Although whiplash from a car crash can be a serious, painful injury that is difficult to treat, insurance adjusters and insurance defense lawyers will often discount your injury and attempt to either limit or deny your claim.
How serious is whiplash from a car crash and what can you do to ensure the other driver’s insurance company pays full and fair compensation for your injury?
What is Whiplash?
According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash is caused by a person’s neck being forced back-and-forth violently, “like the cracking of a whip.”
Although many people with whiplash recover within a few weeks, others can end up with chronic neck pain that doesn’t go away or other complications:
Most people with whiplash get better within a few weeks by following a treatment plan that includes pain medication and exercise. However, some people have chronic neck pain and other long-lasting complications.
What Causes Whiplash?
The most common cause is whiplash from a car crash, but it can also be caused by falls, sports accidents, or other types of trauma:
Whiplash is commonly caused by rear-end car accidents. But whiplash can also result from sports accidents, physical abuse and other types of traumas, such as a fall. Whiplash may be called a neck sprain or strain, but these terms also include other types of neck injuries.
Any accident or physical trauma that causes your head to be thrown violently back and forth, like a car crash, can result in injuries to “the spine, disks between the bones, ligaments, muscles, nerves and other tissues of the neck.”
What are the Symptoms of Whiplash?
Signs of whiplash can include:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Worsening of pain with neck movement
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull
- Tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back or arms
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Sleep disturbances
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
The symptoms of whiplash may not appear immediately after a car crash, which is why it is critical that you get checked out as soon as possible and that you see your doctor immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms in the days following a car crash.
Remember, the other driver’s insurance company will attempt to deny your claim, which means that they will claim 1) you are lying about your injury or 2) your injury was not caused by the car crash…
You must document your injury as soon as the symptoms begin to appear so that we can prove your claim to the insurance company and to a jury when necessary.
The Problem with Soft-Tissue Injuries
Whiplash from a car crash and other soft-tissue injuries can be difficult to prove. One common problem is delayed reporting – if you did not begin to experience symptoms until days after the car crash, the other side will attempt to argue that you were not hurt in the car crash.
That argument might make sense to someone who has never had a soft-tissue injury (potentially all of your jurors at trial), and so it must be countered with expert testimony by a doctor who can explain how and why whiplash does not always manifest immediately.
Another fundamental problem with proving soft-tissue injuries like whiplash is that the jurors cannot see the injury. Consistent documentation by your doctors and expert testimony at trial can help jurors to “see” the damage that is not necessarily visible on the outside.
How can your attorney explain this to jurors who have no experience with soft-tissue injuries and the pain they cause?
Internal Damage is Compensable
What if the downtown area of a large city is hit by an earthquake? A tall office building downtown shakes violently, but then the quake is over, the employees return to work, and it looks like there is no damage to the building…
A damage assessment is done by structural engineers, however, that shows stress damage to the building’s structural steel and, although there is no visible damage whatsoever, the engineers conclude that the building is no longer structurally sound. It could collapse down the road, and the repairs are estimated at just over $1 million.
Would the insurance company, even after seeing the report from the structural engineers, decide that a jury will never award $1 million for damage that you can’t even see, and so offer the building’s owner $5000 as a “nuisance settlement?”
Like the person who is suffering with whiplash from a car crash, the building is damaged internally and the insurance company is obligated to cover those damages – if the jury would give the building owner the $1 million that is necessary for structural repairs, why wouldn’t they also give the car crash victim full and fair compensation for internal injuries whether or not they are visible?
Whiplash from a car crash can be a serious, painful, and extended injury for which a negligent driver’s insurance company must provide full compensation.
Myrtle Beach, SC Car Crash Attorneys
If you are the victim of an auto accident in Myrtle Beach, get checked out by medical professionals immediately, follow any recommendations that EMTs or emergency room doctors give you, and schedule a follow-up appointment with your physician soon after the crash.
Just as importantly, get an experienced SC auto accident lawyer on your side as soon as possible after the accident. Call now at (843) 488-5000 or send an online message to talk with a SC auto accident attorney in Myrtle Beach today.