Whiplash/Neck Injuries and Car Accidents – Collecting Damages
Our Denver car accident attorneys have extensive experience handling injury cases. It doesn’t matter if you have a minor scrape or a major collision, we are here for you.
Whiplash is the butt of many jokes – stories are replete of accident victims exaggerating the extent of their injuries by claiming they have neck pain stemming from whiplash. Some of the time though, they’re claiming a minor fender bender was the cause of their difficulties.
Although there are always those who are trying to get a quick buck at someone else’s expense, whiplash can be the source of long-term pain and can even develop into a disorder known as Degenerative Disc Disease.
First a definition – whiplash can be defined as a soft tissue injury that occurs when the head and neck are violently thrown forward and back again outside the normal range of motion. Besides neck tissue, whiplash can also cause damage to joints, discs, muscles and nerve roots. The vast majority of these injuries are caused by rear-end collisions but can occur due to any sudden impact.
One more important point to understand – many mistakenly view whiplash as the injury when in fact it’s the cause of an injury. The injuries themselves have several names, including neck strain and neck sprain.
Whatever you call it, whiplash can have both physical and psychological impacts, including:
- Neck pain and swelling
- Neck stiffness
- Tender back
- Muscle Spasms
- Memory loss
- Poor concentration/memory
- Nervousness or irritability
While most injuries caused by whiplash heal quickly, some incidents can cause more serious conditions like fracture/dislocation of the vertebra (…which can cause temporary paralysis and nerve damage) or Degenerative Disc Disease.
Treatments for injuries caused by whiplash depend on the severity and other individual factors. Pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants and even anti-depressants may be prescribed. Doctors may also provide you with a cervical collar to limit how much you can move your neck.
Depending on your situation, they may order you to undergo range-of-motion exercises and physical therapy.
Filing a lawsuit and collecting damages
If you’ve sustained an injury caused by whiplash and someone else’s negligence, you should seek legal advice immediately. The statute of limitations (…how long you have to file a case) for car accident cases in Colorado is 3 years.
Like we said earlier, many injuries caused by whiplash are relatively minor and heal quickly.
But there are some instances where the full impacts of the injury will not appear for months or even years.
This is why documentation matters so much.
If you’re in a car accident and sustain an injury caused by whiplash, you should see a doctor immediately and keep careful records. These records will be instrumental in demonstrating your costs and lost time from work among other things.
What if I had neck pain prior to my car accident? Will I qualify for additional compensation due to my pre-existing condition?
It’s possible but in a general sense, a person who is negligent is only liable for the damages they caused. If you can prove the accident aggravated the old injury and caused pain to return, you can seek compensation. For example, if you had a previous neck injury but were free of pain but any new incidents could permanently disable you, the defendant (…negligent party) will be fully liable.
Of course, records from any prior injuries will be instrumental in proving this should you decide to pursue a claim.
The best way to determine if you have grounds for a claim is to contact our car accident attorney in Denver to discuss your case. Denver injury attorney Mack Babcock and associates at the Babcock Law Firm possess extensive experience in helping accident victims obtain compensation for medical expenses and property damage. We represent accident victims across the state of Colorado.
Don’t wait another day to discuss your case too. Each day that goes by is one day closer to the statute of limitations. Contact R. Mack Babcock and his team of Denver car accident attorneys at the Babcock Law Firm today for a free consultation.
The Most Common Symptoms of Whiplash
Whiplash can be a serious injury, and its most common symptoms may not show up for several days.
When a person’s neck and head are quickly forced forward and backward to the point where too much stress is placed on the person’s cervical spine, a whiplash injury results. The symptoms of this injury vary from person to person; however, there are several common signs and symptoms associated with this medical issue.
Neck and Upper Back Pain
The most frequent complaints after an automobile accident are pain in the neck and upper back as well as a limited range of motion in the neck due to muscle and ligament damage. Pain may radiate up the neck, between the shoulder blades and across the shoulders.
In addition, the spinal nerves may become torn during the incident. Torn spinal nerves can cause disc herniation or degeneration and lead to compression and irritation. When the nerves are compressed or irritated, the sufferer can experience muscle weakness, limb numbness, upper back pain, shoulder pain and arm pain.
Lower Back Pain
The upper back is not the only part of the back that may be injured. Although the lower back is not whipped back and forth as violently as the upper back, the discs in the lower back can also become compressed particularly in side-impact collisions.
Headaches and Dizziness
Second to neck and upper back pain, headaches are the most common sign of a neck injury. Usually, headaches after an accident stem from spinal, ligament and muscle damage. In some cases, headaches are a sign of a serious brain injury. Dizziness is sometimes another sign of a brain injury; however, dizziness may also be due to an injury of the cervical spine’s facet joints.
Traumatic Brain Injury
People who suffer from a severe case of whiplash may also have a traumatic brain injury. If the neck is jerked hard enough during impact, the brain can bounce against the walls of the skull causing the brain to bleed or bruise.
A few signs and symptoms of a brain injury are mental confusion, forgetfulness, concentration problems, trouble sleeping and mood changes. Sometimes, a person who has a brain injury may notice vision disturbances and an altered sense of taste and smell.
Likelihood of Whiplash Injury
Certain people are more likely than others to develop this type of neck injury including:
- Children and teenagers
- People who have had a neck injury in the past
- Those who are hit while their car is at a stop
- Those whose car is hit from the rear
Duration of Whiplash Symptoms
For many people, the pain from a whiplash injury desists anywhere from several days to three months. However, some people still experience neck pain for year or more after a car accident. The signs and symptoms of this neck injury can also take up to a few months to present themselves.
By the time a victim realizes the full extent of his injuries, he may have already settled his personal injury claim with the insurance company without the help of an attorney, losing out on a significant amount of compensation for his pain and suffering.
Importance of Consulting a Car Accident Attorney
After a car crash, whiplash sufferers face a painful recovery while worrying about expensive medical bills and lost wages. The first step after being in an automobile accident is to seek medical attention, and the second step is to contact an experienced accident attorney in Denver. An attorney can help hold the responsible party accountable for his actions by filing a lawsuit so the victim can receive the compensation he or she deserves.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Babcock Law Firm. We have the determination and the know-how to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Continue reading these related articles for more information…
- What to Do After a Car Accident
- 3 Ways You Can Prove Fault in a Car Accident
- Defensive Driving – How You Can Prevent Auto Collisions and Save Money Too
- 3 Reasons to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
**NOTE – this article and all content at Injurylawcolorado.com is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice