Whiplash Injuries Resulting from Car Accidents

When we get into a car accident, the first thing many people worry about is whether the other driver is going to claim whiplash and file a lawsuit. However, the negative impressions, primarily circulated by insurance companies trying to limit pay-outs, do a severe injustice to those suffering from whiplash injuries. Whiplash injuries are serious and often devastating to those suffering from long-term debilitating pain. The harm may be particularly bad if you have been rear-ended by another vehicle while you were stopped or traveling considerably slower than the impacting car.

For those who have experienced it, there is nothing to compare to that moment when you go from sitting at a light, listening to the radio or contemplating dinner for that evening, to being thrust forward in your vehicle, feeling everything go tense and white hot as the soft tissue in your body responds to the impact and then snaps back. Whiplash injuries are caused by the force of the impacting vehicle being transferred through the car and into the driver and any passengers. The nature of this transference of energy means that even if there is not significant damage to either vehicle, the occupants can face severe, long-term tissue damage.

If you have been involved in a car accident, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you do not experience overt signs of injury at the time of the accident, this does not mean that there is no tissue damage. Often, the evidence of harm will manifest itself over the next few hours or days. Some injuries take weeks to fully develop. Whiplash injuries commonly involve soft tissue and are hard to demonstrate through medical diagnostic tests such as x-rays. This is why they have been the subject of attack in personal injury cases.

The methods of insurance company arguments differ, but usually involve the following variations on a theme:

  • “Take some painkillers and get a little rest and you will be fine”– minimizing the degree of damage is a typical insurance defense tactic. However, accident victims may suffer from debilitating pain for many years, which has been demonstrated by pain block studies;
  • “If you were not in pain at the scene of the accident, you weren’t injured in the accident” – this is one of the most prevalent falsehoods. Frequently, at the time of the accident, you are experiencing the side effects of adrenaline and shock. In addition, many injuries, including inflammation of the nerve roots, take time to manifest;
  • “The construction of your newer vehicle is intended to prevent the type of injury that you are claiming” – focusing on advances in automobile engineering is a popular misdirect, but if headrests are not positioned properly, new car designs actually can lead to more, and not less, harm;
  • “Victims who claim whiplash are looking for a large cash pay-off”insurance companies love to attack the victim, but medical science has shown that soft tissue injuries are very real and can lead to long-term disability. In fact, accident victims who claimed severe whiplash and later died have had autopsies that revealed extensive tissue damage that never appeared on x-rays.

Whiplash victims often are made to feel like the bad guy for seeking compensation for injuries, but this should not stop someone who is suffering from seeking medical attention and damages for the harm. If you suffered any injury in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, contact our attorneys today for a free case review to learn about your legal rights as well as what steps can be taken to protect those rights