Whiplash is a common neck and back injury that car accident victims experience. Whiplash can have a variety of symptoms, ranging from headaches and neck pain to memory problems or depression. If you have whiplash because of an accident that someone else caused, you may be able to make an injury claim for whiplash.
Many insurance companies doubt the seriousness of whiplash, but it is very real. Whiplash can affect your life on a large scale, and it can take time to heal. However, you shouldn’t have to pay for the costs if you did not cause your accident. A personal injury lawyer can help with your injury claim for whiplash after an accident in Atlanta.
Whiplash Symptoms to Watch for After an Accident
Whiplash often happens due to the neck and back whipping back and forth during an accident. The force can cause delicate muscles, tendons, and other tissues to tear and cause a lot of pain. Whiplash can also damage the discs or nerves along your neck and back. Common symptoms of whiplash can include:
- Stiff neck
- Neck pain
- Dizziness and vertigo
- Reduced mobility in the back or neck
- Shoulder pain
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Trouble remembering or focusing on things
- Ringing ears
- Changes in mood
You do not need to have all the above symptoms to be diagnosed with whiplash. In fact, some accident victims only have a few. In addition, no matter what your specific symptoms of whiplash are, it can take anywhere from days to months, or longer, for you to fully recover. You should also know that signs of whiplash don’t often show up right away.
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Whiplash Injuries Can Take Time to Develop
Right after the accident, you might only feel mild pain in your neck and back. However, hours or days later, the full extent of your injuries can manifest as severe pain and soreness. This is why, although it is vital to see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident, you should also be seen for any new or developing pain.
When your body is in an accident, you are instantly on the alert. Within a few minutes, your body pumps the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline into your blood to help you deal with the threat of the accident. Adrenaline can:
- Elevate your heartbeat
- Dilate your air passages to send more oxygen to your muscles
- Increase your strength and performance
- And cause your body to send more blood to your heart, lungs, and muscles
Adrenaline also decreases your ability to feel pain. This is why you may not feel your accident injuries right away. Once adrenaline begins to wear off, you may notice more aches and pains you didn’t have before, including signs of whiplash.
Understanding Fault for Whiplash Accidents in Atlanta
In Atlanta and the rest of Georgia, liability comes down to negligence. In other words, the person who caused your accident is legally liable for your damages. For example, if you were in a car accident and the other driver caused the crash, they should be responsible for your resulting medical costs, lost wages, property damage, and more.
Just because you have the legal right to file a claim doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to win a settlement. You will still have to prove negligence to the insurance company and prove that your accident wasn’t your fault. Don’t assume that the insurance company will play fair or offer you a proper settlement out of the goodness of their hearts.
Insurance Companies Aren’t on Your Side
When someone is negligent in an accident, their insurance company usually pays for your damages. You will need to file a personal injury claim with the insurer to seek compensation. Unfortunately, insurance companies will look for ways to pay you less or deny your claim. Plus, insurers are more likely to doubt a claim for whiplash because:
- Whiplash isn’t usually visible
- It may not show up on standard imaging tests
- You may not realize you have whiplash until days after the accident
To avoid trouble from the insurance company, it’s best to get in touch with a car accident lawyer in Atlanta as soon as possible. They can make sure the insurance company does not take advantage of you. They can also help you negotiate a fair settlement if the company denies your claim or takes a long time to answer it.
How to Back Up Your Injury Claim for Whiplash After an Accident
If you’ve suffered whiplash after a car accident, there are several steps you can take to help your injury claim going forward. To file a successful insurance claim in Atlanta, you will need to prove that:
- The accident happened
- The at-fault party’s negligence led to the accident and your injuries
- You have damages, and those damages resulted from the accident
To do this, you will need to compile evidence of the accident and your whiplash injuries in the following ways.
Document the Scene and Report the Accident
After the accident, you should:
- Take pictures of the scene, your injuries, and other visible damages
- Talk to witnesses and get their contact information
- Call the Atlanta Police Department and tell them what happened
In addition to these steps, it’s also best to continue doing the following.
See a Doctor for Your Injuries
You will also need to get medical attention. If your injuries are serious or life-threatening, call for an ambulance immediately. Otherwise, make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. If your pain worsens quickly, go to an urgent care clinic or an emergency room.
It’s best to get checked out even if you don’t feel much pain. As we’ve discussed, whiplash can worsen over time, and you might not realize how badly you were hurt right away. Plus, the insurance company may claim that your injuries aren’t that bad if they see that you waited days to see a doctor.
Finally, if your whiplash symptoms become more severe with time, go back to the doctor for further treatment. If you need help finding the right doctor, an Atlanta car accident lawyer can help.
Do Not Admit Fault
What you say after an accident in Atlanta matters, too. Don’t say you’re sorry for the accident or take any of the blame. Also, do not say you weren’t hurt or that you’re “fine.” If the police or the insurance company asks whether you are injured, and you don’t feel pain yet, just say you “aren’t sure.” If you say you weren’t hurt, they may try to use that against you later.
Keep Track of All Accident-Related Expenses
Compile all your medical bills, pay stubs, receipts, and vehicle repair quotes. Any expense you have from the accident may be eligible for compensation. You will need to demonstrate proof of your damages, so keep close track of every expense.
Contact an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer
An experienced lawyer can help you with each step of the legal process after an accident. They will help you build a solid case and handle any pushback from the insurance company.
In addition, attorneys understand how insurers can treat whiplash injuries, so they will be prepared to help you fight for your rights. Having an attorney who understands whiplash claims often makes the difference between receiving a low settlement and full compensation.
Don’t Wait to File Your Injury Claim
Remember, the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 9-3-33 only gives whiplash injury victims two years to file their claim. Also, keep in mind that this is just a general statute of limitations. Depending on the unique circumstances surrounding your accident, there could be different timeframes for how long you have to file an injury claim.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to get medical treatment quickly and retain professional legal representation as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the worse your chances become of winning a fair settlement that covers all your damages. The last thing you want is to have to pay out of pocket for an accident that wasn’t your fault, so don’t wait until the last minute to file.
Talk to Our Atlanta Whiplash Injury Lawyers Today
At John Foy & Associates, we’ve been helping accident victims in Atlanta get the money they need for over 20 years. We know what it takes to win cases involving injuries like whiplash. You can contact us over the phone for a free consultation to discuss your case. You can also fill out our online contact form on the right. We’re available 24/7 to assist you.