Man with neck pain/whiplash after a car accident.

Whiplash is a serious medical condition most commonly associated with rear-end collisions. When a person’s head and neck move more quickly forward and backward, the neck muscles become severely strained. In some cases, whiplash causes mild pain that resolves over time. In more severe cases, whiplash causes life-altering pain, stiffness, and immobility.

If you have developed whiplash caused by a car accident, it’s important you speak to an experienced attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and property damage from the at-fault driver. The Long Island car accident attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC are prepared to help you pursue the full and fair compensation you need and deserve. 

How Do Whiplash Injuries Occur?

An accident that causes a person’s neck to snap back and forth quickly can cause whiplash, including car accidents and accidents involving recreational vehicles. Whiplash can occur when a person’s neck experiences hyperextension and hyperflexion. In a rear-end collision, the force of the vehicle colliding with the back of a driver or passenger’s vehicle can force his or her neck to snap forward toward the windshield and then backward toward their seat. Symptoms of whiplash include the following:

  • Pain while moving the neck
  • Pain and stiffness in the neck
  • Chronic or severe headaches
  • Limited range of motion in the neck and head
  • Dizziness and fatigue
  • Headaches beginning at the base of the skull
  • Tingling and numbness in the neck and upper extremities
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Blurry vision
  • Problems sleeping
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

If you’re experiencing one or more symptoms of whiplash, it’s important to undergo a medical examination as soon as possible after the car accident.

Whiplash Can Be a Debilitating Injury

Approximately three million Americans are diagnosed with whiplash injuries every year. The back-and-forth motion to a person’s head and neck can injure ligaments, bones, and tissue. In mild whiplash cases, whiplash can be treated with physical therapy and pain medication. In serious cases, whiplash-related medical conditions become chronic medical problems. Recovering from whiplash can take time and may require extensive medical treatment. 

Every case is unique, but treatment can include wearing a neck brace and doing special exercises to recover a pain-free range of motion in your neck. While recovering, it isn’t uncommon for victims to not be able to suffer significant pain and be unable to work. Victims of whiplash injuries may require medical treatment to treat symptoms such as loss of motion, stiffness, and headaches. In severe cases, the effects of whiplash can persist for months or years, even when a patient receives medical treatment. 

Dell & Dean, PLLC attorneys in New York & Long Island offering free consultations.

Pursuing Compensation for a Whiplash Injury

As with another personal injury claim, a personal injury lawsuit for whiplash must be filed within three years of the accident. The deadline for pursuing compensation through an insurance claim is much shorter. Unfortunately, medical bills don’t wait. The more time passes, the more critical evidence and witness testimony may disappear. Speaking to an attorney as soon as possible after your accident can help you learn more about your legal options. 

When you work with Dell & Dean, PLLC, we will examine your case’s facts and work diligently to determine whether you should pursue payment through an insurance claim or if a personal injury lawsuit is warranted. Working with an attorney can increase the likelihood of successfully obtaining compensation for your injuries. Our attorneys have extensive experience negotiating with insurance adjusters and defendants. Do not accept the first settlement offer before you speak to an experienced attorney.

What to Do After a Whiplash Injury

The steps you take after being injured in a car accident can help or hurt your claim for compensation. Your first instinct after being injured may be to go home, lie down, and try to “sleep off” any pain you’re feeling. Instead, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if your injuries may be minor, you should seek medical attention and discuss the accident with law enforcement while preparing for every possible outcome.

You may not realize you’ve suffered whiplash immediately after the car accident. Sometimes, it takes a few hours, or even days, to feel the pain associated with whiplash. Additionally, early treatment may be able to prevent or decrease long-term whiplash symptoms. Pursuing treatment early could decrease the likelihood you’ll suffer chronic neck pain and may reduce the need for intense treatment such as surgery in the future. 

Document Symptoms and Treatment

Failure to seek medical treatment, follow your doctor’s orders, and document your symptoms and treatment can hurt your compensation claim. Proving you’ve suffered damage to your soft tissue isn’t always easy. The insurance company or defendant may argue that you didn’t suffer injuries to your neck or that your injuries were caused by an incident other than the car accident. 

As soon as a car accident occurs, you should pay close attention to your symptoms and pain levels. Keep a notebook documenting your pain level on a scale of one to ten. You should also document when you must take time off work, see a medical specialist, or receive any medical treatment or physical therapy. Your attorney will be able to use this documentation as evidence that you’re entitled to the full compensation you deserve. 

Do I Have a Valid Claim for Compensation?

Under New York law, individuals injured in car accidents should carry personal injury protection (PIP) for $50,000. Your own insurance company should cover your medical expenses up to this amount immediately after the accident. You may have additional coverage, depending on your PIP policy. When your accident-related expenses exceed your PIP limit, you can pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault party who caused the accident. 

Depending on the circumstances of your case, there may be one or more at-fault drivers. Third parties, such as the negligent driver’s employer, may also be liable. The Dell & Dean PLLC attorneys can help you determine liability and develop the best strategy to obtain the most compensation possible. 

Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Whiplash Attorney in Long Island

Whiplash is a painful condition that can cause debilitating symptoms. If you or your loved one have been seriously injured in a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact the skilled personal injury attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC to schedule a complimentary case evaluation. 

Dell & Dean, PLLC handles claims throughout Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island as well as the boroughs of New York City, and the surrounding areas.