Whiplash Injury Attorney
If you have sustained a whiplash injury and someone else is to blame, you may be eligible for financial reimbursement if your whiplash injury satisfies the New York State “Serious Injury” Threshold (Article 51 of NYS Insurance Law a/k/a “No-fault Law”).
You do not have to suffer in silence. A Rochester whiplash lawyer is waiting to help you garner the maximum claim to which you are entitled to under the law.
What is a Whiplash?
According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash is an injury to the neck that occurs when a forceful, aggressive, rapid whipping motion causes the neck to crack like a whip. Sometimes, it is referred to as a neck strain or a sprain. Though those terms cover all neck injuries, whiplash is more specific because of the motion that causes it.
How Do Whiplash Injuries Occur?
There are multiple ways to suffer a whiplash injury. Some of the more common ways that they happen are as follows:
- Being rear-ended in an automobile is the most common cause of whiplash neck injuries.
- Physical assaults can cause whiplash. It is often seen in shaken baby syndrome. When an abused victim is shaken or punched, it can result in a neck injury.
- Contact sports are to blame for some whiplash injuries. Forceful impacts like those that occur in football or boxing result in whiplashes.
- Amusement park rides, particularly rollercoasters, can cause riders to suffer whiplash.
If you have suffered whiplash, it is essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible. If the injury was caused by a negligent party, you must contact a Rochester, NY, whiplash injury attorney.
Symptoms of a Whiplash Injury
If you have suffered a whiplash injury, you likely have struggled with some of the following symptoms:
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Lower back pain
- Stiffness in the neck and shoulders
- Pain that extends to the arms and hands
- Hands and arms may experience numbness
- Vision can be affected and often blurry.
- Ear ringing
- Trouble with mental focus
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of range of motion
- Headaches that typically begin at the base of the skull
- Numbness and pain in the legs
Your healthcare provider will assess your symptoms, run tests, and possibly diagnose you with whiplash. Your Rochester whiplash injury lawyer must examine your doctor’s notes to determine whether your whiplash injury meets the “Serious Injury” threshold. How is Whiplash Diagnosed?
Your doctor will want to know your medical history and administer a physical examination. Often whiplash is a soft tissue injury, so the damage will not be evident on diagnostic imaging.
These are typical examples of how whiplash injuries are analyzed:
- X-rays are the go-to when looking for whiplash injuries. Images of the tissues and organs, and bones can be seen on X-ray film.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnets and a computer to show organs and soft tissue in elaborate detail.
- Computer tomography scans (CT) can be used to identify whiplash injuries. “Slices” of the body are created through the use of computers and X-rays so that bones and organs, muscles, and fat can be analyzed in detail.
How is a Whiplash Treatment Plan Established?
The treatment for whiplash varies by individual. Your medical professional will consider your health prior to the accident and your medical history. They will also examine you to determine the extent of the injury. Tolerance for medications, therapies, and the possibility of procedures that may be helpful will be taken into account.
Your doctor will develop a treatment plan based on the combined information.
How is Whiplash Typically Treated?
Treatments can vary based upon the extent of the whiplash and the medical professional’s opinion, but the following are some common treatments:
- Application of ice packs.
- Use of a cervical collar. It goes around the neck to relieve stress on the neck.
- Prescription of Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) to help with the pain due to swelling.
- Prescription of muscle relaxants
- Pain management injections if the pain and discomfort is particularly severe.
- Osteopathic manipulation therapy with a designated osteopath can help with whiplash injuries.
- Physical therapy (PT)
- In severe cases sometimes surgery.
Lasting Effects of a Whiplash
When a whiplash occurs, the neck (cervical spine) moves unnaturally. Hyperflexing and hyperextending can cause discs in the spine, particularly in the neck, to rupture or bulge. Tears may occur as well. Sometimes, the roots of the nerves of the spinal cord become inflamed from being stretched during a car accident.
Whiplash could lead to chronic pain, causing limited range of motion, neck pain, and discomfort that radiates into the arms and hands.
Some contributing factors are:
- Prior whiplash injury
- Advanced age
- Pre-existing or prior low back or neck pain
- Injuries that take place at higher speeds
When analyzing whether a whiplash injury satisfies the “Serious Injury” threshold , the extent of the injury and treatment received will be used to determine whether an injured party is entitled to compensation. Your whiplash injury lawyers in Rochester, NY, have the necessary experience to maximize the benefits you may be entitled to.
Who is Liable for a Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash injuries are commonly sustained in car accidents. For example, the force of being rear-ended by another vehicle causes the neck to move quickly forward and then back in a whip-like motion.
Kammholz Ross PLLC understands personal injury law and how to determine whether your whiplash injury can satisfy the New York “Serious Injury” threshold under the law. If you are hit from behind by another car, it is not your fault. The driver behind you should have been paying attention and driving more carefully. We are ready to work hard for you by conducting a thorough investigation, such as:
- We will examine the Police accident report
- We will speak to witnesses and analyze their testimony
- We may re-create the accident to get to the bottom of what happened if necessary
- We will review any digital information that might help, such as photographs, videos, or GPS information.
We will take the information that we gather and build a strong case so that you are compensated for your injuries by the liable person’s insurance company. We will not be satisfied until you receive fair and reasonable compensation.
What Damages can one Expect From a Whiplash Injury Claim?
If the whiplash was sustained in a car accident, the repairs or replacement of the car (property damage) would likely be the first and easiest claim to settle. The insurance adjusters will examine the vehicle and assign a value to repair or replace it.
