Whiplash is a serious injury that can impede a car accident victim’s quality of life. The recovery process may be slow and prevent the person from working or participating in daily activities. For these reasons, it’s important for accident victims to know the average payout for whiplash to be sure they’re getting fair compensation for their injuries.

Of course, your case may be more or less than average. However, knowing what’s typical can give you a guideline for preparing your case and evaluating any settlement offers. Our Colorado car accident lawyers explain the average settlement for whiplash.


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What Is the Average Settlement Payout for Whiplash Injury?

The average settlement for a whiplash injury can vary based on the severity of the injury, the state where it occurred, and other factors. Generally speaking, the typical car accident settlement amounts for whiplash claims settle anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on a variety of circumstances.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury to the soft tissue in the neck and upper back caused by quick, abrupt movements of the head. 

How long does whiplash last?

The duration of a whiplash injury can vary greatly from one person to the next. In mild cases, symptoms may resolve within days or weeks without the need for further medical intervention beyond the initial diagnosis. In contrast, more severe cases can result in long-term pain and disability that require ongoing care.

What are the long-term effects of chronic whiplash?

Long-term effects of chronic whiplash can include persistent pain, reduced range of motion, muscle weakness or spasms, and impaired coordination. Chronic neck pain from whiplash can also lead to depression, sleep disturbances, impaired concentration, and anxiety. In severe cases where the injury is not treated properly, surgery may be required to restore normal function and mobility.

How long does it take to feel pain from whiplash?

The onset of pain from whiplash can vary depending on individual factors, but generally speaking, symptoms may begin to show up within the first 12 to 24 hours after the injury.

What are the common symptoms of whiplash?

Common symptoms may include:

  • Neck pain
  • Tightness and stiffness
  • Shoulder pain 
  • Arm pain
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision

More severe injuries can involve spine injury and brain injury that could have long-term impacts on one’s future. 

How do I know if I have whiplash?

If you have been involved in a car accident, repetitive trauma, slip and fall incident, or another type of physical trauma where your neck was jolted, it is important to visit your doctor. You should also see your doctor if you notice any whiplash symptoms. A thorough exam can help determine if you are suffering from whiplash and what treatment options are best for your specific situation.

After a whiplash injury, what should I do?

  • Seek medical attention: Immediately following the accident, seek medical assessment and treatment for your whiplash injury. Ignoring or failing to report any discomfort can lead to more serious long-term problems. 
  • Consult with a personal injury lawyer: Consult with a personal injury lawyer to determine if you have a legal avenue to pursue an injury claim against the responsible party. They will also provide guidance through the entire process.
  • Follow your treatment plan: Adhere strictly to the treatment plan outlined by your healthcare provider to ensure a complete recovery from a whiplash injury. This typically includes physical therapy, medication, chiropractic care, rest, ice, or heat treatments depending upon the severity of the whiplash symptoms. 
  • Keep a record of all correspondences: Be sure to keep track of all contacts, which include medical visits and other associated correspondences regarding your claim, including insurance paperwork, police reports, photographs, and any communications you have with witnesses involved in the incident that caused your whiplash injury.
  • Document expenses incurred and lost income due to restrictions: Make notes about any financial losses experienced as a result of this accident, such as medical costs, prescription costs, physical therapy costs, and lost wages due to activity restrictions while recovering from this condition. Doing so is beneficial when filing an insurance claim or court claim later down the road.
  • Monitor symptoms and progress: Pay attention to your longer-term progress. Does your range of motion hold up over extended periods? Is there evidence of pain felt from movement? Have you been able to reach any physical therapy recovery goals? Will surgery be required to help aid the healing process? 

I’ve gotten whiplash in an accident, can I be compensated?

Whether or not you can be compensated for your whiplash injury will depend on several factors, such as the type of accident and who was responsible for causing it. In some cases, an insurance claim may be able to provide compensation for medical bills and other costs incurred related to the injury. If another’s negligence caused the accident, a personal injury lawsuit is also an option available to receive further compensation.

