Almost every car accident is a traumatic event for all parties involved. The amount of force exerted between two colliding vehicles is usually enough to injure both drivers to some degree, and many of the most common car accident injuries are readily apparent immediately following the incident.
There are cases, however, where drivers who have sustained otherwise “minor” injuries are suddenly in debilitating pain days (or weeks) after a car accident took place. This is most common with whiplash, defined as an injury caused by a sudden, sharp whipping movement of the head or neck. In these instances, are you still eligible to recover compensation for a personal injury discovered days (or weeks) after an accident took place?
What are the Symptoms of Whiplash, and How Is It Diagnosed?
Whiplash-related injuries often present themselves within a day of the accident taking place, but may take longer to show depending on the severity of the injury. Some of the most common symptoms of whiplash include:
- Pain and stiffness of the neck;
- Headaches at the base of the skull;
- Blurred vision; and
Some other, less common (but still serious) whiplash symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering;
- Ringing in the ear;
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep;
- Irritability; and
- Chronic neck or shoulder pain.
A doctor will attempt to diagnose whiplash by first asking questions about your injury, the accident and the pain or other symptoms you are experiencing, followed by a series of tests to determine your range of motion and to see if other signs of whiplash are present (such as inflammation).
If whiplash is determined to be the cause of your pain, treatment can begin to resolve the injury as soon as it is detected.
Am I Eligible For Legal Compensation If My Injury Wasn’t Noticed Until Later?
Even if your whiplash-related injuries were not readily noticeable until well after an accident took place, you may still be eligible to recover legal compensation from the responsible driver by filing a personal injury claim. Once your doctor has confirmed your injury, you should plan on starting the claim process as soon as possible.
Understanding how whiplash is viewed by lawmakers and insurers alike can be a confusing endeavor to navigate, even for some lawyers. Fortunately, retaining an experienced whiplash attorney early in the process is usually in your best interest to give you the best chance at recovering compensation.
Whether or not your whiplash or whiplash-associated injuries are “severe,” it is critical to seek medical attention as soon after an accident as possible. Documenting all of your medical expenses related to your whiplash—from initial medical expenses to ongoing medical care—is recommended in case any of these costs are reimbursable to you as part of your compensation.
If your whiplash worsens, proper medical documentation is usually required in order to classify (or re-classify) your injury in order to recover the compensation you are eligible for. More importantly, this prevents insurance companies from accusing you of “faking it” for a settlement.
Filing a claim against the party responsible for your injury as soon as possible is the most important step to take; the sooner you file, the sooner you can be compensated.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Liability for whiplash will depend on the exact circumstances of the car accident you were involved in. Anyone who is experiencing severe pain or symptoms of whiplash after a car accident should seek medical attention immediately in order to rule out other conditions and begin a treatment plan.
In West Virginia, injured plaintiffs may be able to seek compensation for their medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and other accident-related costs from the driver responsible for their injuries. Because whiplash can result in lifelong complications, might require time off from work and can possibly require surgery, securing legal compensation for your injuries should be a number one priority after visiting a doctor.
At Johnstone & Gabhart, we are prepared to bring our expert, hands-on approach to your car accident claim in order to see that you are justly compensated for your car accident injuries. For more information, or to discuss your claim with one of our expert West Virginia personal injury attorneys, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.