expected to experience a permanent or partial disability
- Pain and suffering you already have experienced and are likely to experience in the future
- Loss of enjoyment of life as a result of the injury, and future loss of enjoyment of life
Under Georgia law, plaintiffs in car accidents can seek punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are not designed to compensate an injured party for his or her losses.
Instead, punitive damages are designed to “penalize, punish, or deter a defendant.” This type of damage award also is known as “vindictive damages” or “exemplary damages.”
If the other side knows that you may be eligible to receive punitive damages because the responsible driver’s behavior showed willful misconduct or other egregious behavior, a whiplash settlement amount might increase.
Contact a Georgia Whiplash Injury Lawyer
If you need assistance negotiating a whiplash payout, you should speak with a Georgia whiplash injury attorney about your case. We have years of experience helping clients with a wide variety of car accident claims and insurance settlements, and we can help you determine the amount you deserve for your injuries. Contact Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C. for more information and to set up a free consultation.