Whiplash is a soft tissue injury that is as real as it is physically limiting and exceptionally painful. Whiplash injuries have been used as a trope in television shows and movies for so long that the idea of whiplash being somehow less serious or less real than other injuries has entered the collective unconscious, but this is far from the truth of the matter. If another driver’s negligence leaves you with whiplash, consult with an experienced car accident attorney in South Carolina today.
The Mayo Clinic shares that whiplash injuries are generally caused by the head whipping back and forth on the neck (much like a whip cracks) and that these injuries are commonly caused by the impact of rear-end car accidents (when the occupants of a forward car tend to be knocked back and forth). Ultimately, whiplash can lead to severe complications, including chronic neck pain and a severe decrease in range of motion.
Signs that It May be Whiplash
The following signs and symptoms can all relate to whiplash injuries:
- Stiffness and pain in your neck
- Pain in your neck that gets worse when you move your neck
- headaches (especially those that begin at the base of your skull)
- Lost range of motion in your neck
- Tingling or numbness in your arms
- Extreme fatigue
- Tenderness or outright pain in your shoulder, arms, or upper back
Additional signs that are less common but sometimes apply include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Increased irritability
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory lapses
- Blurred vision and ringing in the ears
- Bouts of depression
Every whiplash injury is utterly unique to the victim who suffers it. Still, an outcome that includes chronic pain is more likely when the symptoms of whiplash are intense, come on immediately, and are associated with a car accident involving high speed.
Treatment for whiplash is often a lengthy process that involves intensive physical therapy and pain management. If the injury is severe, treatment is likely to be ongoing.
It is important to note that a severe whiplash injury may not be immediately apparent. One of the more bedeviling aspects of whiplash is that it can sneak up on you, and some victims fail to associate the pain they experience with the precipitating car accident. Additionally, some sufferers experience bouts of pain that can intensify and diminish over time. The bottom line is that whiplash can haunt you into your future, and if you’ve been involved in a rear-end accident, seeking immediate medical attention (even if you don’t think you’ve been seriously injured) is the safest practice.
If you are experiencing any signs of whiplash, don’t delay seeking the medical attention that you need and consulting with an experienced car crash lawyer in South Carolina.
While rear-end accidents are often thought of as little more than nuisances, they are some of the most common and most dangerous accidents on our roads. The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that in 2019, there were 2,346 fatal rear-end accidents, which accounts for 7.1 percent of all fatal accidents that year. Rear-end accidents happen all too often and are all too dangerous. And even what we think of as relatively minor rear-end accidents can lead to serious whiplash injuries.
Common Causes of Rear-End Accidents
While a rear-end accident can have nearly any cause, the most common causes include specific kinds of driver negligence.
Texting and other smartphone activities are the deadliest distractions, and they are closely associated with rear-end accidents. Texting engages the driver’s hands, vision, and thought processes, making it a three-tiered distraction that leaves our roads far less safe. When a motorist is driving at highway speeds and takes a timeout from paying adequate attention for the approximately five seconds it takes to send a text, that driver travels about the length of a football field with their eyes off the road, and that is five seconds too long to be driving blind. Distracted drivers’ attention is elsewhere, which leaves them especially susceptible to not noticing what is happening with traffic and to going headlong into the back of vehicles ahead of them.
Impaired drivers experience cognitive lapses in addition to sensory and physical deficits that make reacting safely to the traffic all around them far more difficult and rear-end accidents far more likely. Although the danger associated with drunk driving is well known, many motorists refuse to give the life-threatening practice a pass.
Drowsy drivers suffer impaired powers of concentration (and some of the other impairments associated with drunk drivers), which makes them hazardous drivers. Certain physical conditions, such as sleep apnea, make driving under the influence of exhaustion far more likely. Because drowsy drivers have a hard time focusing, they’re more susceptible to running into cars in front of them.
Drivers who exceed the speed limit – or drive too fast about whatever is happening on the road – are responsible for some of the most dangerous accidents out there. Excess speed severely limits the amount of time a driver has to react to dangers on the road and plays a critical role in exactly how serious any ensuing accident will be. Every motorist is responsible for driving at a speed that takes impediments to safety into account, including:
- Shifting traffic patterns
- Road construction
- The effects of bad weather
- Low visibility
- Poorly maintained roadways
Aggressive drivers tend to race headlong toward danger, and they often engage in more than one dangerous form of negligence at any given time, including:
- Speeding excessively
- Passing dangerously (even passing on the shoulder if the spirit moves them)
- Refusing to yield the right-of-way
- Darting in and out of traffic
- Attempting to engage other drivers by yelling or gesturing at them, by honking incessantly, by flashing their headlights, or by engaging in any other threatening behaviors
- Slowing down in the middle of traffic for no discernable reason
- Ignoring traffic signs, signals, and lights
Engaging with overtly aggressive drivers is exceptionally dangerous. Always avoid eye contact and do not otherwise engage. When it is safe to do so, alerting the authorities is well-advised – you might help stop a deadly accident from happening.
The Accident that Leaves You Injured
If you’ve suffered a whiplash injury in a rear-end accident, you will file your car accident claim with the rear driver’s insurance company. Generally, unless there are extenuating circumstances involved, the rear driver is responsible for a rear-end accident. While fault is typically established, the insurance company is likely to cast doubt on the severity of your injuries and attendant damages, which makes ensuring that you do the following that much more important:
- Seek the medical attention you need as soon after the accident as possible
- Follow your doctor’s instructions and advice very carefully
- Don’t comment about the rear-end accident at the scene (unless the attending officer asks you direct questions)
- Consult with an experienced car crash attorney in South Carolina as soon after the accident as possible
- Refrain from posting on social media while your car accident claim is pending
The car insurance company is waiting for you to misstep so that it can cast doubt on the integrity of your claim. Further, the insurance company is not ashamed to twist your comments and posts into evidence in its favor (even if this is a stretch at best). By following the simple steps above, you provide them with few opportunities to do so.
Your Associated Damages
The damages that are commonly associated with whiplash are severe.
Your Medical Costs
Whiplash often leads to the need for ongoing care that tends to include intensive pain management and physical therapy – both of which can help you manage the effects but may never completely alleviate the problem.
Your Decrease in Earnings
The excruciating pain and decrease in range of motion associated with whiplash can leave you off the job for a considerable amount of time. This is especially true if you do heavy physical labor, but whiplash can affect your ability to perform your job even if your work is desk-based. Further, whiplash can have long-term effects that keep you off the job for long stretches that translate to a significant decrease in earnings.
Pain and Suffering
Whiplash is very closely associated with ongoing pain that is difficult to treat effectively, leading to serious emotional consequences that make the injury that much more serious.
An Experienced Car Accident Attorney in South Carolina Is Standing by to Help
The trusted South Carolina car accident lawyers at David Aylor Law Offices recognize the serious nature of your injury – along with the difficulties you are facing – and we are committed to skillfully advocating for your claim’s most favorable resolution. Please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 843-733-7662 today to schedule a free case evaluation.