One of the most common injuries that people suffer in auto accidents is Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD).
WAD is typically referred to as whiplash, and WAD can be much more than simply a temporary ache.
Whiplash can lead to long-term issues that affect your ability to live life and work as you used to before your auto accident.
The damage that whiplash can cause can be made much worse when WAD isn’t quickly identified and when WAD sufferers fail to receive the financial compensation needed to help them recover.
If you or a loved one has suffered from whiplash sustained in a car accident, you might be wondering if you can be financially compensated for your whiplash. This article will cover the signs, symptoms, and cause of whiplash, as well as if you need a lawyer to receive fair compensation for your whiplash injuries.
Whiplash is a neck injury. It occurs when your neck forcibly bends backward and then forward, or vice versa. WAD, which is not extremely well understood, typically involves the tendons, nerves, discs, and muscles in your neck.
The most common symptoms of whiplash include:
- Neck pain
- Worsening of neck pain with movement
- Stiffness of the neck
- Loss of your neck’s range of motion
- Pain or tenderness in the arms, hands, upper back, or shoulder
- Headaches, often starting at the base of the skull
- Lower back pain
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Numbness or tingling in your hand or arm
- Memory or concentration problems
- Blurry vision
What Causes Whiplash?
Whiplash is a neck injury that is a soft-tissue injury. It usually happens when your head rapidly moves back and forth. The primary cause of whiplash is rear-end auto accidents. Passengers in cars that are rear-ended are the most likely to suffer from whiplash. Here’s how whiplash typically occurs:
- Your vehicle is struck in the rear. This causes your seat to absorb the impact force.
- Your seat pushes against your back, compressing your spine upwards, towards your head.
- Your head presses into your seat while your torso moves towards the vehicle’s front, causing your spine to move out of its proper alignment.
- Your head violently moves backward, then rapidly accelerates forward.
- Your body is kept in place by your seat belt, making the neck movement more pronounced.
Damage to your joints, cervical spine, intervertebral discs, and soft tissue can be caused by whiplash.
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries seen in auto accidents. The majority of whiplash victims are females, according to research. Men are five times less likely to suffer whiplash than women. The most likely accident victims to suffer from whiplash are between ages 30 and 50.
How Is Whiplash Treated?
When somebody is diagnosed with WAD, healthcare providers will typically suggest temporary neck immobilization via a cervical collar. After the period of neck immobilization is over, the whiplash sufferer will usually go through physical therapy.
The process of physical therapy often lasts for months, and, in severe cases, can even last for years. Most whiplash sufferers will heal within a few months of their auto accident when they are treated properly. However, some symptoms of whiplash can last for the rest of your life if they are untreated.
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries seen in auto accidents in California. The term whiplash might sound harmless, but it can, unfortunately, lead to you missing work and can be a sign of something that’s a lot more serious. If you have suffered whiplash in an auto accident, you should do the following things:
Follow Up With Your Healthcare Provider
It is common for those who have suffered whiplash in a car accident in California to simply attempt to tough it out. However, whenever you’re involved in an auto accident, you need to seek medical attention as quickly as you can.
Many injuries, such as whiplash, go unnoticed until well after a car crash. This can be a problem if you want insurance companies to pay for your medical bills, since the longer it takes for you to seek treatment after an accident, the more likely an insurance company will claim something other than your accident caused your injury.
Whiplash can cause serious pain, so it’s not something that is wise to ignore. You might miss work because of it, and you might make your whiplash worse if you don’t seek treatment for it. If you see a medical provider after you suffer whiplash in an accident, it’s important to follow up with your healthcare provider if your symptoms don’t improve or if they get worse.
It’s vital to make sure you haven’t been seriously injured. You may even have a broken bone in your neck.
How Long Do Whiplash’s Symptoms Last?
Most whiplash sufferers no longer experience the worst symptoms of whiplash after a few weeks after their accident. However, whiplash victims often suffer the symptoms of whiplash for months or years after an auto accident.
Whiplash victims might be more likely to suffer from long-term pain when their initial whiplash symptoms are extreme, come on quickly, and include:
- Pain in the arms
- Severe pain in the neck
Long-term health problems resulting from whiplash are more common in people who:
- Are older
- Have existing neck or lower back pain
- Have already experienced a whiplash injury
Listen to the Advice From Your Healthcare Provider
It’s common for victims of auto accidents to start turning their heads more than they should, stop taking their pain medications, or start lifting heavy items before their healthcare provider says they can. If you’ve been diagnosed with WAD after an auto accident, it’s important to follow the advice of your healthcare provider. Following your doctor’s advice can reduce inflammation and make sure your neck isn’t injured any further.
