A car accident can be a traumatic event and navigating its aftermath can be stressful and confusing. This is especially true when dealing with physical injuries like whiplash and mental trauma like anxiety. Among the many questions racing through your mind, one may be, “How much compensation for whiplash and anxiety can I expect after a car accident?” Below, our Los Angeles car accident attorneys discuss these two common car accident-related conditions.
It is essential to understand that while you may suffer from both whiplash injuries and anxiety after a car accident, they are separate injuries. Therefore, we discuss these injuries and their symptoms separately. We also discuss common factors that may affect how much financial compensation you can seek for your car accident injuries.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a type of soft-tissue neck injury commonly associated with car accidents, particularly rear-end collisions. It occurs when the neck and head are suddenly forced backward and then forward, creating a whipping motion. The name “whiplash” comes from this whip-like movement. This sudden motion can cause the muscles and ligaments in your neck to extend beyond their typical range of motion, leading to a soft tissue injury.
What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash Injuries?
According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash can cause a wide range of symptoms. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to:
- Neck pain
- Loss of range of motion of the neck
- Headaches, typically starting at the base of the skull
- Pain in the shoulders, arms, or upper back
- Tingling in the arms
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory issues
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
In severe cases, accident victims may experience chronic pain over months or even years due to the lasting effects of whiplash.
How Much Compensation Can I Get for a Whiplash Claim After a Car Accident?
There is not a one-size-fits-all answer for how much compensation you may be able to recover for whiplash. Determining the precise compensation for whiplash injury claims can be challenging due to whiplash’s diverse symptoms and how it affects each person differently. Additionally, many other factors, such as accident fault and insurance coverage, can affect your case’s worth.
If you believe someone else’s negligence resulted in your damages, do not hesitate to contact our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers. During a free consultation, we can discuss your situation and potential legal options for seeking car accident compensation. You may be able to obtain financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the accident.
What Is Anxiety?
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), anxiety is characterized by feelings of tension or worried thoughts. Anxiety is a typical stress response, but it may indicate an anxiety disorder when it becomes persistent, excessive, or interferes with daily activities.
What Are the Symptoms of Anxiety?
Anxiety can cause a variety of physical and psychological symptoms. Examples of its physical symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing or shortness of breath
- Trembling or shaking
- Sleep problems
- Gastrointestinal problems
Examples of its psychological anxiety symptoms include, but are not limited to:
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- Feeling nervous or tense
- Difficulty concentrating on anything but the present worry
- Feeling of impending doom or danger
- Avoidance of places or situations that might cause anxiety
- Difficulty controlling worry or fear
In the context of a car accident, individuals might also develop specific phobias or anxiety disorders, such as a fear of driving or riding in vehicles. They may also experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Can You Claim Compensation for Anxiety Resulting From a Car Accident?
Anxiety can manifest in various ways, including general feelings of worry and fear, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or specific phobias such as driving anxiety after a car accident. The impact of these conditions can be severe, affecting a person’s ability to work, engage in social activities, and enjoy life as they did before the accident.
You can claim compensation for anxiety after a car accident. However, claiming compensation for car accident anxiety can be more challenging than for physical injuries for a couple of reasons:
- Proving the injury: Unlike many physical injuries, anxiety and other mental health conditions are not visible, making them harder to prove. You will typically need a diagnosis, evidence, and testimony from a mental health professional who can confirm your anxiety symptoms and that the accident directly caused your condition.
- Quantifying the damage: Determining a dollar amount for anxiety is more subjective than calculating costs like medical bills or lost wages from physical injuries. It usually involves an assessment of the depth of the emotional distress and its impact on your life.
We recommend working with an experienced personal injury attorney who understands car accident anxiety compensation claims and the complexities of these cases. They can guide you through the process and help to ensure that your mental trauma is taken seriously and adequately compensated.
How Much Compensation Can I Get for Anxiety After a Car Accident?
As a part of personal injury claims, anxiety falls under the umbrella of pain and suffering damages. Compensation for anxiety can vary extensively, given the subjective nature of these damages. Our Los Angeles car accident attorneys discuss factors that may affect how much you can recover for anxiety that a car accident caused below.
What Factors Determine the Compensation You Can Recover After a Car Accident?
The compensation you can recover after a car accident depends on many factors. Examples of factors that may influence the value of your car accident claim include, but are not limited to:
- The severity of your injuries: The scope and severity of your injuries and their impact on your life are some of the most significant factors. More severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment or result in long-term or permanent disability will likely result in higher compensation.
- Medical expenses: Medical expenses include a wide range of costs. For example, they may include immediate medical attention following the accident, medical tests, prescription medications, ongoing treatment costs such as physical therapy or chiropractic care, and projected future medical expenses related to your injuries.
