Whiplash injuries are often associated with minor accidents — for example, a low-speed car collision, or even being jostled around on a roller coaster — but serious whiplash injuries can cause real, lifelong problems.
In severe cases, whiplash injuries may impact the victim’s ability to work, and their overall quality-of-life, giving rise to losses that are compensable under the law.
If you’ve suffered whiplash in a car accident (or some other accident), a personal injury attorney may be able to secure compensation on your behalf. It’s important that you seek legal representation early, so that your case can be handled in a timely and effective manner.
Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, our network includes attorneys who have extensive experience handling personal disputes, some of which involve whiplash injuries. We encourage you to contact us to get connected today.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is an injury to neck that is caused by rapid movement — it may occur when the head “whips” back-and-forth, leading to hyperextension and hyperflexion of the neck. Depending on the severity of the whiplash, this can tear your ligaments, and damage your tendons and muscles.
In minor cases, whiplash injuries will heal in a matter of days or weeks. This healing process can be accelerated by physical therapy or medication for pain management. If the whiplash injury is more severe, however, the physical damage can lead to months or even years of medical hardship, including chronic, daily pain.
Compensation for Whiplash Injuries
Whiplash injuries are usually unexpected. As such, those who suffer a serious whiplash injury may not be financially prepared to respond to the consequences.
For example, a construction worker may not have the savings to sustain themselves after losing their job. This sort of dynamic can put whiplash injury victims in a vulnerable position.
Suing the defendant(s) responsible for the whiplash injury is an excellent option to maximize recovery. After all, the defendant may be liable for significant damages, and compensation can help.
Experienced whiplash lawyers may pursue compensation based on a number of different aspects:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Property loss
- Punitive damages
- And more
There’s no single “best” way to approach a personal injury case, as every case has different facts.
The more severe the case, however, the more likely it is that your attorney will be able to sue to secure a large damage award, and strong evidence helps secure the “win.” That’s why gathering accident documentation is so important: medical records, video and photo evidence, and more. Skilled whiplash injury lawyers prepare for every phase of the lawsuit.
Symptoms of a Whiplash Injury
Whiplash can be accompanied by many different symptoms, depending on the onset of the injury (and its severity). Most symptoms arise within hours to days of the inciting incident.
The most common symptoms include:
- Pain and stiffness in the neck
- Pain while moving the neck
- Limited range of motion in the head and neck
- Severe or chronic headaches
- Headaches starting at the base of the skull
- Fatigue and dizziness
- Numbness and tingling in the neck and upper extremities
Whiplash may also involve less common symptoms, such as:
- Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears
- Problems falling asleep or staying asleep
- Blurry vision
- Trouble concentrating
- Depression and anxiety
Any symptoms related to whiplash should be assessed be a doctor. Only a proper examination, including MRIs or CT scans if necessary, can help determine the extent of injury as well as the treatment required.
Symptoms usually go away within a few weeks. However, it’s possible for the effects of whiplash to persist for months or years, even with advanced medical treatment. If your symptoms persist, then your case may be valued more highly — to prove that the symptoms have persisted, you’ll want to obtain documented medical evidence from your treating physician.
What to Do After a Whiplash Injury
Whiplash injuries can be disorienting, to say the least.
After the accident, your first instinct may be to go home, lie down, and try to “sleep off” any discomfort. This is a mistake — instead, you’ll want to take steps to preserve your legal rights!
Act quickly and decisively when facing any kind of injury, whiplash included.
Even if your injuries are minor, go through the process of seeking medical attention and speaking with law enforcement about the accident. It’s best to prepare for every possible outcome.
So, what steps should you take?
Seek Medical Attention Early
Securing medical attention is essential.
Even if you are not suffering from pain or any other symptoms, going to a doctor and getting all necessary tests done can be beneficial. Only a medical professional can properly evaluate your injuries and diagnose whiplash. For example, you may have sustained soft tissue damage that is not “obvious” in the initial few days after the accident.
Early treatment can prevent long-term problems, like chronic neck pain or partial disability, and reduce the need for complex treatment down the line (i.e., surgery).
Failure to seek medical attention early can negatively impact your legal case, too. The defendant may argue that your failure to seek medical attention early is proof that the injuries are not serious. This can make it more difficult for you to win the lawsuit. If you plan to sue for compensation, moving quickly can be the difference between success and failure.
Document All Symptoms
As soon as an accident occurs, pay close attention to your injuries. Document all your symptoms: what you’re feeling, and how severe they are. Take pictures, too. These can be introduced into evidence in your lawsuit.
If you need to take time off of work, do so. If you need to see a medical specialist, or receive any kind of medical care, document this as well. All documentation can be used to bolster a case in court or convince a doctor that further treatment is needed.
Contact a Whiplash Lawyer
Even if you’re not sure that you want to sue, it’s in your best interest to contact a whiplash lawyer for guidance. Consultation is free, and comes with no obligation to hire the attorney. At the very least, consultation will give you a better sense of whether you should move forward with your case.
If you’re suffering from a whiplash injury that was caused by someone else’s negligent acts, we encourage you to consult a qualified whiplash lawyer who can provide assistance.