Understanding Auto Accident Whiplash Injuries And The Law
If you are involved in a car accident, and the incident was caused by another driver, then you may want to sue the driver for medical bills and other costs associated with the accident. This is especially true if you have an injury like whiplash. Keep reading to understand what whiplash is and what you need to do if you think you think you have the injury and want to seek compensation.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a neck injury that commonly occurs during an accident where your car rapidly slows down, stops, or jerks forward. This causes quick and aggressive back and forth movements of the head that strain and stress the neck. This type of movement can cause both injuries to the spinal vertebrae as well as the soft tissues around the neck. Some of the worst whiplash cases are seen when your vehicle is hit from behind. When this happens, the vertebrae that sit at the base of the neck are forced forward into an overextended position. The vertebrae towards the base of the skull become overflexed and this results in abnormal curvature of the spinal column.
As the spinal vertebrae shift abruptly, the ligaments, muscles, and the spinal discs can all become damaged and torn. Whiplash does present with a wide range of symptoms. These symptoms include pain, neck stiffness, dizziness, and fatigue.
What Should I Do After An Accident?
The symptoms of whiplash do not typically appear or seem serious until inflammation sets in. This means that you are not likely to feel a great deal of pain right away. In most cases, it takes 6 to 12 hours for you to start feeling pain and stiffness. This is one reason why individuals involved in accidents that cause whiplash rarely seek out medical assistance immediately. Unfortunately, if you wait to seek medical help, it may be hard to prove that the injury was caused by the automobile accident.
While X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs cannot be used to diagnose whiplash, they are often used to rule out a fracture. Once the physician sees that there are no bone breaks, questions will be asked about the accident to determine if the neck is stiff and sore. You may need to wait in the hospital for several hours before pain starts to develop so that a positive diagnosis can be made.
Since you should seek immediate medical attention both for health reasons and to seek future compensation, you should call an ambulance after the automotive accident so you can be examined and transported to the hospital right away.
How Do You Prove A Whiplash Injury?
If you want to seek compensation for your whiplash injury, then it is wise to speak with a car accident attorney, such as Carl L. Britt, Jr., as soon as possible. You will need to provide the attorney with emergency room documentation, imaging test results, and proof that further treatment and evaluations were ordered and followed by you. Since whiplash is a muscular skeletal injury, it is wise to seek out evaluation from an orthopedist. Make sure to do this and provide the evaluation to your attorney. Neck stabilization aids will typically need to be used. You will also need to undergo physical therapy and possibly chiropractic care. Make sure to go through all suggested treatments and go to all physician appointments. This will help to bolster your legal case and show that your injury was a serious one that was treated by competent physicians.
You will need to provide your lawyer with medical bills as well as figures for lost wages. In many cases, your lawyer will add these expenses together and multiply them by 5. This figure will be used to start settlement negotiations with the at fault driver's insurance company. A final negotiated insurance settlement offer will likely be between about 1.5 and 3 times your actual costs. You will have the option of taking this offer or seeking increased compensation in court.