Whiplash often happens in rear-end car accidents. When your car is stopped or moving slowly, a vehicle that strikes it from behind can unleash tremendous force. This can cause the head to move forward and backward rapidly. This is called whiplash because the sudden snapping of the neck resembles the end of a whip. Whiplash can occur in any car accident and is one of the most common car crash injuries we see.
Roughly three million Americans each year suffer whiplash. Nearly half the people involved in low-speed rear-impact collisions will sustain some type of whiplash injury. Half of the people who suffer whiplash will have chronic pain as a result. If you have sustained whiplash in an accident, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Whiplash Injuries Are a Function of Car Accident Physics
The ironic thing about whiplash is that your injuries may be more severe precisely because your car travels more slowly. The more significant the difference between the speed of the vehicle behind you and your car, the more potential for serious injury because more force is unleashed.
The word whiplash does not adequately convey the seriousness of the medical problem. People (and especially insurance companies) have become conditioned to downplay the severity of this injury. The insurance company has a financial motivation to understate your injuries because it means that they pay less. However, whiplash is much more serious than the name may indicate.
Whiplash Can Cause Head, Neck, and Back Injuries
At the very minimum, you will be left with neck and back injuries after suffering whiplash. Some of these injuries can be long-term and significantly affect your quality of life. Some Whiplash victims may never be the same again and may require one or more surgical procedures. Statistics indicate that roughly one in ten people who suffer whiplash will have some permanent disability.
The most severe cases of whiplash could leave you with a lasting brain injury. When your head snaps forward, your brain can impact your skull. Some whiplash victims may suffer a concussion, while others may sustain permanent damage when the brain slams against the skull. In severe cases of whiplash, both sides of the brain may be injured because they strike the skull.
See a Doctor Immediately After a Car Accident to Check for Whiplash Symptoms
From your standpoint, it is essential to seek medical treatment after you have been involved in a rear-end crash. Even if you think you are fine, you should still seek a medical opinion to rule out any injury. Insurance companies placed the obligation on you to mitigate your damages, meaning you need to see a doctor as soon as you may think that you were injured. In addition, your health will benefit because medical treatment could prevent the injury from worsening.
Some signs of whiplash may get worse in the days and weeks after your accident. You may begin to feel pain and discomfort in the days following the accident and question whether you need medical help. The longer you ignore any potential signs of injury, the worse the damage can become, especially if there is any type of brain injury involved.
Financial Compensation for Whiplash Injuries
You may be entitled to significant financial compensation for your whiplash injury. The challenge that you will face is proving the extent of your injury. Some damage to your head and neck will show up on medical scans. Other injuries may mean constant and unexplained pain that is not always easy to pinpoint.
In that case, you may have difficulty with the insurance company, which will automatically refuse to accept your word for anything. Those cases of whiplash could be much more difficult and require an experienced attorney to present your side of the story.
Even when your injuries are more clear-cut and apparent, obtaining full financial compensation may still require a fight. You are entitled to the full economic cost of your injury, including the medical bills and the wages that you would have earned from being able to work. The more difficult part of your case comes from the non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
These damages depend on your individual and unique situation and how you have suffered from the injury. The insurance company will always deny that you are in constant pain, no matter what you say. Even when liability for the accident is very apparent (as is usually the case in a rear-end crash), the challenge comes when you need to discuss dollars and cents with the insurance company.
You can be certain that an initial settlement offer will fall far short of paying you what you deserve. You will need to negotiate intensively with the insurance company to get what should be legally coming to you. You will need every penny of the settlement to compensate you for your cost and what you have endured.
Call a Wilmington Car Accident Attorney Today
The attorneys at Horton & Mendez fight to earn results for our clients in car accident cases. We have a strong track record because we are determined to protect our client’s legal rights. All you need to do is call us for an initial consultation, and we will explain the next steps.
If you choose to hire us after a car accident involving whiplash, we will get to work on your behalf right away. You can send us a message online or call us at (910) 668-8067.
FAQs About Whiplash From Car Accidents
Is the driver who rear-ended a car automatically responsible for the accident?
Usually, yes. Unless rare circumstances apply, the insurance company will usually presume fault when one car hits another from behind.
Can I recover pain and suffering damages for my whiplash injury?
Absolutely. Physical pain is one of the most prevalent aspects of whiplash, and you are entitled to be paid in full for it.
If I suffered whiplash, how much would a car accident lawyer cost me?
You do not need to pay a personal injury lawyer anything upfront, and you only have an obligation to pay out of the proceeds of your case. You only pay if you win.