How do you know what a whiplash case is worth?

The value of a whiplash case depends on several factors, such as the severity of the injury and any medical expenses associated with it. Other considerations include lost wages due to the injury, pain and suffering endured from it, and general damage to quality of life. 

When we evaluate what a whiplash case is worth, it’s important to remember this type of injury may change over time. The full symptoms may not settle in until some time after the accident. Similarly, neck injuries can be slow to heal. As we evaluate your case and the compensation that you deserve, it’s important to be mindful that injuries may not manifest right away or as expected. Our lawyers can help you track and document injuries as part of your legal claim.

How do I calculate potential settlement amounts?

The best way to calculate potential settlement amounts is by consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer. They can use their knowledge and expertise of the law, court awards in similar cases, applicable insurance policies, and other factors to help determine a fair settlement amount.

For example, to calculate the amount of your whiplash settlement, we begin by totaling your financial losses from the car accident. Next, we add up all of your medical bills, lost income from the time that you’re recuperating, and property damages. Then, we add an additional amount to compensate you for pain and suffering. In a whiplash settlement case, 1.5 is a typical multiplier to use for your case. The resulting amount is a rough guide as to the value of your settlement amount.

Is whiplash common in rear-end car accidents?

Yes, whiplash injuries are common in rear-end collisions as they often involve forceful jerking motions of the neck and head. It is also possible to experience whiplash from more minor collisions if there was a sudden jolt or movement involved.

Rear-end car accidents accounted for 32.5% of all crashes in 2019, with about 1.7 million whiplash injuries reported each year. Over half of these injuries occur as a result of impact speeds under 12 miles per hour. In addition, almost 60% of all permanent impairment claims are for minor neck injuries

What makes a whiplash settlement more or less than average?

Some settlements are more than average and, of course, some are less. Factors that can make a whiplash settlement more or less than average include:

  • The severity of the injury
  • The potential for future medical expenses and loss of wages due to permanent disability
  • One’s health and ability to work before and after the accident
  • Existing contributory factors, such as a pre-existing neck condition
  • Evidence supporting your claim, like documented medical records
  • Whether an insurance company is involved in the case
  • How much liability is attributed to each party involved in the accident
  • Applicable Colorado state laws regarding lawsuits against third parties or companies responsible for any damages caused by negligence or recklessness related to accidents involving whiplash injuries

Claims that are above average are more severe. In addition, the victim must take the steps to thoroughly pursue the case. It can be tempting to resolve a case too quickly, and it’s true that resolving a case in a timely manner is important. However, the first offer isn’t necessarily the best result. Our lawyers can help you build your claim and evaluate when to accept an offer and when to continue pursuing the case.

How Is a Settlement for Whiplash Determined in Colorado?

In Colorado, the settlement for a whiplash injury is usually determined based on several factors, such as:

  • The amount of medical bills incurred
  • Estimated future expenses related to care
  • Lost wages due to time away from work required for recovery or medical appointments
  • Pain and suffering endured by the claimant
  • Physical disability resulting from the injury
  • The duration of symptoms experienced
  • The likelihood that whiplash will become a chronic condition
  • The severity of strain and damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons
  • Pain in the neck, back, and lower body
  • The extent of the limitation of movement
  • Limitations on life activity
  • Whether the injuries interfere with the ability to work
  • Documentation of injuries and their connection to the accident
  • The time it takes for symptoms to heal
  • Permanent and long-term damages
  • Questions of shared fault and other legal factors
  • Other damages include economic, non-economic, and property damage
  • Insurance policies and the ability of the victim to collect damages from the defendant
  • Laws that apply to the case

Reaching a settlement for whiplash is part of the car accident claim process. The amount of compensation you receive reflects the sum total of your damages. Whiplash is one component of the compensation that you may receive for your legal claim. 

