Whiplash is a common injury after a car accident, but many whiplash victims have no idea they have whiplash until at least the next day after the crash. Because whiplash injuries may take some time to “set in” after a crash, these injuries often go undiscovered. As long as the injury was caused by the car crash, you can still seek compensation for it, even if you don’t notice the injury until days later. Miami car accident lawyer Prosper Shaked explains how whiplash cases work when you don’t discover whiplash until days after the car accident.
Signs of a Whiplash Injury After an Accident
Whiplash is an injury to the tendons and muscles in the neck and shoulders caused by a “whipping” back and forth motion of the head. These injuries are common in car accidents, especially rear-end collisions. Although your headrest works to stop your head from whipping backward, you can still face whiplash injuries from a sudden whipping forward and a quick return back to your normal position.
Whiplash is painful because of the traumatic stretching or tearing of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your neck. When you exercise and work your muscles, a similar phenomenon happens: muscles are stretched and lengthened. After both exercise and whiplash injuries, muscles, tendons, and ligaments use relaxation time (typically while you sleep) to shorten again. Once shortened and tightened, any motion or use of the body part can be painful, and your range of motion may be reduced.
Just like the day after a big workout, the day after receiving a whiplash injury might be the first time you notice the injury. Sometimes it may take even longer to set in, especially if the injury was not as severe. Because whiplash is a traumatic injury, the pain and stiffness are often much more severe than post-exercise muscle soreness. This pain and discomfort may make it impossible to go to work or go about your day the day after a car crash.
Delayed Whiplash Discovery in Car Accident Claims
When you go to court for your car accident injury case, you can typically claim any damages caused by the crash. Any medical bills you paid because of the car accident injuries can be claimed – but you must prove that the injuries were caused in the car crash to get compensation. Because whiplash is not always discovered until the day after a car crash or even longer afterward, the defendant in your case may try to argue that the whiplash was not related to the car crash.
If the defendant argues that the whiplash didn’t occur until the day after the crash, they may convince a jury that you suffered the whiplash in another injury or accident and they shouldn’t have to pay for it.
It is important to talk to an attorney as soon as you can after a car crash. Your attorney can help guide you on what to do after the crash to protect your claim. If you can, the next day or so after your accident should be spent receiving medical treatment and spending the rest of your time resting. If you don’t do anything after the accident, there is no other chance for an accident or another injury that the defendant can blame for the whiplash, and the jury should agree that the injury came from the car accident.
In addition, proactive monitoring from your doctor may be able to help discover the whiplash injury before the effects really set in. X-Rays or MRIs may reveal the injury before you really start feeling its effects, meaning that your doctor’s records can tie your injury more closely to the accident and help you prove the whiplash came from the car accident. Proactive early discovery can also help you start rehabilitation and medical treatment to prevent permanent or ongoing pain and discomfort from the injury.
Common Damages for Whiplash in a Car Accident Case
Because whiplash can be painful and affect your ability to move around comfortably without making the injury worse, it is often responsible for substantial medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Even though whiplash is not as “severe” injury as injuries like brain trauma and spinal cord injuries, it can still lead to substantial compensation.
Because your injury could affect you and cause pain and discomfort for the rest of your life, you may need medical imaging, rehabilitation, and ongoing physical therapy to help alleviate the symptoms. This can get expensive, but all of the medical bills should be paid by the driver who caused your injury.
If whiplash makes it hard to move around or turn your head without pain, you may need to take time off work. Most physical jobs will strain your neck while lifting or carrying, but other jobs like driving may also strain your neck while turning around to see, and you may need to miss work because of the injury. If you do, the wages you lose should be paid by the driver who caused the crash.
Lastly, the pain and suffering you face from whiplash can be severe and can last a long time. Many whiplash victims never fully recover and can even face pain, stiffness, and discomfort for the rest of their lives. This should also be compensated as pain and suffering damages.
Call Miami Whiplash Injury Lawyer Prosper Shaked for a Free Legal Consultation
If you or a loved one suffered a whiplash injury in a car crash in South Florida, call Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA today. Miami personal injury lawyer Prosper Shaked may be able to take your case and fight to get you compensation for whiplash injuries, even if you did not discover the symptoms until days after the injury. For a free legal consultation on your case, call our law offices today at (305) 694-2676.