If you were in a car accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation. The St. Louis car accident attorneys of OnderLaw recognize the financial and physical burden that happens after a significant car accident. One type of injury that is common after front-end and rear-end collisions is whiplash.

Car accidents are a daily occurrence in Missouri. You may have taken numerous safety measures to ensure you’re not a victim, but sometimes no matter how hard you try, you may still be involved in a car accident.

The legal team of OnderLaw wants to ensure that you have quality legal representation for compensation for whiplash after a St. Louis car accident. Our St. Louis car accident attorneys are experienced negotiators and tenacious litigators. Contact our office today to schedule your free initial consultation.

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury to the structures in the neck that is caused when your head is bent forcibly forward and then backward or vice versa. Although it’s a common injury, the mechanics and structural damage are poorly understood.

Your head snaps forward and back, or backward and forward when a vehicle undergoes sudden acceleration or deceleration. This occurs when you have been rear-ended or you rear-end another vehicle.

Each year, roughly two million Americans will be diagnosed with whiplash. It is a common injury since it can happen without a lot of force applied to the vehicle. Car accidents at speeds as low as five to ten miles an hour can result in a whiplash injury.

Older individuals who may have pre-existing arthritis in the spinal column may have a more serious injury than younger individuals. With age, muscles lose their strength and flexibility, which also contributes to the severity of the injury.

People with whiplash complain of some common symptoms. Many of these look like other health conditions, so it’s important to have your injury properly diagnosed. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to:

  • Neck pain that worsens with movement
  • Loss of range of motion in the neck
  • Neck stiffness and weakness
  • Headache often starting at the base of the skull
  • Shoulder pain
  • Low back pain
  • Tenderness in the upper back or arms
  • Dizziness
  • Pain or numbness in the arm or hand
  • Tinnitus or ringing in your ears
  • Blurred vision
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog

Do You Need an Attorney When You Have Whiplash?

After a car accident, symptoms of whiplash may not show until hours or days later. It is imperative to seek immediate medical attention after a car accident to document your injuries. This helps with any future negotiations with insurance companies or a personal injury lawsuit.

In the hours or days after a car accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company may send an insurance adjuster to speak with you. These professionals are skilled negotiators. Their focus is to limit the financial risk to their company. They may approach you with a friendly attitude and make you believe they are on your side. However, their intention is to get information they can use against you during negotiations.

An adjuster may request that you answer questions or give a recorded statement. You should not speak with an adjuster about the accident unless you are with your lawyer. You can give the adjuster your name, address, and date and time of the accident. After that, feel free to tell them you will answer any remaining questions when you have your lawyer present.

An adjuster may also offer you an immediate lump sum settlement. It is important to note that the first settlement offer is usually not fair compensation. It is crucial that you discuss the details of your case with a personal injury lawyer before considering a settlement offer or making a statement to the insurance company.

How is Whiplash Diagnosed and Treated?

Many factors affect the severity and duration of symptoms. These can include your age, physical condition, and posture. Your doctor will do a complete physical exam and take a medical history when diagnosing you for whiplash. The information from these medical records will help prove your claim.

Whiplash injuries often damage soft tissue that does not show up on X-Ray. Your physician may choose to use several imaging tests to evaluate your injury. These can include an x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT) scan. Each offers a different perspective and helps your physician diagnose the issue.

After diagnosis, your whiplash will also be graded. A classification system was developed based on the severity of the symptoms.

  • Grade 0: There are no physical signs and no complaints of neck pain.
  • Grade 1: There is some stiffness and tenderness without physical signs of whiplash.
  • Grade 2: There is limited range of motion and point tenderness with complaints of pain and stiffness.
  • Grade 3: There are complaints of neck pain and stiffness with neurological symptoms that include abnormal reflexes, changes in sensation, and muscle weakness.
  • Grade 4: X-rays show a neck fracture or dislocation.

Whiplash may be a common injury, but there are consequences when it is not treated correctly. The specific long-term effects will depend on several factors, including the severity of the injury, the age of the victim, and any underlying medical conditions. These long-term effects can include:

  • Chronic neck pain
  • Loss of spinal curvature that is associated with degenerative changes in the spine
  • Decreased blood flow to the brain that can compromise cognitive function
  • Possible spinal cord injury
  • Increase future disk injuries in the neck and upper back

What Type of Compensation Can You Expect?

If you were injured in a St. Louis car accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to financial compensation to help cover economic and non-economic costs. Economic costs are those that have an objective measurement and for which you can produce a receipt. For example, medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage are all economic damages that can occur after a car accident.

Non-economic damages are those that compensate you for losses for which there is no receipt. These are less concrete and are subjectively evaluated in a personal injury lawsuit. Non-economic damages may include compensation for reputation damage, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and emotional anguish.

Contact a St. Louis Lawyer for Whiplash Compensation Claims

If you were injured in a St. Louis car accident, get help with your case. Contact OnderLaw today for help. Our legal team is experienced in negotiating with insurance companies and fighting for our client’s rights in court after a car accident.

Don’t let an accident destroy the future you have built for yourself and your family. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation. We will discuss the details of your St. Louis personal injury case and advise you on your next best steps.