Whiplash, also known as a neck strain or sprain, is one of the most common car-crash injuries, often involving a rear-end collision. There are many factors that make up a whiplash injury claim. Most importantly, each expense must be well-documented, so keep all paperwork associated with your accident as the bills and notices arrive. Once you have selected a dependable Toronto injury lawyer, you’ll need to submit copies of bills, forms, and notices to their office so they can begin to process your claim.
The overall payout on your whiplash claim can vary depending on the severity of your injuries, but in general, you can expect to receive a minimum of $2,500, though payouts can go as high as $10,000 or more in severely debilitating cases. There may be two cases happening simultaneously: one involving the accident payout through your insurance company, and a second tort claim filed against the defendant’s insurance company, depending on the nature of the accident.
Ontario allows a window of two years from the date of the accident for patients to file a claim. The length of time for a whiplash case to settle also depends on the severity as well as whether the defendant fights the claim or pleads no fault. Claims rarely settle in less than a year and typically take closer to two years, sometimes longer, for the final payout.
The most obvious expenses will be if you took a trip to the emergency room, had X-rays taken, or rented or purchased equipment like a neck brace or even a wheelchair, usually for an older victim. Whiplash can also require multiple visits to a chiropractor for manual adjustments or time on a traction table.
In some cases, physical therapy can be recommended by your doctor to help restore full mobility to your neck and upper torso, which will also require multiple visits and stretch out over weeks or months. Simply provide your attorney’s contact information to each health care provider’s office, so they can communicate directly on what the formal billing will be.
To accurately document your absence from work, you may have to fill out paperwork that is signed by a supervisor or member of human resources detailing the total amount of time that was lost due to the accident. This may include the initial accident, the recuperation period, follow-up doctor visits, as well as time off for physical therapy, chiropractor visits, etc. If you will be utilizing short-term disability insurance options, discuss this with your legal team as well.
Pain and suffering
Injuries deemed to be “serious and permanent” might be subject to a “pain and suffering” payout resulting from a successful tort claim against the defendant for wrongdoing. Tort cases are often difficult to win and rarely payout as much as a victim would expect, but these cases are meant to assist with future lost wages and costs incurred for a life-changing injury. The victim will have to prove that they cannot return to work or business in the same capacity as before and demonstrate how their ability to earn a living wage has been impacted.
You’ll simply need to pass contact information between your insurance company and your legal team along with any relevant claim numbers, so they can track expenses for car or property damage. Include formal estimates for work to be done. Ask your legal team about personal items such as watches, jewelry, or other expensive things that may have been damaged in the accident. If these costs are to be included in the claim, you may need to produce original receipts or obtain a written evaluation or appraisal to document the cost of the damaged item.
In the end, the compensation you receive will depend on several factors, but most of all on your ability to stay organized, hire an experienced lawyer, and follow the above best practices.