Serious car accidents often inflict physical, emotional, and financial difficulties on a person’s life usually due to exorbitant bills associated with their injuries. Whiplash is one of the most common car accident injuries, affecting about 65% of all accident victims. The symptoms that initially accompany whiplash, such as lower back pain, neck pain, and headaches, often turn into chronic issues that persist for years. It has even been estimated that as many as 40% of whiplash victims never fully recover from their injuries. The most important thing you can do if you suspect a whiplash injury after a car accident is to seek immediate medical attention. Then, reach out to a Virginia Beach car accident lawyer from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free consultation regarding your potential injury claim.
What is Whiplash?
A common consequence of rear-end accidents, whiplash is the transfer of energy to the neck. The acceleration-deceleration forces that cause whiplash are strong enough to cause permanent disability. Even in a rear-end accident of 8 miles per hour, the head moves about 18 inches, at a force as high as 7 G’s, in under 0.25 seconds. For reference, the Discovery space shuttle was only built to withstand 3 G’s of force. What is even more surprising is that the energy transfer is not uniform. Accident victims are usually exposed to a force that is 2.5 times more powerful than that with which the vehicle was hit. A common and unfortunate misconception is that if the vehicle shows little to no damage, there should also be little to no injury. However, auto manufacturers’ use of stiff or rigid chassis and vehicle bodies combined with enhanced and upgraded bumper systems actually creates a greater G force for vehicle occupants, meaning minor damage can lead to greater personal injury.
What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?
After being involved in a car accident, many people tend to downplay the potential consequences, especially when their injuries are clearly not life-threatening. In addition to this, the body’s natural trauma response is a surge of adrenaline. Although this is an innate biological survival mechanism, adrenalin can also block any discomfort or pain. That could be dangerous since pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Even if you think you escaped unharmed, it is important to get medical attention after any car accident, no matter how minor.
In addition to generalized stiffness and neck pain, whiplash victims may also experience:
- Numbness or pain in the arms or hands
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty remembering or concentrating
- Lower back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Excessive fatigue
The majority of whiplash victims recover in just a few weeks after an accident. However, many victims continue to have serious pain and mobility issues for months or even years into the future. Along with the benefits to your health, seeking medical care will create an official record of your injuries that will be essential later on if you choose to explore your options for financial recovery.
How Can I Prove My Whiplash Claim?
You can file a personal injury lawsuit for whiplash, but due to Virginia’s contributory negligence laws, you will not be awarded any financial compensation unless you prove that the other driver was 100% liable for your injury. To successfully prove your claim, you must present evidence showing the other party caused your accident. If your argument for liability is unsuccessful, you will not be able to collect damages. Some common forms of evidence are:
- Police accident reports
- Eyewitness statements
- Pictures of the accident scene
- Expert testimony
- Medical records
Talk to an Experienced Attorney
Whiplash cases often require exhaustive research and analysis. There are many different factors to be considered, any one of which could impact the legal standing of your injury claim. If you were diagnosed with whiplash or any other serious injury after a car accident caused by a negligent driver, contact the reputable Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp right away. We can evaluate your potential claim, and seek full and fair financial compensation for your injuries as we did for our client who was awarded a $150,000 jury verdict following a rear-end accident. To schedule your free consultation, call us at (833) 997-1774 or fill out our online contact form. For your convenience, we have offices in Virginia Beach, Hampton, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Norfolk.
An experienced personal injury attorney with dual licensure in Virginia and North Carolina, Eric Washburn received a B.B.A. in Finance from James Madison University—initially worked in the information technology field before obtaining his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Once an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Danville, Va., Eric has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” Super Lawyer in Virginia since 2014.