You may be familiar with the term whiplash, or maybe you have seen signs and billboards for whiplash injuries. Whiplash is a very common injury that can be caused by a car accident, sports injury, diving accident, or even a slip and fall case. A neck injury can range from some mild discomfort to a medical emergency.
If you or a loved one have been in an accident and have now sustained a whiplash injury let the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak help you through this difficult time. With over 20 years of experience, our skilled attorneys have been representing clients in all personal injury matters.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a relatively common injury that occurs to a person’s neck following a sudden acceleration-deceleration force. This term describes an injury to neck that is usually the result of being hit from behind and causes unrestrained, rapid forward and backward movement of the head and neck is often ignored or mistreated. When a person is hit from behind in a car or in any other type of car accident it is possible for the delicate tendons and ligaments in the neck to become strained or even torn, which can result in long lasting and debilitating pain. Whiplash injuries can be quite complex and may include a variety of related problems, such as:
- Bone fractures – Broken or fractured bones in the neck can be extremely serious and can take a considerable amount of time under the careful observation of a medical professional to heal. Surgery and therapy are often required as part of the recovery process.
- Joint dysfunction – The neck has several important joints called facet joints, which are commonly injured and result in severe neck pain. In order to diagnose and analyze if there has been an injury to any one of these joints a doctor will often have to order CT or MRI scans. In some cases, a doctor may have to order a facet joint injection which is also known as a facet joint block.
The International Association for the Study of Pain presented their findings of the causes and symptoms of whiplash in a report released in October of 2010. They noted that the onset of symptoms from a whiplash injury may occur immediately or they may be delayed and manifest themselves up to 12 to 15 hours later.
Whether they come about after a car accident or other type of mishap, signs of a whiplash or neck injury include:
- neck pain and stiffness – this is the predominant symptoms of whiplash injuries, however, the other symptoms that are discussed below are equally present in most cases
- decreased range of motion
- blurred vision
- shoulder, arm, or back pain
- unusual sensations (e.g., burning, prickling, tingling in arms)
- sleep disturbance, fatigue, or trouble concentrating, and
- other cognitive or psychological difficulties.
In addition to these symptoms according to their report, approximately twenty to thirty percent of those injuries also displayed a complex presentation meaning that there was more than one symptom. Among these, a marked loss of neck movement, motor control deficits, and sensory disturbances were listed as present.
Money for Whiplash injuries
Whiplash injuries can range from minor injuries where a person will feel a bit sore for a day or two, to major and serious injuries. If you have been involved in an accident you should always seek the advice and professional opinion of a medical professional. A doctor may want to look closely at the injury to ensure that there are no fractures of any of the bones in the neck in addition a doctor may order the following tests to determine the extent of a whiplash injury:
- CT Scans
- MRI scans
The types and amounts of damages you may be entitled to are dependent upon the injury you suffered, the facts and circumstances surrounding that injury, and the damages you have experienced. Generally speaking, in a viable personal injury action, the main category of available damages are compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate you for the damages and injury you experienced. These can include:
- Past medical bills – As noted above there may be several tests that a doctor may run after they have examined you themselves. These tests can cost tens of thousands of dollars without insurance. When a plaintiff is injured, they are entitled to recover the reasonable expense of any necessary medical car incurred in the past. Arkansas applies the collateral source rule, which allows a plaintiff to recover for those bills paid by insurance.
- Future medical bills – Often severe whiplash injuries will require multiple doctors visits and additional tests. When a person has been injured and they require future medical expenses, this can generally be included in a personal injury complaint. The court will require that a plaintiff proves that their future medical expenses will be reasonably certain. Recovery of future medical bills will be reduced to present day value.
- Disability – Though rare, whiplash injuries can cause a person to become disabled, or go on temporary disability. In the case that a person has been disabled because of a severe whiplash injury, they may suffer loss of earning capacity, which the court can alleviate by making a monetary payment.
- Past pain and suffering – Arkansas recognizes past pain and suffering as a compensable element of damages. And as noted above, someone who has experienced a traumatic whiplash injury may suffer general anxiety as a result of their accident and may not be able to enjoy the things in their life that they used to.
- Loss of income, wages, and earnings – Arkansas allows a plaintiff to recover for loss of income, wages, and warnings. Motivation, post-injury income, credibility, demeanor, and a multitude of other factors to be considered in claims for wage-loss disability benefits.
Don’t be intimidated by the insurance companies who will try and downplay your injuries. If you have been injured you know that your life has been negatively impacted and you do not have to go without help.
Put Knowledgeable Fort Smith Whiplash Attorney to Work for You
If you have suffered a serious injury be sure to seek medical attention immediately. Then to schedule your free and confidential consultation, call the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak at (479) 316-0438 or contact our firm online.