What to Do After Getting Whiplash in a Car Accident

It seems counterintuitive that one of the most common car accident injuries continues to go untreated — i.e., whiplash. During the moments and even hours after an automobile crash, people feel a rush of adrenaline that can mask soft-tissue injuries. That leads too many people to wait days, even weeks, before seeking medical treatment. Such delays can worsen medical conditions and provide the negligent driver a way to avoid paying damages.

If you or a family member has been in a collision, we urge our New York City area community members to promptly seek medical treatment and then call a reliable car accident lawyer. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Kaplan Law PC would also like to share some insights about what to do after getting whiplash in a car accident.

How Does Whiplash Happen in a Car Accident?

The most frequent cause of whiplash involves getting struck from behind in a car, truck, or SUV. The accelerating force of a careless driver makes a hard impact to someone’s rear bumper. The sudden jolt typically causes the head and neck of the driver and passengers to violently snap backward and then forward, or vice versa.

Depending on how fast the at-fault driver was moving, the subsequent whiplash injury to the soft tissue of the neck and spine can range from mild to severe. This sudden and unexpected thrashing of the neck and upper spine usually strains the muscles and ligaments. It’s not out of the realm of possibility to suffer a debilitating bulging disc or fractured vertebrae.

What are Telltale Signs You Have Whiplash?

Medical professionals sometimes distinguish between neck strains and sprains. From a treatment and care perspective, strains involve soft tissue injuries. Issues such as a fractured vertebra are usually considered sprains. But for practical purposes and securing compensation for a victim’s losses, whiplash serves as an umbrella term that involves strains and sprains. If you or a loved one was in a car accident, these are telltale signs of a whiplash injury.

  • Tightness in the neck
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Knotted muscles or tissue swelling
  • Fatigue and dizziness
  • Neck pain, discomfort, or tenderness
  • Pain or numbness that spreads to the arms and fingers
  • A headache that radiates from the skull’s base.

According to the Mayo Clinic, some whiplash victims even experience blurred vision, sleeplessness, memory loss, ringing in the ears, and depression, among others. It’s also important to keep in mind that some people are more at risk than others. For instance, people who sustained a lower back or spinal injury in the past remain at heightened risk. The same holds true of our valued elders and community members with underlying conditions. The essential point is that no two whiplash injuries are precisely the same.

How Long Does Whiplash Last After an Accident?

In minor whiplash cases, the pain and discomfort subside within three months of the rear-impact collision. The bad news for people struggling with only soft tissue injuries is that most conditions persist much longer. Answering the question of how long does whiplash last after an accident often proves complicated. It usually depends on factors such as the following:

  • Negligent driver’s rate of speed
  • Severity of the soft tissue injury
  • Presence of fractured vertebrae
  • Presence of a bulging disc
  • Health and fitness of the injured person
  • Previous injuries to neck, head, or back.

Many people indicate they struggle with the troubling effects for more than a year after the car accident. If you or a family member sustained a fractured vertebra or bulging disc, that level of neck impairment could negatively affect your quality of life indefinitely.

What to Do After Getting Whiplash in a Car Accident

The moments after impact are critical to outcomes that involve health, well-being, and securing compensation for your losses. Even if you feel fine following a rear-end collision, always seek medical attention and get a diagnosis from a professional.

Confusion, shock, and the human body’s natural response to release adrenaline can mask even severe injuries. Taking time to have a physician examine you after your emotions have fully settled remains critical to recovery. The following checklist involves other steps you should take after suffering whiplash to ensure the other driver doesn’t evade responsibility.

  • Remain seated until the ambulance arrives, if possible.
  • Turn on your hazard lights.
  • Call the police for assistance.
  • Have someone take photos of the accident scene.
  • Collect eyewitness contact information, if possible.
  • Gather information regarding the location, street signs, and stop lights, etc.
  • Get the negligent driver’s license number, plate, and insurance information.
  • Do not take the blame on yourself or make statements of fault.

In incidents that seem like only minor accidents that do not necessarily require police involvement, remain at the scene until all parties agree to leave. Failing to stay at the location when law enforcement arrives could result in a criminal charge. It could also create an impediment to getting fair compensation. And keep in mind that it’s also crucial to contact a New York City personal injury lawyer to ensure everything possible is being done to protect your health, wellness, and financial security.

How Long Does a Whiplash Victim Have to File a Claim?

Under New York Civil Practice Law & Rules, an injured person generally has up to three years to file civil litigation. The clock starts ticking at the time of the accident or incident that resulted in the whiplash injury. The three-year statute of limitations applies to a broad range of personal injuries. If you or a loved one missed the deadline, there are some narrow exceptions that may apply. These include the following:

  • The injured person was disabled at the time of the incident.
  • The injured person was a minor at the time of the accident.
  • The negligent party fled the state after causing the harm.

People who allow the time limit to lapse often lose their ability to secure damages. That means victims incur lost wages, diminished earning capacity, medical bills, and negatively impacted lives, while the responsible individual walks away.

Contact An Experienced NYC Whiplash Lawyer

If you or a loved one sustained a whiplash injury due to someone else’s carelessness, it’s crucial to promptly contact an experienced personal injury law firm. It would be fundamentally unfair for a careless driver to cause pain, suffering, lost wages, and diminished quality of life, and avoid responsibility. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Kaplan Law work diligently to get injured community members the full, fair compensation they deserve. Call us today at (516) 399-2364 and schedule a free whiplash consultation.

Table of Contents

Archives