Being injured in a car accident is always difficult, but if you’ve been injured because another driver was negligent on Long Island, in New York City, or in Westchester County, arrange as quickly as possible to meet and discuss your case with a Long Island car accident attorney.
One of the most common injuries victims sustain in car accidents is whiplash. What is whiplash, and what are its symptoms and effects? Is whiplash always temporary? If you’re injured by another driver’s negligence, what are your legal rights? What steps will you need to take?
If you will continue reading this short introduction to car accidents, whiplash, and your legal rights in New York, you’ll learn the answers, and you’ll also find out what a Long Island car accident lawyer will do on your behalf if you become an injured victim of negligence.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash happens when a person’s head is moved involuntarily, suddenly, and violently back and forth. It’s called whiplash since the neck’s motion is comparable to the motion of cracking a whip.
The motion may injure spinal bones, the spinal disks between bones, nerves, ligaments, muscles, and other neck and shoulder tissues.
Whiplash may happen in minor, low-speed car accidents as well as more serious crashes and other types of accidents. Whiplash is sometimes overlooked and unreported, and it may be days after a crash before whiplash emerges and the victim begins to exhibit symptoms.
What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?
The symptoms and signs of whiplash typically develop within the first few days after the injury. Those symptoms and signs may include:
- slowly increasing neck pain and stiffness with a loss of range of motion in the neck
- headaches typically affecting the base of the skull
- pain or tenderness in the arms, shoulders, and upper back
- numbness or tingling in the shoulders and arms
- fatigue and/or dizziness
Some whiplash victims also experience vision and hearing problems, sleep disorders, mood swings, and difficulties with concentration and memory.
What Complications Can Whiplash Entail?
Whiplash injuries can be mild, moderate, or severe. Many victims of whiplash improve in several weeks and do not appear to have lasting effects from the injury. However, some people continue to endure chronic pain for several months or even for years after the injury occurred.
It is impossible to know how someone with whiplash will recover. Every case is different. In general, if your neck pain is severe, the pain spreads to your arms, and you can’t easily move your neck, your whiplash may last – and cause pain – for months or longer.
Statistically, the worst outcomes may be expected by victims who previously sustained whiplash, who already suffered from neck or back pain, victims injured in high-speed traffic collisions, and the elderly.
In the aftermath of a collision, you must protect yourself by compiling as much information and evidence as possible. Call for medical assistance and the police, exchange contact and auto insurance details with the other motorist, take photos, and ask for the names of any witnesses.
What Are Your Rights As an Injured Negligence Victim?
In New York, the injured victims of negligent drivers are legally entitled to recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and related damages, but your compensation doesn’t appear magically.
You might have to prove that the reason you have whiplash is because someone else was negligent, and you will need to be represented and advised by a Long Island car accident attorney who will work aggressively and effectively for the compensation and justice you need.
How Will Your Attorney Handle Your Injury Claim?
After a collision, when you’re advised and represented by a Long Island car accident lawyer, your lawyer will determine exactly how the accident happened, which motorist was at-fault, and if any other party or parties may be assigned liability.
Your lawyer will negotiate with the liable party’s car insurance company for an acceptable settlement. Most injury claims that arise from whiplash injuries are settled when the lawyers negotiate an out-of-court agreement. A whiplash victim may not even have to go to court.
However, if your whiplash claim is contested, or if no acceptable settlement offer is forthcoming in the private negotiations, your lawyer will take the case to trial and explain to the jurors how you were injured, the extent of your whiplash, and your prospects for regaining your health.
Your attorney will then ask the jurors to order the payment of your compensation. When your injury claim prevails, you may be compensated for your current and projected future medical costs, current and projected future lost wages, personal pain, suffering, and related damages.
When Should You Reach Out to a Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you cannot work due to whiplash, and if your monthly bills and medical expenses are mounting, you’ll need compensation as quickly as possible.
After you’ve been examined and/or treated by a medical provider, if the diagnosis is whiplash, contact a New York injury attorney who will explain your rights and recommend the best way to move forward – which may include taking legal action to recover your compensation.
How can you pay for an attorney’s services if you’re not working and your bills are already difficult to pay? As an injured victim of negligence, your first meeting with a personal injury lawyer is offered with no cost or obligation.
Take advantage of that offer to receive personalized advice and to learn how the law applies in your own case. If you and your lawyer agree to move forward with a personal injury claim, you will pay no attorney’s fee until and unless your lawyer recovers the compensation you need.
What Is the Deadline for Taking Legal Action?
In the State of New York, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims gives an injury victim three years from the date of the injury to file a claim against the party or parties presumably responsible for the personal injury or injuries.
Don’t wait three years to speak to an attorney. Evidence can deteriorate or disappear, and the memories of accident victims can fade. If you’re suffering from whiplash – and especially if you’re not working – you need to act now.
If you meet the statute of limitations, if your whiplash was caused by another person’s negligence, and if you and your Long Island personal injury lawyer can prove it, you will recover the compensation you need, and the law will be on your side.