San Diego Whiplash Injury Lawyer
Every year, 1.5 out of 3 million whiplash injury car accident victims suffer from chronic pain in the US, according to the Spine Research Institute of San Diego statistics.
If you are experiencing neck pain and stiffness after being involved in a car accident, you need to seek medical attention immediately. Whiplash injuries can start small but gradually develop into chronic pain and discomfort. Having to deal with insurance companies and filing a personal injury claim while recovering from such severe injuries for a prolonged period is difficult.
Shamon law has been practicing expertise in standing up for whiplash injury accidents for years. We aim to counsel you on your rights and represent you to acquire a fair claim. This blog will walk you through everything you need to know about such accidents and hiring a San Diego whiplash injury lawyer.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash injury is an outcome of the forceful bending caused by the head’s forward and backward continuous swinging, as defined by John Hopkins Medicine. It affects the muscles, nerves, tendons and discs of the neck and shoulders. The severity of a whiplash injury depends on how forcibly or aggressively the head was thrown back and forth.
Even minor impacts can result in mild whiplash symptoms. Severe whiplash injuries can damage the neck and shoulder muscles in the long run and cause further health deterioration.
What Are Whiplash Injury Symptoms?
If you suffer from mild to severe neck or shoulder pain after a car accident, immediately visit a doctor to check for a whiplash injury. In most cases, the pain starts with occasional small aches and can magnify if not treated on time.
Some common symptoms of whiplash injury are
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Neck and shoulder stiffness
- Lower or upper back pain
- Ringing sound in the ears
- Blurry vision
- Numbness and pain in the hands and arms
- Dizziness, fatigue and sleeplessness.
What are the common causes of Whiplash Injury?
The most common cause of whiplash injury is car accidents. When sudden and forceful acceleration or deceleration is caused to a vehicle, the force is bound to move someone sitting inside a vehicle. Such acceleration or deceleration happens in rear-end accidents when a vehicle forcefully crashes head-first with the vehicle in the front.
When an individual is seated inside the car, their body stays still because of the seatbelt. But the head and neck have no protection. They are vulnerable and moved more strongly by the forceful impact. It causes the head and neck to swing, or ‘whip’, back and forth. When the head is swung backwards, hyperextension of the neck muscles occurs, and when it comes forward, Hyperflexion occurs. The muscles are severely damaged by a repeated cycle of hyperextension and hyperflexion, causing adverse injuries and chronic pain.
According to the Spine Research Institute of San Diego, whiplash injuries can happen in accidents involving cars speeding below 12 mph.
How is Whiplash Diagnosed?
Whiplash injuries are diagnosed based on the following tests:
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
- CT scan (Computed Tomography scan)
- Previous medical records, or health conditions.
How is a whiplash injury treated?
Most whiplash injuries tend to ease down within two to four weeks of the accident. However, chronic conditions can take quite a while to recover. The treatment method differs depending on the age of the victim, past medical conditions, the accident’s severity and the level of pain.
Here are some common treatments for whiplash injury:
- Applying ice in the first 24 hours of injury
- Gentle movement exercise
- Neck collar (cervical collar)
- Physical therapy
The importance of seeking medical attention for a whiplash injury
Initially, a mild whiplash injury seems tolerable. But the pain can increase with time. You must seek medical treatment following any type of car accident to treat invisible wounds or prevent future health injuries as an outcome of the accident. Mild to chronic whiplash injury demands medical attention.
According to research published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, whiplash injuries can result in long-term adverse health problems along with chronic neck and shoulder pain. A doctor specializing in soft-tissue damage can identify the level of injury and predict whether it will worsen or recover in the near future. Based on that, treatment is provided.
Furthermore, medical reports and doctor’s notes are vital evidence when filing a personal injury claim against a defendant’s insurance company for your whiplash injury. Without an authorized doctor’s note, it is your words against the insurance company’s words, and your injury has no proof to back it up.
What to Do After a Whiplash Injury Accident?
If you are lost about what to do or where to go after being involved in a whiplash injury accident, we have briefly compiled three immediate and most important steps you must take.
Step 1: Seek medical help
As discussed earlier, the first and most important step is seeking medical help. Even when the injury doesn’t seem as severe to get to the hospital, you must get your injuries checked or set an appointment for a regular health checkup to prevent any long-term accidental injuries.
Step 2: Report the accident to the authority.
In California, any accident involving personal injury or fatal injuries must be reported to police or the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) within 5 days of the accident, according to the Vehicle Code CVC § 20008. It is the responsibility of the involved parties, or witnesses, to call the authorities. However, we suggest you make the call yourself after your injury is cared for to ensure that the accident is being reported.
Step 3: Gather evidence to investigate the accident.
