Whiplash Injury

The alarm clock rings and you jump out of bed ready for the day ahead of you. You brush your teeth, take a shower, eat some breakfast and find yourself out the door for what seems to be yet another predictable day heading to work.

As you begin your commute and find the right radio station, that makes that drive oh so much easier it begins to rain, just enough for the need to turn on your wipers at their slowest speed. As you look up ahead you notice traffic is at a dead stand still due to construction in the area and you begin to stop.

Meanwhile, behind you 100ft back is a person dealing with all the same obstacles that you are plus some others. Perhaps they are on the phone, putting on makeup, running late for work or eating breakfast. And because of all these obstacles they don’t happen to notice that you’ve come to a complete stop ahead of them. At the last moment they slam on their breaks…..but it’s too late.

The strike from the force of their car carries the energy from the crash thru every molecule of you and your vehicle. Because you are wearing your seatbelt your body is restrained but your head and  neck are not. As a result both your head and neck under go immediate and violent trauma contorting your cervical spine into an S shape as opposed to it’s normal C-shape.

Under no-fault of your own, you have now sustained a whiplash injury. Predictablilty has gone by the wayside and in it’s place, the potential for what could be a lifetime of health problems.

10 Tips for Finding the Right Personal Injury Attorney

Unfortunately you’ve suffered an injury sustained by the hands of another on the road. You’re possibly showing signs of whiplash injury or maybe even worse and your doctors have you on a steady dosage of pain meds. It’s time to seek the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney or claim solicitor but where do you begin. Let these 10 tips for finding the right personal injury attorney or claim solicitor  guide you to resolution.

1. Realize that it’s time to contact an attorney.

Auto accident injuries vary dramatically. They run from minor injuries to those that are extremely serious. Should you believe that your injuries warrant legal action it is important to contact a personal injury attorney or claim solicitor as soon as possible. The longer that you wait, the more difficult it becomes to take the case to trail and win. The reason for this is that witnesses and evidence from the scene of the accident become harder to find as time moves forward, so it is imperative to realize your need and act upon it.

2. Find a law firm that specializes in cases like yours.

Since you’ve decide to acquire an attorney or claim solicitor, it’s important the you find the right one. For that reason it is important to search out an attorney that’s experienced in dealing with the specific issues related to your case. For instance, if you are suffering from whiplash related injuries it would be best to seek out an attorney who has handled cases related to spinal cord injury.

3.  Get referrals.

The best place to get referrals is from your family and friends. Who better to seek unbiased opinions from than the trusted people you surround yourself with. Additionally, many people have used various specialized attorneys at one time or another. An example of this would be an attorney who’s prepared a will for your family. Although he or she is not qualified to take on your case, they more that likely know of a professional colleague that is, ask around.

4.  Do research outside of advertising.

There are no doubt reliable and successful attorneys that pay big money for advertising , while others don’t spend a penny on marketing. It’s best as a consumer not to make decisions simply based on clever advertising. Rather, research for a reputable attorney’s records on online via the website for your state or local bar association as well as contacting a lawyer referral service operated by a local or state bar association. The American Bar Association’s public service website,www.findlegalhelp.org, features  great advice about finding a personal injury attorney.

5.  Know which attorney will oversee your case.

Very often a firm’s lead attorney of claim solicitor may not be handling many of the firms cases, particularly smaller ones. Therefore, it is important that a client meet with the attorney that will be assigned to their case so there are no surprises. When it’s time for your trial, making sure you have the lawyer of your choice is important to your team’s success.

6.   Interview the attorney.

Potential attorneys should be asked a wide array of questions in an effort to learn more about them such as whether or not there skills and experiences match your cases personal needs. It’s also important to learn a little bit about the attorney themselves in order to help assess if their personalities are in line with yours as you’ll be spending a lot of time communicating with them.  Also, make sure to ask for references when obtaining an attorney.

7.  Find out if the attorney leans towards settlements over trials.

Ask how many cases the attorney takes to trial each year verses how many he or she settles out of court as this can inevitably have a factor on how much return you have on your claim.

8. Find out if the attorney is a sole practitioner or has a large staff.

Both types of firms have their pros and cons. Some clients prefer larger firms while others seek out sole practitioners. The argument for larger firms is that customer’s needs are easily met do to the shear number of staff working at the practice. Where as, sole practitioners say they are devoted to their clienteles needs on an individual basis, the quality versus quantity mentality.

9. Know the cost  upfront.

After an injury, auto insurance companies won’t cover the cost associated with hiring an attorney to file a lawsuit. Typically, attorneys or claim solicitors who handle personal injury cases do so on the basis of contingency. Meaning that the attorney doesn’t get paid unless their client wins. However, some lawyers do require upfront cost regardless of a loss. This is why it is critical as a consumer that you’re clear about the cost from the beginning. Should you win your case, in most instances, your lawyer will collect roughly one-third of the personal injury settlement, although this can vary by location.

10. Be skeptical of promises.

If a personal injury attorney is promising you tons of money, it’s best to be skeptical. A professional attorney will end up spending a good amount of time investigating your case and in doing so won’t make predictions about your settlement or payout.

Filing a Successful Whiplash Injury Claim

Every whiplash injury claim must be documented thoroughly in order for the claim to be successful. For this reason it is important that the claimant’s doctor documents all symptoms as well as the treatment provided. All receipts pertaining to treatment, documentation regarding lost wages and a diary documenting all emotional and physical discomforts and pains during and after treatment should be made available as part of the claim file. In order to ensure that proper procedures are followed when filing documentation, its vital to hire a competent attorney that is seasoned in the field.

Medical Receipts

The claimant should keep all receipts regarding treatment of the whiplash. This includes receipts for any doctor’s visits, medications, medical equipment (crutches, whiplash collar, etc.) and co-payments. This documentation will provide clarity as to the severeness of the injury.

Lost Wage

All time taken off from employment should be thoroughly documented by the claimant. Not only does this show the level of injuries sustained but it also helps in calculating the monetary amount needed for reimbursement for pain and suffering. Typically pain and suffering is calculated as to three times the loss incurred after the accident. In other words, if the claimant lost £3,000 in wages and incurred £5,000 in medical expenses, they can receive at least £24,000 (£3,000 + £5,000 = £8,000 x 3) in pain and suffering.

Keeping a Emotional and Physical Diary

Keeping a diary and documenting all pertinent information will serve as physical proof that the amount asked for pain and suffering is warranted. The diary should reflect any actions taken to alleviate the emotional and physical pain (doctor visits, amount of medications and times taken per day) and any occurrences of pain (unable to walk to the car, needed help to visit the bathroom, etc.). These events will factor in the amount of compensation the claimant receives.

It is best to receive medical attention and legal advice as soon as possible after any accident to ensure proper procedures are followed for any whiplash injury claim.

Hiring a Attorney

Hiring an attorney for the claimant’s whiplash injury claim helps to insure that correct procedures  for the claim process are followed. This includes filing a police report, an accident report with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the eventual lawsuit. The attorney should be experienced in both personal injury and auto accident cases. They will provide specialized doctors to examine the accident victim who will document the injuries thoroughly. They also help advise against answering questions or speaking to any insurance representative or opposing attorneys.

The attorney actually becomes the accident victim’s spokesperson. This means that all contact with the accident victim will be through them. This prevents any information or admissions of the accident victim being used against them and their whiplash injury claim in court. Most often the insurance companies offer minimal payments quickly in the hopes of reducing their losses. These offers don’t necessarily properly reflect true losses sustained by the accident victim.