Is Whiplash Covered by Car Insurance?

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Neck pain (Photo: @DimaBerlin via Twenty20)
When you’re involved in a car accident, there’s always a chance you may suffer from whiplash. Whiplash is a neck injury that commonly occurs in car accidents because of the sudden and jerking movement of your head caused by the impact. Severely sprained, your neck injury can cause discomfort, limit activities, and may involve a long recovery time. If you suffer from whiplash, you may wonder if it’s covered by your car insurance.

Medical evidence

In order for you or another person to make a claim for a whiplash injury, you must have medical evidence. No matter if you’re the driver or passenger involved, you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible or immediately when symptoms arise.
Your doctor will assess your injuries, offer diagnosis, and recommend medical care. Diagnostic tests may include imaging tests such as an X-ray or MRI. Once you make a claim, your insurance company will have another independent doctor assess your injury to verify if the claim is valid.
Symptoms of whiplash include:
  • Neck pain
  • Headache
  • Pain with movement
  • Range of motion loss
  • Tinnitus (ringing in ears)
  • Numbness in extremities
  • Muscle tendernous
  • Lightheadedness and dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Mood changes
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Memory problems

Fraudulent claims

Whiplash injury is one of the most common fraudulent claims made in car accidents. In fact, almost half of all personal injury auto claims involve whiplash. Because it can be hard to pinpoint the exact area of injury in these cases, and pain is usually the most prevalent symptom, it can be hard to disprove a claim.

Investigation

If you think you’ve suffered from whiplash and another party is involved, let your insurance company do the heavy lifting. In other words, make your claim through your insurance coverage and then let them handle the rest. Once all the investigatory work is done, a decision will be made on who is at fault and which insurance will pay for the damage and injuries.

Settlement

While whiplash is covered by car insurance, the amount of settlement can differ significantly from one accident to the next. Because this type of injury is often subject to fraudulent claims, insurance companies strive to make the smallest payout as possible. Sometimes the settlement is so low, it doesn’t even cover the cost of all the medical expenses. Because the healing process varies amongst the injured, the amount of time it takes to recover can be anywhere from a few weeks to several years.

Severity of injury

The severity of a whiplash injury can affect how long it takes to investigate the accident and claim, come to a decision on fault, and determine eligibility for settlement. When an injury like this is severe, there is typically loss of wages, less functionality, limited activity, and constant pain, as well as growing medical bills. Because of the complexity of the claim, attorneys often get involved. This can drastically affect the payout, and if you’re found at fault, may lead to higher insurance rates and even loss of coverage.
Even though whiplash is covered by car insurance, it is one of the most difficult to prove. Treatment can be very short and fairly simple or drawn out and extensive. The road to recovery can include physical therapy, medications, chiropractic care, and other techniques. Coming to an amicable settlement can be challenging, but your insurance will fight for your best interest.