Tips to Receive Compensation for Whiplash Injuries after a Car Accident in Richmond, Virginia
If you read the newspaper, watch the local news, or listen to the radio, then you know that auto accidents happen every day. Some car crashes are severe and cause death or permanent disability, while others seem minor at first. These “rear enders” and “fender benders” are often looked at as nothing more than inconveniences that cause traffic jams, minor property damage, and a day or two of soreness. These seemingly minor accidents, however, can cause severe injuries that reveal themselves later that day or even a few days after the collision.
The most common of these injuries is called Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD), or whiplash for short. Whiplash causes more than just temporary soreness or pain. It can lead to life-long problems that impact your ability to work and perform activities of daily living. If whiplash is not identified timely, you are at an increased risk of suffering long-term problems.
This article addresses how to tell if you have suffered a whiplash injury and what you should do to make sure you receive fair compensation for your damages and loss. Call Richmond car accident lawyer Corey Pollard if you have questions about your claim or legal rights. You may also be entitled to Virginia workers compensation if your auto accident happened while working.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash can happen if you experience a sudden jolt to the neck and shoulders, which causes the head and neck to hyper extend and hyper flex compared to the rest of your body. Car drivers and passengers are at greater risk of suffering whiplash because their bodies are restrained by a seat belt at the time of the crash.
The severity of your whiplash injury depends on the auto accident itself. The greater the speed and force of the crash, the greater the risk of suffering a severe whiplash injury. Most WAD cases involve sprains or tears to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck and shoulders.
How to Tell that You Suffered Whiplash
Whiplash can happen any type of car crash. Both drivers and passengers are wearing a seat belt. The seat belt holds the body in place, while the head, neck, and arms are free to move. When a car stops suddenly in an auto collision, or gets pushed forward because it was struck from behind, the body stops quickly because of the seat belt but the head and neck do not. Rear-end accidents are a common cause of whiplash accidents in Virginia.
At first you may feel fine after a car accident because of adrenaline and cortisol and the relief at not having any open, obvious wounds. But you should still receive medical treatment after an accident. These hormones may cover up injuries, including whiplash and traumatic brain injuries, that reveal themselves later.
You may have WAD if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Vision loss or impaired vision
- Ear ringing (tinnitus)
- Jaw pain
- Back, neck, or shoulder pain
Remember, it is best to seek medical attention right after a car crash. Doctors can perform diagnostic tests such as MRIs and CT scans to see if there was damage to your brain or spine.
What Medical Treatment Can I Receive for Whiplash after a Car Accident?
Read our article on how to treat whiplash after a car accident in Virginia for more information on getting the medical care you need.
Obtaining a Monetary Recovery after a Whiplash Injury
You can use Virginia’s civil laws to receive compensation for injuries and damage you suffer because of another’s negligence. Most car accidents are caused by negligence or unreasonable behavior that led to the crash. This is especially true in rear-end accidents that are responsible for many whiplash injuries in Virginia. If the driver who caused your accident was texting not paying attention to the road, driving drunk or speeding, then he or she may be held responsible for paying for the damages you suffered in the accident. This includes pain, suffering, lost wages, and medical bills related to your whiplash injury.
Take these Steps to Receive Compensation for Your Whiplash Injury
Your insurance company and the defendant driver’s insurance company play an important role in your case. If they act reasonably, then it will be relatively easy for you to obtain compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. Your personal injury attorney will work with you and try to negotiate a fair settlement. Don’t expect the insurance company to play fair though. Take the steps below to increase the chance you’ll receive a fair recovery for your whiplash injuries.
1. Get Medical Attention
Get medical treatment right away. Do not wait. By receiving immediate medical attention, you create a record that documents how serious your injuries were. This will be used in settlement negotiations. If there is a gap between the accident and the first time you received medical care, then the insurance company may argue that your injury is minor or did not happen. It will also lead to the insurance claims adjuster trying to find another cause for your injuries.
2. Keep Copies of Your Medical Records
After your car accident document everything and keep copies of all your documents, especially medical records. An insurance adjuster won’t take your word for it. You need underlying medical records, such as admission and discharge forms, diagnostic test results, and doctor’s office notes to prove you’re injured to the extent alleged. You should also continue to treat to have the best chance at receiving fair compensation for your whiplash injuries.
3. Take Photographs of the Accident Scene and Write Down Witness Information
Pictures, witness statements, and police reports are the best way to show that another person was responsible for your auto accident. Having photos and contact information for helpful witnesses can help you meet your burden of proof or persuade the insurance company to offer a reasonable settlement for your WAD. You should also write down everything you remember soon after the accident so that you can refresh your memory later.
4. Act Quickly
When it comes to documenting the accident scene, getting medical attention, and obtaining legal representation – you should always act quickly. Waiting will not help your case. The legal process starts with filing a claim with an insurance company. From there you will soon find out if liability is disputed and what you will need to do to obtain a fair award of damages for your whiplash injuries.
Have a question about your accident? Call Virginia whiplash injury lawyer Corey Pollard for a free consultation.