Developed shingles from the stress of having been rear ended...

by Jill
(Austin, Texas)

I was rear ended while stopped. The boy who hit me did not accept responsibility until 4 weeks after the accident. For a month, I was having to chase down his insurance, while scheduling repairs for my car and seeking medical treatment. In the middle of my 4 month treatment, I developed shingles. I haven't been sick in over 15 years.

My doctor told me this was due to stress and the rash followed the exact nerve that was damaged in the accident. What can I expect in settlement for a whiplash claim, which compressed 2 discs and for which I had 4 months of treatment? My doctor bills are right at $3000. Can I claim the shingles since the doctor said it's related to the stress? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Developed shingles from the stress of having been rear ended...":

Jill (Austin, Texas):

When you state, "The boy who hit me did not accept responsibility until 4 weeks after the accident," we must presume you are referring to his insurance company not accepting liability on behalf of their insured until 4 weeks after the accident.

A whiplash injury is a neck, spine or back injury resulting from damage to the muscles or the tendons, and the connective tissue. Compressed disks are another injury associated with whiplash.

Unfortunately, most insurance companies consider whiplash injuries as questionable. Because whiplash injuries are difficult to document on X-ray devices, MRIs, or CT Scans, identifying whiplash is difficult to do. As a result, insurance companies are hesitant to compensate victims in amounts believed by victims to be fair.

If the treatment for your whiplash injuries has been by a physician, the insurance company will give your claim more credibility. However, if your whiplash injuries were treated primarily by a chiropractor, you will have a difficult time convincing the company to offer a settlement in an amount much more that your medical bills.

If your treatment was primarily medical, then it would not be inappropriate to demand a settlement in an amount three times your medical bills. If that's the case, the insurance company will likely reject the demand and offer less.

If your treatment was primarily medical and you can convince the insurance company to settle for twice the amount of your medical bills, or $6,000.00, then you will be doing well.

However, if your bills are primarily chiropractic, demanding twice the amount of your chiropractic bills would be a good start. When you make that demand don't be surprised if the insurance company demurs. If you are able to convince the insurance company to offer one and a half times your chiropractic bills, or $4,500.00, then you will be also be doing well.

Claiming shingles as an injury associated with whiplash, is ...well, let’s say you probably don't want to bring that up. Doing so will result in the insurance company likely ignoring you request for additional compensation.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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