It is impossible to pinpoint an average settlement payment for a whiplash injury because so many variables determine the value of each case.
A whiplash settlement can amount to anything from a few thousand dollars for a minor neck injury to millions of dollars for a severe, debilitating injury requiring long-term medical treatment.
You are probably wondering where your settlement will fall within that range. While there is no way to know for sure, the following sections explain the process of valuing whiplash injuries and the factors that determine the value of your case.
What Factors Might Affect My Case’s Value?
Several factors affect what you might be able to expect for a whiplash injury settlement. These factors might include:
Severity and Duration of Your Whiplash Injury
As a general rule, the worse your injury is, the more compensation you will receive for it. Whiplash can range from a minor inconvenience to a debilitating condition. The time it takes you to recover can also vary greatly. A more severe injury that takes longer to recover often results in higher medical bills, more time away from work, and greater pain and suffering. All these things factor into your settlement amount.
Type and Extent of Medical Treatment
In most personal injury cases, medical expenses comprise a big part of the settlement payout. Anyone who has spent time in a hospital or undergone surgery knows the bills are never cheap.
That is why the type and extent of your medical treatment affects the amount of your payout. If you require surgery, extended hospitalization, or extensive treatment from physicians, you are more likely to get a higher payout.
If, on the other hand, you can easily treat your whiplash injury with physical or chiropractic care alone, you will likely recover less.
Lost Wages and Reduced Earning Capacity
You also deserve compensation for your lost wages and reduced earning capacity. Lost wages refer to the work you have to miss while recovering from your injuries.
Reduced earning capacity means that your injury compromised your ability to continue to work and earn a living. Once again, the amount of work you must miss and the extent of your loss of earning capacity affects the value of your settlement payout.
An injury victim who becomes permanently disabled and can no longer work might conceivably win millions of dollars here, whereas a person with a minor issue who only misses a few weeks of work would get a lower amount.
Your age and how much you make also influences the amount you might receive. Consider the following examples:
Person A is 25 years old and makes $50,000 a year. His whiplash injury requires he take a lesser-paying job.
Person B is 60 years old and makes $45,000 a year. His whiplash injury also requires he take a lesser-paying job.
Person A will likely recover more because he has more working years ahead of him and he also makes more per year.
Pain and Suffering
The most subjective damages from a whiplash injury are for pain and suffering. You want an aggressive and knowledgeable lawyer representing you who can demonstrate the extent to which your pain and suffering have affected your life.
What you recover for pain and suffering depends on various factors including how much your injury affected you and your economic damages (e.g., medical bills, lost wages, etc.) Every jury and every negotiation is different, which makes it especially difficult even to ballpark a figure for pain and suffering.
Whether You Were At-Fault
Your contribution to the accident or your injuries can have a big effect on what you can expect to recover.
Georgia operates under comparative fault laws which hold that you can recover compensation for an injury as long as you were 49 percent or less at fault for it. However, your percentage of fault will decrease your settlement.
For example, you suffered whiplash after a distracted driver rear-ended you. Because the other driver was not paying attention, he is primarily at-fault. However, one of your brake lights was out, so the insurer found you 10 percent at-fault. You would be able to recover 90 percent of your demand. If your demand was $10,000, you would be able to recover $9,000.
Your Pre-Existing Conditions
A pre-existing condition, such as an old neck injury, can lower your settlement amount or even make it impossible for you to recover compensation.
Call Us Today to Find Out How Much Your Whiplash Injury Could Be Worth
As you can see, many factors determine your settlement payout in a whiplash injury case. At S. Burke Law, we are uniquely qualified to fight accident cases. That is because our lead attorney and founder used to work for an insurance company as an adjuster; thus, she can anticipate and counter every tactic the insurer might use to reduce or deny your accident claim.
Ready to get started? Call us today for a free consultation: 404-842-7838.