Other damages may include:
- Medical bills
- Ambulance bills
- Emergency room visits
- Physical or osteotherapy
- Loss of income or wages for time lost from work
- Loss of future wages
- Loss of enjoyment of life is a complex claim to prove and may require the testimony of friends and family or photos and videos. But, it is a genuine and painful aspect of a whiplash injury.
- Loss of consortium can be requested on behalf of the spouse if the injury complicates intimacy or ends activities that were previously enjoyed together.
- Property damages may apply if, for instance, surfboards were on a rack on top of the car and were crushed when the negligent motorist’s vehicle crashed into you.
- Psychological (mental) Damages are sometimes a result of motor vehicle accidents. The sufferer may experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, depression, anxiety, fear of driving, and other crippling mental health issues.
- Pain and Suffering are hard to put a monetary value on but are intense after a whiplash, so they need to be factored in.
After speaking to your whiplash accident attorneys, it will be apparent if there are other damages you may need to request when filing your injury claim. We can do the work of dealing with insurance companies while you focus on healing.
Whiplash is Difficult to Prove
Insurance companies are very suspicious of people claiming to have suffered a whiplash. While it is a common injury, it is sometimes added to insurance claims fraudulently. Because of this, insurance companies are wary when it comes to paying settlements to people who have experienced whiplash injuries.
Insurance companies are particularly wary of claims when the injured person has only sought limited medical treatment. The pain and symptoms of whiplash injuries can also escalate if left untreated. So seeking medical help is imperative for the injured person’s health.
Soft tissue injuries are more difficult to spot, and most of the testing done will be more focused on bone fractures and injuries to the cervical spine. Over time, swelling can develop, and symptoms may increase. If this is the case, and the patient seeks further treatment, the insurance companies may argue that the injuries were caused by something other than the accident that they are responsible for. So, it is important that you seek medical treatment immediately and follow the instructions of your doctor.
Whiplash Grades can Impact Insurance Payouts
Whiplash injuries vary in terms of severity. Thus, a grading system is used to determine extent of the whiplash. The time it takes to recover from an injury is a component of the injury’s monetary value. The scale for whiplash injuries ranges from 0 to 4 as follows:
- Grade 0 does not require treatment because the whiplash lacks visible signs of injury.
- Grade 1 whiplash injuries do not present visibly, but pain and soreness exist. Follow the instructions of your trusted physician if you have been diagnosed with a Grade 1 injury.
- Grade 2 injuries feature a decreased range of motion and apparent physical pain. This type of injury requires treatment.
- Grade 3 injuries can cause multiple issues. They require on-the-spot medical treatment and often treatments that are continuing. The sufferer’s range of motion is harshly restricted, pain is enduringly persistent, and the victim usually cannot work, sleep or function normally in their everyday lives.
- Grade 4 is the most egregious grade. These types of injuries are rewarded the largest types of damages settlements. These injuries can require surgery, physical therapy, and chiropractic to correct.
Mild whiplash injuries can resolve within a week, but severe ones can last months or more. If you or a loved one has experienced a whiplash and have suffered from symptoms like pain, stiffness, a decreased ability to move, numbness, and tingling, you may have mid grade whiplash.
More prolonged and severe symptoms could mean that there is damage to the spine, including the discs, nerves and intervertebral joints. These more serious symptoms could mean that you are entitled to a larger insurance payout. Your whiplash accident attorney in Rochester, NY, will be able to determine this.
Whiplash in Combination with a Concussion
When the head snaps forward and back to cause a whiplash, sometimes a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur at the same time. A concussion, for example, happens when the force of the accident causes the brain to hit the skull. When the two injuries occur in tandem, the injury becomes substantially more severe.
Sadly, TBIs can bring on a whole host of other issues for the sufferer. Medical evaluation is crucial to make informed treatment decisions. Your legal team will make sure you get the help you need.
Lasting Effects of a Whiplash Injury in Rochester, NY
To avoid long lasting effects from your whiplash, seek the proper and immediate treatment. Otherwise, swelling and scar tissue can create additional hardships. Range of motion can become severely limited, and new pain can result from using your body differently to compensate for the injured body part and avoid pain.
Balance Issues May Develop Over Time
The body’s equilibrium is, in part, determined by signals the nerves in the neck send to the brain. Balance becomes harder to achieve when those nerves are damaged because of a whiplash injury. This opens the injured person up to even more injuries since falling becomes a more considerable risk.
This condition is called cervicogenic dizziness. It is prevalent in whiplash cases. Concussions can also cause dizziness, so it is possible to confuse the dizziness as a side effect of a TBI rather than a whiplash side effect. The injury must be treated so as not to become more serious.
Always follow through on the medical advice you are given. Insurance companies do not want to pay you, so they will take any dismissal of care on your part as a reason not to compensate you. Listen to what your medical providers suggest and do it. You can avoid pain in the future by taking the right steps early.
Statute of Limitations on a Whiplash Claim
It is in your best interest to immediately start the investigation into whether you have a valid personal injury claim after an accident that causes a whiplash injury.
In addition, there are time limits (Statutes of Limitations) on how long you have to file a personal injury claim in Rochester, NY. The Statute of Limitations for your claim depends on who hit you – a private vehicle, a municipal vehicle or a bus. The statute of limitations can be as early as one (1) year from the date of the accident or as long as three (3) years. You may also be required to file a “Notice of Claim” on the city, town, county or state within 90 days of the incident. Contact Kammholz Rossi PLLC. We are Ready When You Are.
If you or a loved one have suffered a whiplash injury, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Our talented and experienced team is ready to investigate, analyze, negotiate, and, if necessary, fight for you. The goal of our whiplash injury attorneys is to ensure that our clients get every dime to which they are entitled after sustaining a whiplash. Contact Kammholz Rossi PLLC today.