The medical, police, CHP, and DMV reports are the most important and concrete evidence of the accident. At this stage, we advise you to consult a whiplash injury attorney, explaining the accident and the injury to them. Your attorney will review your case, educate you on your legal rights and determine whether you need to hire one to represent you and negotiate for you. If the case involves complex fault distribution, comparative negligence, weak surficial evidence or extended insurance policies, it is better to hire a San Diego Car accident lawyer.
An attorney will help you gather more evidence, assess the case to determine faults and calculate a fair settlement amount for the compensation of your injuries and damages. They will do all the paperwork for you and negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company to help you win fair compensation. They will help you build a solid case and file a lawsuit to take the dispute to court if there are disagreements.
Compensation for Your San Diego Whiplash Injury
There are compensations for three types of damages of a Whiplash injury accident in San Diego:
- Economic Damages
Economic damages cover the compensation for direct expenses brought to you as an outcome of the accident. It can be medical bills, property repairs, loss of wages at work, medication expenses, therapy fees, etc. Initially, you may have to cover them out of your personal budget or insurance. San Diego has medical liens facility to cover medical expenses temporarily.
You will receive the insurance money from the at-fault party’s insurance company which is intended to cover such direct expenses. The amount depends on where you stand in terms of fault sharing of the accident and the severity of your injury.
- Non-economic damages
Non-economic damages are compensation for the accident’s outcome that is irreplaceable and immeasurable, such as pain and suffering. While no money can take back the pain you had to sustain, the compensation amount is intended to balance the suffering with a different form of benefit. Non-economic damages are calculated based on the severity of the whiplash injury and the pain level. Depending on that, the amount for economic damages is multiplied by a number between 1.5 to 5.
- Punitive damages
Punitive damage compensation does not intend to cover any form of loss of the plaintiff. Instead, it is a punishment ordered by the court to the defendant. Such charges are seen in cases where the accident was caused by negligence or intentional tort of the defendant. In most cases, they had the chance and the choice to avoid the accident from happening. Still, they chose to disregard others’ safety in their actions.
Contact a Top-Rated San Diego Whiplash Injury Attorney Today
Dealing with insurance companies and compensation amounts while sustaining the reckoning pain of a whiplash injury can be an overwhelming experience for anyone. You may be swarmed with paperwork, and settlement offers at a time when your body demands rest. More often than not, insurance companies take advantage of your vulnerable situation. They might lure you into agreeing with a lower settlement than you deserve.
A San Diego whiplash injury attorney will help you understand your case and guide you through the documentation process, collecting proof and negotiating a fair settlement. If your case is more complicated, hiring an injury attorney will increase the chances of collecting more solid evidence to back you up and win a deserved settlement.
We at Shamon law have a team of professionals with years of experience handling whiplash injury-related accident cases. We believe everyone deserves a strong representation to stand up for them when they suffer from someone else’s fault.
Final Thought / Conclusions
Whether you are feeling lost after being involved in an accident or your defendant’s insurance company is forcing an unsatisfying amount on you, consulting with a San Diego whiplash injury lawyer is an important step.
The Whiplash accident lawyer will guide you to rightfully handling your personal injury claim for fair compensation to treat all your losses. You will also have stronger legal support when things get complicated during negotiations, and the case has to end with a lawsuit.
Every whiplash injury accident deserves to be taken care of in a manner that is fair to all parties. We are here to help you understand your situation and walk you through every aspect unique to your case. Contact us for a free consultation today.
San Diego Whiplash Injury Lawyer FAQs
Yes, you can file a personal injury claim if you suffer from whiplash injury in a car accident.
The defendant party/s of the accident is liable for a whiplash injury.
Most whiplash injuries are caused in rear-end accidents where a car crashes head-first with the car in the front. The driver of the car in the back is the defendant for their negligence or speeding on a busy road. But in some cases, the accident is caused by the car in the front suddenly hits the brake.
In a Whiplash injury claim, you can recover compensation for economic damages such as medical expenses, property repair expenses, medication, and therapy, along with non-economic expenses such as compensation for your pain and suffering.
Whiplash injury results in mild to chronic pain and expensive treatment. It is important to seek legal representation to file a proper claim to the defendant’s insurance company and negotiate for a fair settlement amount. A lawyer has the skills and experience to gather concrete evidence to back your injuries and talk to an insurance company to prevent any misuse of the situation. If the settlement doesn’t go as planned, you need a lawyer to file a lawsuit, build a case, and represent you in court against the defendant’s insurance company.
Yes, depending on how forcibly the impact was made, the severity of the injury can take longer to heal, and you might witness long-term adverse health problems that involve chronic neck and shoulder pain.