Whiplash is one of the most common injuries reported in Virginia car accidents. While some whiplash injuries are relatively minor, many others can lead to debilitating physical, emotional, and financial effects for weeks, months, or years after a wreck.
If you suffer from serious whiplash symptoms and overwhelming medical expenses – and the accident that injured you was someone else’s fault – you could be eligible for significant financial compensation.
At the law firm of Arrington Schelin, our Virginia whiplash lawyers have more than 40 years of experience providing attentive and assertive legal representation to injured people in need. Let us put our experience to work on your case when you contact us today for a free consultation.
What Is a Whiplash Injury?
The term “whiplash” refers to a type of injury that affects the neck and upper back. Whiplash injuries occur when sharp, violent movements rapidly whip the head and neck back and forth, causing damage to nearby bones, nerves, and soft tissues.
Some people erroneously think of whiplash as a minor injury. In reality, it is often incredibly painful and may affect accident victims for months or years after the crash. A severe case of whiplash can disrupt your daily life, prevent you from doing things independently, and cause you to miss work – not to mention causing extensive pain and suffering.
Symptoms of a Whiplash Injury
Whiplash can be caused by traffic collisions, falls, sports accidents, physical abuse, and other violent incidents that inflict trauma to the head and neck. In most cases, whiplash victims develop symptoms within several days of the injury. Symptoms may include:
- Pain and stiffness in the neck and upper back
- Inability to move the neck without feeling pain
- Headaches that linger near the base of the skull
- Soreness in the shoulders, arms, and upper back
- Tingling or numb sensations in the arms
- Unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances, and dizziness
- Unusual ringing in the ears
- Blurred vision
- Problems with memory and concentration
- Problems with irritability and depression
How Do You Treat Whiplash After a Car Accident?
When medical providers see crash-related whiplash injuries, they typically recommend one or more of the following treatments:
- Immobilization – Immobilization involves resting the body and stabilizing the neck with a foam collar to promote healing and restore a full range of motion.
- Thermal therapy – Thermal or temperature therapy involves the application of hot or cold packs that relieve pain and tension in soft tissues.
- Medication – Physicians might recommend prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications like muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatories for pain relief.
- Physical therapy – Physical therapy involves movement-based treatment plans designed to improve the range of motion, relieve pain, and improve strength.
What Happens When You Get Whiplash in a Car Accident?
The prevalence of whiplash injuries in car accidents is due to the physics inherent in a motor vehicle collision. When a vehicle traveling at speed collides with another object, the vehicle abruptly stops a fraction of a second before its occupants do. As a result, occupants are still hurtling forward at the time of impact and are then flung backward by contact with seatbelts, airbags, or dashboards.
This powerful back-and-forward motion effectively cracks the spinal cord like a whip, sending shock waves through the surrounding muscles, nerves, and other soft tissues.
Many crash victims experience surges of adrenaline right after an accident, which masks the body’s pain signals. Because of this adrenaline rush, it is common for victims to feel “fine” immediately after an accident and not notice whiplash symptoms for several days.
How Do You Prove a Whiplash Injury in Virginia?
If you plan to file a whiplash claim after a Virginia car accident, you must be able to prove that your injuries are the result of someone else’s actions. Whiplash injuries are especially difficult to prove because they are invisible, unlike broken bones or burns, for example. You may need the following types of evidence to support and prove your claim:
- Medical documentation, including records of things like medical exams, diagnostic test results, prescription medications, and physical therapy sessions
- Crash-related evidence, including photos or video footage of the collision, official crash reports, and statements from reliable eyewitnesses
- Financial documentation, including hospital bills and other proof of medical expenses, as well as proof of lost wages from missed time at work
- Expert testimony, including analysis from medical experts, accident reconstruction specialists, occupational therapists, and others
What Compensation Is Recoverable for a Whiplash Accident in Virginia?
A successful whiplash injury claim can provide you with monetary compensation for the following crash-related losses:
- Medical expenses you have incurred due to the whiplash injury
- Reduced earnings from any time you miss work due to whiplash
- Projected losses in earning potential, if you miss work opportunities
- Subjective losses, such as the pain and suffering you have endured
Filing a Whiplash Claim After a Virginia Accident
Proving a whiplash injury claim is challenging. It’s always best to begin the filing process as soon as possible when the evidence is fresh.
You can get a head start on your whiplash injury claim by:
- Seeking prompt medical attention and obtaining a professional diagnosis
- Following your doctor’s care plan and attending all follow-up appointments
- Gathering evidence from the crash scene, including photos, video footage, insurance information, crash reports, and eyewitness statements
- Keeping your medical bills, proof of lost wages, and other crash-related evidence together in a secure and accessible location
- Keeping a journal to record observations about the pain and personal limitations you experience as a result of your whiplash injury over time
- Discussing your case with a trusted attorney before you speak to anyone else
Contact a Whiplash Lawyer in Virginia for Help Today
If you suffered a whiplash injury in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, get in touch with Arrington Schelin today. You could be owed compensation for your medical and other losses, and time is of the essence. Our compassionate Virginia whiplash attorneys can answer your questions and evaluate your case at no charge during a free consultation session.