Discuss Your Legal Rights With a Lawyer
Minor California auto accidents are often settled. However, it’s vital that you speak with an experienced attorney about your legal rights if you’ve suffered whiplash in an auto accident. Even if your vehicle was barely damaged, you might be entitled to financial compensation for the medical bills resulting from your whiplash. You might also be entitled to financial compensation for any time from work that you have missed due to your whiplash.
Do I Need a Whiplash Lawyer?
You need experienced, expert whiplash lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen representing you if you want to recover every penny you are entitled to under California law for your whiplash injury.
California law allows injury victims to obtain financial compensation from anyone whose negligence or failure to be reasonably careful to prevent harm caused their injury. Thus, if your whiplash was caused by somebody’s negligence, such as a driver rear-ending your vehicle because they were texting while driving, you are entitled to financial recovery from that driver or their insurance company.
A Lawyer Can Handle the Insurance Companies
The thing is, the ultimate source of recovery in whiplash cases is almost an insurance company, and insurance companies will simply not pay you what you’re entitled to under California law if you don’t have a lawyer. Insurance companies will only pay you what you’re entitled to and deserve if they respect you.
Insurance companies will only respect you if they think you can beat them in court. They know you can’t beat their expensive corporate lawyers in court without a lawyer of your own. Thus, if you don’t have a lawyer, insurance companies won’t respect you. They’ll offer you a tiny fraction of what you’re actually entitled to and dare you to sue them in court over it.
However, insurance companies also keep files on law firms. If you’re represented by a law firm like Nadrich & Cohen with a long track record of success, insurance companies will often look at the file they have on your law firm, see that they will probably lose in court against you, and offer you a settlement which reflects what you’re actually entitled to under California law.
That’s right: the mere act of hiring a lawyer is what often convinces insurance companies to offer you a fair settlement. Most of our cases settle out of court because of our long track record of success representing injury victims.
In addition, the primary danger involved in handling your whiplash claim yourself is accidentally incriminating yourself when dealing with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Insurance adjusters are specifically trained to trick you into saying things that imply your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim, or things that imply that you were at fault for your accident.
Insurers are very good at this, and it is very easy to fall for their manipulation tactics. If you fall for their tricks and say something incriminating, they can use that to pay you less or nothing at all.
For this reason, it is important that you have experienced whiplash lawyers handling all communications with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and lawyers for you so that you can avoid accidentally incriminating yourself.
Compensation Available to Victims of Whiplash
You may think whiplash seems like a minor injury. However, the victims of whiplash can suffer from their injuries for months or even years before the symptoms disappear. Most whiplash victims actually suffer from symptoms for over six months.
It can be very hard to live a normal life while recovering from a whiplash injury. Limited range of movement and chronic pain often keep auto accident victims away from work for months, and it can be very hard to make ends meet and pay medical expenses without income from work.
If your whiplash injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to file a lawsuit in order to recover damages. Recovering financial compensation from the at-fault driver can make living a normal life a tad easier. In California, you can usually recover both economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are damages that can be objectively quantified. They are awarded to assist you in dealing with the financial costs of your injury and accident. These damages are intended to help place you back in the financial situation you experienced before your auto accident. Economic damages include damages for:
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Reduction in earning capacity
Non-economic damages are subjectively calculated damages that are intended to help you deal with the physical and emotional trauma of your whiplash injury. Non-economic damages are usually extremely personal and tough to calculate in terms of dollar amounts. This is why non-economic damage awards can be very different from one claim to another. Non-economic damages include damages for:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
At Nadrich & Cohen, our lawyers are dedicated to obtaining the financial compensation you deserve for you. We hire experts to ensure that we can identify all damages, allowing us to make sure that your whiplash claim is properly valued. We don’t simply look at how much money you owe right now. We assess how much money your injuries will cost in the future as well.
How Long Do I Have to File a Whiplash Lawsuit?
There is a time limit, known as a statute of limitations, regarding filing personal injury lawsuits such as whiplash lawsuits in California. That time limit is two years from the date of the injury.
Failure to file a lawsuit before the statute expires can forever bar you from obtaining financial compensation for your injuries, so it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible if you’ve been injured and it wasn’t your fault.
How Much Does a Whiplash Lawyer Cost?
We represent whiplash victims on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not charge whiplash victims a fee unless and until we win their case or obtain a settlement.
The only fee we collect is a small percentage of any financial recovery we obtain for our clients – no recovery, no fee. It will cost you nothing out of pocket for us to represent you in your whiplash claim, so you have nothing to lose by calling us for a free consultation if you or a loved one has suffered whiplash after an auto accident.
Contact a California whiplash lawyer at Nadrich & Cohen today for a free consultation to find out how we can help you.