As such, it is impossible to know how much you will receive for whiplash based on someone else’s case. Under Colorado law, each person may receive compensation for their actual damages. The legal system ensures that accident victims are compensated for their losses, including physical injuries.

How do insurance companies stall whiplash claims?

Insurance companies may stall whiplash claims by delaying a decision to accept or deny the claim. Initially, they will undervalue the amount of compensation owed in an attempt to get the person to accept the lower amount.

They will also ask for medical records and other documentation to support the claim, causing further delays. Additionally, they will often subject the claimant to multiple examinations with their healthcare providers, also known as Independent Medical Examination, which can delay the process further by weeks or months. 

Furthermore, insurance companies will sometimes use tactics — such as providing inaccurate information about relevant laws pertaining to the case — to discourage claimants from pursuing legal action against them. They can also attempt to get the claimant to admit partial fault to be able to use comparative negligence and further reduce the amount of compensation received. 

How do I get a fair settlement?

In order to get a fair settlement for your whiplash claim, it is essential to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer. They can assess the details of your case and determine what factors may influence the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive. 

An attorney will also negotiate on your behalf with insurance companies or other parties involved in the case to ensure you are receiving a just outcome that fully accounts for all costs associated with medical bills, lost wages due to missed time from work, and any pain and suffering endured as a result of the accident causing the whiplash injuries.

Getting a fair settlement is a result of taking the right steps to document your damages and pursue your case. Our Colorado car accident lawyers help victims get settlements that reflect their true losses. We can guide you through all the steps involved in getting a fair settlement, including:

  • Documenting that you have suffered from severe neck strain and gathering the medical evidence
  • Submitting medical evidence like X-rays, scans, MRIs, and testimony from doctors and other healthcare providers
  • Keeping a diary of treatment, symptoms, and the ways that the injury has impacted your life
  • Identifying costs of medical treatment. Future costs may be included, but you must value future damages and ask for them.
  • Establishing a pattern of treatment and healing
  • Valuing the pain and suffering associated with the accident to ensure that you receive the correct amount
  • Including whiplash as one element in your claim; making a complete claim
  • Identifying legal issues and minimizing their impact on your claim
  • Negotiating your settlement and advising you as you make decisions throughout the claim

To get the settlement you deserve, you need medical proof and a legal personal injury claim. Let our experienced car accident lawyers pursue compensation on your behalf to ensure that you are justly compensated.

How long does a whiplash settlement take?

The amount of time it takes to receive a formal settlement offer for your whiplash claim can vary depending on the circumstances and complexity of the case. Generally speaking, some claims can take weeks or months to settle, while more complex claims may require a year or longer before being resolved. Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer can often help expedite this process so that you are able to receive compensation sooner rather than later.

Hire Colorado’s premier personal injury lawyer

At Bachus & Schanker, we understand what it is like dealing with whiplash and other injuries from a car accident caused by a negligent driver. Kyle Bachus went through the tragic loss of his mother and can relate to what his clients are going through. 

In addition, our law firm has our own specially assembled, independent group of Victim Advocates who work with our Elite Ligitagation Group to provide support in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases. They are available to our clients to provide support and assistance through their difficult times. 

It is our goal for you to receive maximum compensation for your injuries. Contact our Colorado car accident lawyers today for a free case evaluation and consultation.

Speak to one of our personal injury lawyers now to find out your legal rights and potential compensation.


Bieber, C. (2022). Rear-End Collisions: Fault & Compensation.

Colorado Negligence Laws. (2022).

Crash Facts/Whiplash Statistics. (2023).

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Written and Legally Reviewed By: Kyle Bachus

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Kyle is a member of the Colorado and Florida Bar associations and has served on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association for more than twenty years in total. Over the years, Kyle has achieved justice for many clients. He has served on numerous committees and repeatedly won recognition from his peers at both the state and national level. He is proud of the role he has played in the passage of state and national legislation to protect consumers and is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer.