Whiplash is a painful neck injury that often occurs in car accidents, particularly rear-end crashes. These injuries can cause debilitating symptoms, such as blurred vision, fatigue, headaches and ringing in the ears.
If you are experiencing symptoms of whiplash after an accident that you believe was caused by a negligent driver, you may be able to file a personal injury claim to obtain compensation.
Below, our Cincinnati car accident attorneys explain some of the many things you need to know about whiplash claims, including several steps you should take after suffering an injury in a car accident. These steps could help improve your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve.
How Do I Know If I Have Whiplash?
Whiplash is a soft-tissue injury that occurs when a person’s head and body are jolted forward by a sudden impact, such as an automobile collision. The body is stopped by the seat belt, causing the head to jerk forward by itself, which can cause sprains or tears in the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the neck.
Whiplash causes a variety of symptoms, including:
- Memory problems
- Jaw pain
- Weakness in your arms
- Sleep disturbances
- Numb arms
- Pain the neck, shoulders, back or arms
- Limited range of motion in the neck
You might not experience these symptoms immediately after the accident because the body often releases adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream. These are hormones that help to mask symptoms of a whiplash injury after a traumatic event like a car accident.
In some cases, symptoms of whiplash may not appear for hours or days after the collision.
Should I Hire An Attorney?
You are under no obligation or legal requirement to hire an attorney to pursue a personal injury claim for a whiplash injury.
However, building a case on your own is very difficult if you are dealing with a whiplash injury. The pain from the injury can make it difficult to concentrate.
The attorneys at our firm understand the pain and suffering that follows a whiplash injury. That is why we are prepared to handle every aspect of your claim, from the investigation to settlement negotiations and filing a personal injury lawsuit if necessary.
We can help you compile all of the relevant evidence, including medical records, police reports, and photographs of your injuries and the scene of the accident.
Our skilled attorneys can advise you every step of the way as we try to build a strong claim that gives you a chance of obtaining fair compensation.
Steps To Take After A Whiplash Injury
There are several things you should do after suffering a whiplash injury if you intend to obtain compensation:
Seek Medical Attention As Soon As Possible
If the accident was severe enough, emergency medical professionals will likely be dispatched to the scene of the crash.
If this does not happen, you need to seek medical treatment right away. If you are able, take yourself to a hospital. Otherwise, have a friend or family member transport you there so you can be examined by a qualified medical professional.
A doctor should be able to identify all of the injuries you suffered, regardless of the symptoms you may or may not be experiencing.
Not only will this put you on the path to recovery, it will also demonstrate the seriousness of your claim to the other driver’s insurance company.
Unfortunately, insurance companies are often skeptical about the seriousness of whiplash claims. They are even more suspicious about it if the victim waits to seek medical treatment. When this happens, insurers often think victims are just trying to get money and their injuries were caused by something other than the accident.
Follow The Treatment Plan
Before you leave the hospital or doctor’s office, the doctor will explain your treatment plan. This could include taking prescription medications, undergoing further tests, meeting with a specialist or undergoing physical therapy.
It is extremely important to follow the doctor’s orders. Go to every appointment the doctor requests and do all the testing he or she wants done.
This should help improve your chances of making a full recovery. It will also demonstrate the severity of your claim to the insurance company.
Although insurance companies are businesses that are focused on their bottom lines, the claims process does not have to be contentious. Seeking immediate treatment and following the doctor’s orders can help reduce the chances of contentious negotiations. This can help improve your odds of recovering fair compensation.
Obtain Relevant Medical Documents
Keep detailed records of receipts and bills for every medical appointment, test or other medical expense related to the treatment of your injury. If your claim is successful, you may receive compensation to cover those expenses.
You also need to obtain copies of your medical records from all of the doctors you see, including test results, prescriptions and doctor’s notes. These will document all of the injuries you suffered.
If possible, you should also obtain medical records from before the crash. This will show the change in your condition from after the crash and help demonstrate your injuries are not the result of a preexisting condition.
File A Car Insurance Claim Immediately
Some insurance companies have deadlines for filing claims, so it is important to quickly contact the insurer after the crash.
Explain that you were involved in an accident and are obtaining medical treatment. You can also provide the date, time and location of the crash.
However, you should try to be brief. The insurance company may try to get you to state your opinions on the crash or describe the severity of your injuries. You should respectfully decline to answer those questions.
The problem with stating opinions is that you could minimize your injuries or admit some level of fault for what happened. This could severely hurt your chances of recovering fair compensation.
The insurer will be able to look at your medical records, the police report and other evidence to determine the severity of your injuries and who was at fault for the crash.
If you are concerned about speaking with the insurance company after your initial conversation, you can have your attorney deal with the insurer from that point forward.
Contact Our Attorneys For A Free Legal Consultation
If you are suffering the effects of whiplash, contact the reputable personal injury lawyers in Cincinnati at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy for a free legal consultation.
We may be able to help you pursue a personal injury claim against the driver who caused the pain and suffering and other damages you are dealing with.
We take cases on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront costs and you will not be charged legal fees unless there is a favorable resolution of your claim.