Understanding Car Accident Whiplash Injuries

by | May 25, 2023 | Auto Accidents

woman-suffering-from-whiplash-after-SC-car-accidentOne of the most common injuries that occurs in a car accident is whiplash. This neck injury can be mild or severe, but it should always be treated by a medical provider. Whiplash can easily lead to more severe issues if it is not treated promptly. 

If you do get whiplash from a car crash, you should also contact a whiplash lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you get the help you need to move forward with a personal injury claim. 

What Is Whiplash? 

According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash is a neck injury that is caused by a forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the head. The neck movement is similar to that of a cracking whip, so it is called “whiplash.” 

Whiplash may also be called a neck strain or sprain, but those terms may also be used to refer to other neck injuries. 

Signs and Symptoms of Whiplash 

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of whiplash include: 

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Loss of range of motion in the neck
  • Shoulder or back pain and tenderness
  • Pain with neck movement
  • Headaches (often at the bottom of the skull
  • Arm tingling or numbness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

Some less common symptoms of whiplash include: 

  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Blurred vision
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Depression

Not everyone will experience all these symptoms. Often, medical providers will use diagnostic imaging to determine if a patient has whiplash. 

How Long Does Whiplash Last? 

diagram-of-body-experiencing-whiplash-in-car-accidentMany people who are injured with whiplash get better within a few weeks. Working with a medical team and following a treatment plan can help speed up the recovery process. 

Some people get chronic neck pain due to whiplash and suffer other long-lasting complications. Indicators that whiplash is more severe include: 

  • Neck pain that does not get better over time
  • Limited range of motion of neck and arms
  • Pain that spreads to arms

There are risk factors indicating that certain people may be more severely injured, including: 

  • Victims who have had whiplash before
  • People who are older
  • Individuals with existing low back or neck pain
  • High-speed car crashes or hard impact injuries

How Does Whiplash Happen? 

Whiplash most commonly occurs in rear-end car accidents because of the force of the other vehicle behind yours. If your car is stopped or moving slowly and someone hits you from behind, your head will be forced forward, thereby whipping your neck forwards and backwards. 

However, whiplash can actually happen in any type of car accident. Any time your car is pushed in a direction that it was not originally moving, your body will be forced to whip back and forth, resulting in the potential for whiplash. 

How Much Is My Car Accident Whiplash Case Worth? 

A whiplash settlement can potentially be worth thousands of dollars. The exact value of your case depends on how severely you were injured and the insurance policy limits. You should be able to get compensation for the following: 

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Physical therapy, rehabilitation and other medical expenses
  • Permanent disabilities
  • Pain and suffering

Many insurance companies try to downplay whiplash and may not offer you much money at first. You can increase the value of your whiplash claim by getting medical treatment recommended by your doctors and keeping a post-accident pain journal similar to this one by Enjuris. 

Settlement Process for Whiplash Cases in Greenville, South Carolina 

woman-in-neck-brace-reviewing-SC-whiplash-lawsuitVery few personal injury cases like whiplashes go to trial. Most are settled before you ever see the courtroom. This is beneficial to both parties because you will be able to get settlement money faster and the defendant will not have to pay expensive trial costs. 

You should be aware of the settlement process for whiplash cases in South Carolina. It’s important to work with a whiplash attorney throughout the process to ensure your rights are protected and no one takes advantage of you.  

Initial Settlement Offer 

The insurance company may make you a quick offer immediately after the accident. This is not the best and final offer. You should never accept the initial settlement offer. Work with your attorney to determine exactly how much your case is worth. 

Make a Demand to the Insurance Company 

Once your personal injury lawyer decides how much your case is worth, they will send a demand letter to the insurance company. This letter will explain all your losses and why they should pay your demand. 

The insurance company will likely refuse your demand and make a counteroffer. 

Negotiate With the Insurance Company 

Your attorney and the insurance company will negotiate a fair settlement value. It can take weeks or months for this process to take place. If the insurance company refuses to present a reasonable offer, you may have to file a whiplash lawsuit or go to mediation. 

Mediation in Greenville, South Carolina 

Many South Carolina courts want personal injury cases to go to mediation before they go to trial. Mediation involves a neutral third party who will review the evidence and help both sides reach a fair settlement offer. The mediation may take place before or after a lawsuit has been filed. 

Filing a Whiplash Lawsuit 

Even if you don’t want to go to trial, filing a lawsuit may be the best step. The insurance company will know you’re serious and they may increase their settlement offers when you file a lawsuit. 

Filing a lawsuit also allows you to take part in the discovery process. This involves both sides revealing their evidence to one another, allowing you to determine whether you have a good case to take to trial. 

Reaching a Settlement or Going to Trial 

In the end, your case will either reach a settlement or go to trial. In either event, your lawyer should help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a car accident victim. 

Attorney Venus Poe Can Help If You Have Whiplash 

It can be hard to know what to do if you have been injured in a serious car accident. Whiplash can be very painful and may result in missed work and pilling bills. Attorney Venus Poe can help. When you contact us, we will compassionately listen to your story and help you achieve your goals. Call us today at (864) 963-0310 for a case consultation. 

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