Whiplash and Neck Injuries
Whiplash and neck injuries are among the most common suffered in Atlanta motor vehicle accidents. That doesn’t necessarily mean obtaining compensation will be a simple matter.
More formally known as “neck sprains” and “neck strains,” whiplash occurs when there is a rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck (i.e., “like the cracking of a whip). Crashes are usually the cause.
Georgia car accident attorney Stephen M. Ozcomert know that while whiplash and neck injuries comprise a significant portion of crash-related claims, the condition is often misunderstood. Research published in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention stated this outright, and examined the anatomical sites within the neck potentially injured in these collisions.
Clinically, whiplash patients typically report:
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Back pain
- Jaw pain
- Arm weakness
- Ringing in the ears
- Parasthesia (burning or prickling sensation)
- Cognitive/ psychosocial symptoms (i.e., depression/ anxiety)
Multiple bodily parts are typically affected, including joints, ligaments, vertebral discs and arteries and neck muscles. Researchers have found that many patients suffer delayed recover and/ or high chronicity rates, often because they fail to seek appropriate treatment early on. It’s often ignored or even mistreated. Many people don’t seek treatment because they don’t believe it’s serious enough. The truth of the matter is whiplash and neck injuries stemming from auto accidents can cause serious and lasting injuries.
A person’s neck is essential for one’s ability to properly move and function.
While your focus should be on your health and well-being the aim of our car accident lawyers in Atlanta is to secure your financial well-being by working to recover the costs of your:
- Medical bills;
- Lost wages;
- Future treatment;
Our attorneys offer free initial consultations, and are paid on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t cover the cost of attorney’s fees unless we are successful with your claim.Most Common Cause of Whiplash
Cases of whiplash almost always arise from traffic accidents, though there is potential for injuries to occur in other scenarios.
In car accidents, whiplash injuries are usually due to a rear-end collision. Another vehicle strikes from behind, and this impact results in the victim’s head being hyperextended (backward) while the seat is pushing the person’s torso forward. There is a brief period of stasis, the head and neck are then tossed into a hyperflex (forward) position.
As noted by doctors writing for MedicineNet.com, recent analysis using high-tech crash dummies and high-speed cameras reveals that this rapid back-and-forth results in an abnormal S-shape in the cervical spine (i.e., the neck), which in turn results in damage to the soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, etc.) that holds together the cervical vertebrae.
One study published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology revealed whiplash injuries increase your chances of chronic neck and shoulder pain, as well as the probability of other unrelated health problems. One in every 100 people globally suffer chronic neck pain because of a whiplash injury incurred in a crash, according to a study published in the journal Injury.
Whiplash and neck injuries are often written off as “nuisance” claims by insurers, and “tort reform” advocates have been very successful in characterizing whiplash injury victims as largely exaggerating or even malingering. The reality is whiplash injuries are often quite serious, depending on the amount of force and the angle of impact.Compensation for Whiplash Injuries
No two personal injuries are the same, so it’s impossible to say how much compensation each individual claim could receive.
What we can say for certain is that your very first step should be to seek medical attention. Failure to do this as soon as possible after a crash can give the defense a means to assert there may have been an intervening cause of injury. It is a means to provide documentation to help show not just the nature and extent of injuries, but also a causal link to the crash.
In determining whether a whiplash injury claim is viable, our auto accident attorneys in Atlanta will look at:
Who was at-fault. In Georgia, courts follow a system of modified comparative fault with a 50 percent bar. That means if you are more than 50 percent to blame for the crash, you will not be able to collect damages. However, up to 49 percent, and you can still pursue a claim. That percentage isn’t determined, of course, until your case goes to court, so it will be up to your lawyer to give you an educated estimate, based on the known facts.
The severity of your injury. If you had a single trip to the emergency room and a single follow-up visit, you may be able to obtain adequate compensation with a simple claim to the insurance company. However, if you required more intensive treatment, such as surgery or physical therapy, you may be entitled to much more. Injuries that affect the nerves or vertebrae of the neck can easily result in verdicts or settlements that exceed $100,000.
If you have questions about how to pursue an injury claim or lawsuit, we can help.
If you have been injured in a Georgia car accident, contact Atlanta Car Accident Attorney Stephen M. Ozcomert at (404) 370-1000.