Whiplash is a general term for a variety of neck and upper back injuries. It is one of the most common injuries caused by car accidents, although it can result from other types of incidents as well, such as sports injuries or physical assault.
Whiplash is caused by any sudden back-and-forth motion of the neck, such as when a car is rear ended by another vehicle, throwing the head and neck forward. Impact from the front or side can also cause whiplash. These types of accidents force the neck to extend past its normal range of motion, causing soft tissues like muscles and ligaments to over-stretch and even tear. In many ways whiplash is essentially a sprained neck.
This kind of injury can cause:
- Pain and stiffness in the upper back, neck and shoulders
- Trouble sleeping
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Dizziness, blurred vision or even ringing in the ears
Most importantly, whiplash does not always manifest right away. Although the injury happens instantaneously during the accident, you may not feel much or any pain until hours later when the inflammation sets in. This is why many whiplash victims initially report that they’re fine and only realize later that they have been injured.
Why do people doubt whiplash claims?
Whiplash is not something that most people understand. It’s hard for an ordinary person to take an injury seriously when there are no broken bones and no outward signs of damage. Only people who have lived through the pain of whiplash can understand how serious it is. Because of this, many people assume that whiplash victims must be “faking” their injury or exaggerating their pain.
That doesn’t make your injury—or your claim—any less real. Whiplash can last for months or even years, and if not properly treated, you can have complications that make it worse. The court system does take whiplash claims seriously and you have a right to recover the cost of care, just as you would for any other injury.
Insurance companies will use the popular myths about whiplash against you. They may claim you are not really injured or that your pain comes from some pre-existing condition. That’s why it’s so important to have a good lawyer represent you from the start of your case.
How do you prove a whiplash claim?
Lawyers typically use two main tools to prove your injury:
- Medical diagnosis. The best thing you can do is seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident, and see a doctor who understands neck injuries. Your doctor can correctly diagnose your injury, and you will have a trail of documents showing that the injury is real.
- Expert testimony. Often, juries do not know much about neck injuries. Bringing in an expert witness, such as a doctor, can dramatically change how the jury views your injury.
Additionally, we urge all whiplash victims to maintain an injury journal, chronicling their pain and any other problems every day. This helps underscore how real the injury is and how it affects your life.
Have you been injured? John Foy & Associates offers a free consultation with some of the most experienced and respected personal injury lawyers in Georgia. Fill out the form to your right or call us at 404-400-4000 to get your FREE consultation today.