Charlottesville Whiplash Injury Lawyer
Whiplash is a widely misunderstood medical condition. Some people see car accident victims with a neck brace and think that they are exaggerating their injury. However, whiplash is a very painful condition that can limit mobility and disrupt a person’s life. If you were recently involved in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, you might be able to pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The Charlottesville, Virginia whiplash injury lawyers from Kendall Law Firm can review your situation during a free case review. Contact us today to get started.
What Is a Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash is an injury to the neck that is painful and can sometimes cause permanent disability. Whiplash is often called hyperextension, which is a sharp backward motion, or hyperflexion, which is a sharp forward motion. The injury affects the soft tissue surrounding the cervical spine. It is estimated that approximately three million people suffer from whiplash injuries each year, the majority caused by car accidents.
What Causes Whiplash?
Whiplash occurs when a person’s head is suddenly thrust forward and backward while the rest of their body remains in the same position. Sudden acceleration and deceleration may force the head to whip back and forth, such as in a car wreck, resembling the cracking of a whip. This violent motion stretches soft tissues in the neck, leading to injury. Some whiplash injuries cause nerve damage.
Common causes of whiplash injuries include:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Slips and falls
- Pedestrian accidents
Rear-end car crashes are a leading cause of whiplash injuries. In this type of accident, the occupant in the lead vehicle feels their neck forced forward once they are hit from behind. Their seat belt keeps the rest of their body from moving during the collision, so the head and neck are moving at a faster rate of speed than the rest of the body.
Whiplash Injury Symptoms
In some cases, whiplash injuries may be immediately noticeable. Victims may suffer severe and stabbing pain. The Mayo Clinic reports that many symptoms may not appear immediately after an accident. Symptoms to look out for include:
- Stiffness in the neck, arms, and shoulders
- Tingling or numbness that radiates to the arms and hands
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Pain that gets worse when moving the neck
- Tightness in the neck or upper back muscles
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering
- Problems sleeping
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the years
- Problems swallowing and/or chewing
Many accident victims recover from whiplash injuries within a few weeks or months. However, some accident victims continue to experience symptoms that last longer than six months. This is a condition known as chronic whiplash. Chronic whiplash is associated with serious car, truck, or motorcycle accidents.
Chronic whiplash can cause complications that seriously impede the victim’s life and ability to earn a living. It can also cause significant pain and discomfort, decreasing the victim’s quality of life.
Individuals who suspect they may have chronic whiplash may experience any of the symptoms identified above, in addition to:
- Chronic back pain
- Dizzy episodes
- Severe or frequent headaches
- Weakness or numbness in the limbs
- Jaw pain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Ringing in the ears
- Problems concentrating
- Mood swings
If you were diagnosed with whiplash after an accident, notify your doctor if your symptoms are not easing or you are experiencing worsening of symptoms that might indicate chronic whiplash. More aggressive treatment may be necessary to help you heal from your injuries.
Whiplash Injury Treatment
Medical treatment will begin with a consultation with a doctor. You should explain that you were in a car accident (or other type of accident) and describe your symptoms. Your doctor may conduct a physical examination and may also order imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs. If nerve damage is suspected, your doctor may run an electromyography test.
Depending on the severity of your whiplash injury, your treatment might include:
- Rest – Your doctor might recommend resting for a specified period of time.
- Heat or ice – The application of heat or ice to the neck may help relieve pain and inflammation.
- Medication – Your doctor may prescribe medication or recommend over-the-counter medicine to help relieve pain. Muscle relaxants may help victims manage pain and treat insomnia.
- Injections – Doctors may inject patients with steroids or lidocaine to boost recovery.
- Physical therapy – Physical therapy is often recommended in addition to other treatments because it can help improve stretching, range of motion, and flexibility. Physical therapy can also strengthen injured muscles and tendons.
- Wearing a foam collar – Your doctor may prescribe a foam collar to restrict movement and stabilize the neck.
Many whiplash victims may recover from their injuries within a few weeks or months. However, some whiplash victims may continue to suffer well past the date of the accident. They may experience chronic pain, depression, and complications. A personal injury lawyer can help you seek compensation for medical expenses, counseling, and other costs associated with your injury if someone else was responsible for your injuries.
How to Prove Fault After a Whiplash Injury
Before you can recover compensation for your injuries, you will need to establish how the defendant is responsible for them and liable for your damages. This can be difficult because Virginia has a contributory negligence law that restricts accident victims from recovering any compensation if they were at any degree of fault for the accident. Therefore, you not only need to show that the defendant was responsible for the accident but also that you were not at any fault for it in order to recover compensation.
Insurance adjusters and defendants often know about this rule and may try to deny your claim or your right to compensation by blaming you for it. Additionally, whiplash injuries do not always appear on X-rays or other imaging tests, so insurance companies may try to deny injuries because they cannot see them on these tests. Because of these factors, it is important that you have objective evidence to establish the defendant was responsible for the accident, such as:
- Police or accident reports
- Maintenance records
- Pictures of the accident scene
- Medical records consistent with your version of events
- Videos of the accident
- Statements from witnesses
- Inspection records
An experienced attorney can review the circumstances of your case and determine the types of evidence that may be available to help prove liability.
Whiplash Injury Compensation
Whiplash injuries can result in serious consequences. You may first contend with the medical expenses brought on by the accident, such as:
- Emergency room treatment
- Ambulance charges
- Physical therapy
- Counseling expenses
- Chiropractor expenses
If you have a complex whiplash injury that results in chronic pain, your recovery may also include anticipated medical expenses in the future.
Whiplash injuries can be painful. Your doctor may recommend you not work for a few weeks or months to avoid permanent injury. You may be able to recover compensation for the time you miss from work, as well as the use of your employment benefits.
Additionally, you may be able to recover compensation for your pain, suffering, and other non-economic damages you suffer. An experienced whiplash injury law firm can identify the full extent of your damages and negotiate for maximum compensation on your behalf. If the insurance company fails to resolve your claim through a settlement, your lawyer can discuss the possibility of filing a personal injury lawsuit to seek the compensation you deserve for all the damages you sustained.
How Can a Whiplash Injury Lawyer Help You?
A Charlottesville whiplash injury attorney will be familiar with Virginia’s personal injury laws and can help you navigate the claims process. After you retain a lawyer’s services, they can launch an in-depth investigation into the cause of the accident and identify all parties who may be responsible for your injuries.
For example, if you were injured in a rear-end collision, we can investigate to determine if the driver was negligent by:
- Drinking and driving
- Driving too closely
- Driving with distractions
- Failing to follow traffic signs or lights
We know the evidence that can help establish liability and can take steps to preserve and demand compelling evidence in your case. We can also work with your care team to determine the full extent of your injuries and how they negatively impact your life. Our team can document your losses and demand full compensation on your behalf. We can also advise you of all possible sources of financial recovery so you can maximize the amount of compensation you can recover to help put your life back on track.
Call Our Charlottesville Whiplash Injury Lawyers
If you were injured in an accident and suspect you may have whiplash, Kendall Law Firm is here to help. Our compassionate Charlottesville whiplash injury lawyers can help you every step of the way. We can explain your legal rights and advance your case to seek full and fair compensation. Contact us today at (866) 590-9773 to get started on your claim.