Have you suffered whiplash because you were recently involved in a car accident in Atlanta? Is someone else at least partly responsible? If so, you could be entitled to a settlement or award for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income. The experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyers at Hasner Law, PC have more than 80 years of experience helping injury victims just like you. We’ll work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve.
Give our Fulton County law firm a call or connect with us online to learn more. We offer a free initial case evaluation, so don’t hesitate to contact us today.
What is Whiplash?
Imagine that you’re sitting in your car at a red light. All of a sudden, another car crashes into yours from behind. The momentum of the collision causes your body to move forward.
However, since you’re wearing your seatbelt, your torso is restrained. Only your head snaps forward. Then, your head snaps back rapidly and crashes into the headrest. This is what causes a whiplash injury – a rapid back and forth movement of the head.
When your head moves violently in this manner, the muscles and tissue in the neck overextend. Research suggests that it can take up to 17 weeks for the neck to restabilize after this type of traumatic event.
Studies have also shown that this motion causes the bones in the lower neck (lower cervical vertebrae) to hyperextend and the bones in the upper neck (upper cervical vertebrae) to hyperflex. This means that the cervical spine is twisted into an abnormal “S-shape.” Any time the spine – and the cervical spine, in particular – is affected, the consequences can be quite severe.
Grades of Whiplash Injuries
Whiplash injuries are categorized based on severity. There are four different classifications.
- Grade 0 Whiplash Injury: There are no complaints or physical signs of injury.
- Grade 1 Whiplash Injury: You experience neck pain, but there are no physical indicators of the injury.
- Grade 2 Whiplash Injury: You experience neck pain and there are some signs of a musculoskeletal (soft tissue) injury.
- Grade 3 Whiplash Injury: You experience neck pain and there are some signs of neurological impairment.
The more serious your injury, the more it can affect your life – physically, emotionally, and financially. So, the higher the grade, the more money you can potentially recover from at-fault parties.
Whiplash Facts and Statistics
Whiplash affects millions of Americans every year. Here are a few notable facts and statistics about this serious injury.
- Roughly 3 million people suffer a whiplash injury every year.
- 3 out of 4 whiplash injury victims will experience symptoms for more than 6 months.
- Women are about 5 times more likely to suffer a whiplash injury than men.
- Children are more susceptible to whiplash injuries than adults.
- Whiplash injuries are most prevalent and serious in victims between the ages of 30 and 50.
- Whiplash injuries tend to force victims to take an average of 8 weeks off of work.
Whiplash tends to be thought of as a relatively minor injury. However, it can have devastating consequences. It’s important to seek medical and legal assistance if you’ve suffered a whiplash injury in Atlanta.
Whiplash Symptoms Might Not Manifest Right Away
Whiplash is different than many other injuries you might suffer in a car accident. That’s because, many times, the symptoms don’t appear right away. After your car is rear-ended, you might walk away feeling perfectly fine.
However, hours, days, or even weeks later, you begin to notice signs of a whiplash injury. These can include:
- Stiff or sore neck
- Limited range of motion in the head, neck, and shoulders
- Pain in the shoulders, arms, or neck
- Tingling sensation in the arms, hands, or fingers
- Unexplained headache
- Fatigue, and
- Temporomandibular joint symptoms (jaw pain).
Whiplash can also result in changes to your emotional or mental state. Many victims experience bouts of anger, depression, PTSD, and anxiety as a result of their injury.
Can Whiplash Have Long-Term Consequences?
Yes. While many whiplash injuries heal over the course of a year or two, some don’t. Some victims, however, can suffer from long term issues that include:
- Chronic neck pain
- Chronic shoulder pain
- Complications of acute whiplash-associated disorders (ASD), and
- Development of an abnormal psychological profile.
In fact, roughly half of all whiplash injury victims experience chronic pain and issues for more than 20 years.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Whiplash?
Car accidents are the leading cause of whiplash injuries in the United States. Rear-end auto accidents, in particular, account for most cases of whiplash.
However, car accidents aren’t the only cause of whiplash. Other causes can include:
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- MARTA accidents
- Bus accidents
- Train accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Recreational vehicle accidents
- Boating accidents, and more.
Any time that your head is forced to hyperextend rapidly in multiple directions, you are at risk of suffering a whiplash injury. The best thing to do is to seek medical care as soon. Prompt attention can make a huge difference in how you recover.
Can Whiplash Injuries Occur at Low Speeds?
A crash doesn’t have to be severe for a passenger to suffer a whiplash injury. Research shows that a collision where one vehicle is traveling just 5 mph is enough to cause whiplash. In fact, most whiplash injuries do occur at low speeds.
How is Whiplash Treated?
Treatments for whiplash vary, depending on the severity of the injury. Common treatments include:
- Immobilizing the neck with a soft cervical collar
- Physical therapy, including range of motion exercises
- Pain medications, including anti-inflammatory drugs, and
- Chiropractic care.
Note that cognitive therapy is recommended if victims begin to show signs of emotional distress.
Prompt treatment is essential to ensure that your injury is fully and properly diagnosed. Additionally, prompt care can help to limit or prevent complications from arising.
Damages Available in Atlanta Whiplash Injury Cases
Once you’ve suffered a whiplash injury, life can get pretty complicated. You’re forced to rest for weeks at a time, which means that your ability to work can be compromised. Without an income, it can be difficult to take care of your medical bills and day-to-day expenses. Fortunately, compensation might be available if someone else caused you to get hurt.
Hasner Law will aggressively seek compensation on your behalf. Damages that are typically available in Georgia whiplash injury cases include:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Property damage
- Present and future lost income and wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress, and more.
Insurance companies will try to downplay your injury and limit how much money you’re awarded. Don’t let them. Let the experienced Atlanta car accident lawyers fight to maximize your recovery. We’ll bring in experts to testify to the significance of your injury and how it might affect your life. We won’t back down and will demand that you’re fully compensated for your injury.
How Long Do I Have to File a Whiplash Injury Lawsuit in Georgia?
Not long. If you want to recover benefits from an insurance policy, you’ll have to submit a claim to an insurer within a “reasonable” amount of time after you get hurt. Insurance companies will be eager to find any reason to deny your claim, so it is important to notify the company right away and submit your claim in a very timely manner.
You could also potentially recover compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit. In Georgia, the statute of limitations varies, depending on the cause of action. For cases arising from negligence – including a rear-end collision – the time limit is typically two years. So, you’ll have up to two years to assert your rights after you get hurt.
You’ll lose the right to get the money you need if you don’t file your claim on time. So, it is really important to reach out to our skilled legal team for help as soon as you can after your accident.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Atlanta Whiplash Injury Lawyers
Have you suffered a whiplash neck injury in an accident in Atlanta? The experienced car accident attorneys at Hasner Law can help you pursue compensation from insurance companies and liable parties. We’ll fight tirelessly so that you’re awarded every last dollar you need and deserve.
Give our law office in Atlanta a call to arrange a free initial case assessment to learn more. We’ll review your case, explain your legal options, and do our best to answer any questions you may have. There’s a limited amount of time to act, so give us a call today.