- Lost wages: If your injuries cause you to miss work, you should be compensated for your lost wages. Lost wages can also include loss of earning capacity if the injury prevents you from returning to your previous employment or reduces your earning ability.
- Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering refer to the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the injury. It can include compensation for discomfort, depression, anxiety, and decreased quality of life. Calculating pain and suffering is subjective and can vary significantly from case to case.
- Accident fault: Who is at fault for the accident can significantly impact the compensation you can recover. In California, a “comparative fault” rule applies, meaning that the compensation you can recover may be reduced by your percentage of fault for the accident.
- Available insurance coverage: The amount of available insurance coverage can also affect your recovery. If the at-fault party does not have sufficient insurance or assets to cover your damages, it might limit the amount you can recover.
- Evidence: Strong evidence supporting the extent of your injuries and their impact on your life can increase compensation. Evidence may include medical test records, the police report, photographs of the accident scene, testimonies from medical experts, and other documentation.
Remember, every case is unique, and the amount you may be able to recover depends on your case’s unique circumstances. Consider consulting with a Los Angeles car accident attorney from our firm to discuss your situation. We can help you understand your potential legal options and the damages you may be able to recover.
How to Get a Fair Whiplash and Anxiety Settlement After a Car Accident
Here are several steps you can take to increase your chances of getting a fair settlement after a car accident:
- Seek medical attention: Even if you feel okay or your injuries seem minor, seeking medical attention immediately after the accident is critical. Not only is a full medical evaluation important for your health, but it also creates an official record of your injuries. These medical records are strong evidence that your injuries are linked to the car accident. The longer you wait to seek medical attention, the more difficult it is to prove that your injuries directly resulted from the crash.
- Document the accident and its aftermath: Before leaving the accident scene, you should take photos of the crash, visible injuries, and property damages. Include details about the time, place, weather, and road conditions. You should also consider keeping a journal detailing how your injuries affect your daily life, including any activities you can no longer perform and any pain or discomfort you experience.
- Gather and organize records: Collect all relevant documents related to your case, such as medical records, medical treatments and medications receipts, and proof of lost wages. If law enforcement came to the accident scene, get a copy of the police report. The more evidence you can provide, the better your chances of getting a fair settlement.
- Follow your doctor’s medical advice: It is essential to make your doctor’s appointments and follow your doctor’s treatment plan. Skipping appointments or not following through with recommended treatments can give the insurance company a reason to minimize your injuries and the value of your personal injury claim.
- Do not accept the first settlement offer: Insurance companies often start with a low settlement offer. They may offer a settlement before you understand the full extent of your damages, hoping that you will accept it and they can close the case. However, accepting the first offer is generally not in your best interest. We do not recommend signing anything until consulting with an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney. After accepting an offer, you cannot request more money later. Therefore, you want to ensure the car accident settlement covers all past and future expenses related to the accident, so you are not left with out-of-pocket costs.
- Hire an experienced attorney: A personal injury lawyer can help guide you through the claims process and fight for your right to compensation. They can negotiate with the insurance company and help ensure you receive a fair settlement. If the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement, your attorney can fight for you in court.
How Can a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you navigate the entire legal process of your case. Before filing a personal injury claim, your attorney can help you understand your legal rights, explore your legal options, investigate the accident, gather evidence, and determine liability. Then, your attorney can prepare and file your compensation claim.
It is in the insurance company’s best interest to minimize claims payouts or deny claims altogether. An attorney, however, knows how insurance companies try to devalue claims. An experienced lawyer can protect your legal rights and best interests by handling the communication and negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf.
Ultimately, an attorney can handle the legal burden, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. With a car accident lawyer by your side, you increase your chances of receiving the compensation you need and deserve after an accident.
Get a Free Case Evaluation From Our Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorneys
The compensation claim process after a car accident for whiplash and anxiety can be demanding, especially on your own. We recommend working with an experienced attorney who has significant success dealing with insurance companies after car accidents. An attorney can ensure you do not accept a lowball settlement and fight for maximum compensation for your injuries.
At Steers & Associates, we have more than 40 years of combined experience helping individuals like you obtain financial compensation for their injuries and damages. We have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients.
If you have been in a car accident in Los Angeles or Southern California, contact us for a free case evaluation. You may be able to file a whiplash and anxiety claim to recover compensation for your damages. We can help you understand your potential legal options for seeking compensation. Call us today at (800) 824-5416 or submit our online contact form.
Allen Vaysberg practices personal injury law and works tirelessly to defeat the tactics of insurance companies and large corporations who try to deny justice and fair compensation to injured people.