Whiplash is a type of neck injury that occurs when the neck moves rapidly back and forth, similar to a whip’s motion when it is cracked. This injury can lead to significant health consequences and is common in many types of personal injury accidents. Continue reading this article to learn more about whiplash injuries and how you might obtain compensation from the responsible party if you’ve been hurt.
How Common Are Whiplash Injuries?
More than three million new cases of whiplash occur each year. The following individuals are at an increased risk of developing whiplash:
- People aged 30 to 50
- Individuals with pre-existing health conditions such as arthritis
Whiplash injuries are more severe in women and children due to their smaller neck sizes.
What Are Common Causes of Whiplash Injuries?
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries people suffer in car accidents. Many of these injuries occur in accidents occurring at 12 mph or slower. Whiplash injuries are responsible for 65% of bodily injury claims.
Other common causes of whiplash injuries include:
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Boating accidents
- Bike accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Premises liability accidents
- Slips and falls
- Workplace accidents
- Construction accidents
- Defective products
If another person’s negligence caused you to suffer whiplash, you may be able to seek compensation from them.
What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?
Symptoms of whiplash include:
- Neck pain, stiffness, swelling, or tenderness
- Pain that worsens with neck movement
- Difficulty moving your neck
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Tenderness in the shoulder, upper back, or arms
- Pain in the shoulder, upper back, or arms
- Tingling or numbness in the arms or hands
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Muscle spasms or weakness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Sleep problems
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty swallowing
Some of these symptoms do not present until days after an accident, so be on the lookout for them in the days and weeks following the accident.
Can Whiplash Cause Complications?
More than half of whiplash cases progress to some degree of chronic symptoms. It generally takes about 17 weeks to stabilize a person’s neck after a severe whiplash injury. Around 75% of individuals continue to have symptoms six months or longer after the accident. About 22% of individuals do not return to normal conditions between one and two years after the injury.
Some of the complications stemming from whiplash include:
- Chronic neck pain
- More limited range of motion
- Pain that spreads to the arms
Additionally, once a person suffers whiplash, they are more likely to suffer whiplash again in a subsequent accident.
How Is Whiplash Treated?
The goals of whiplash treatment include helping the accident victim control pain, restore a normal range of motion, and return to normal activities. The type of treatment a person receives may depend on their injury’s severity, overall health, and response to treatment. Some types of treatment may include:
- Pain management – Your doctor may prescribe various remedies to help control pain, including rest, applying heat or cold to the injured area, and elevation.
- Medication – Your doctor may recommend various types of medication to control pain, such as injections of numbing medications, muscle relaxants, prescription medicines, or over-the-counter medications.
- Exercise – To try to restore a complete range of motion, your doctor may prescribe stretching and movement exercises.
- Physical therapy – Physical therapy can help people with ongoing pain or range-of-motion problems. Physical therapy can relieve pain, improve range of motion, strengthen muscles, and prevent future injuries. The length of your physical therapy depends on the severity of your injuries and your physical therapist’s professional opinion.
- Foam collars – In some cases, your doctor may prescribe a soft foam cervical collar to help keep your neck and head still. This treatment may only be recommended at night when you do not have as much control over your movement and be limited to 72 hours.
The most important thing to do after you suffer a whiplash injury is to seek prompt medical treatment. Keep all of your medical records and bills to substantiate your claim.
What Is a Whiplash Claim Worth?
Many whiplash injury victims continue to require ongoing medical care even years after the initial injury. They may also suffer from chronic pain that affects their ability to earn a living. The amount of compensation you can potentially recover from a whiplash injury depends on how the accident and your injuries have affected your life.
The value of your claim may compensate you for:
- Medical expenses – You could face years to come of expensive medical bills for follow-up treatment, medicine, physical therapy, and other anticipated expenses, in addition to any emergency care you received at the time of the accident.
- Lost wages – You have the right to seek compensation for the value of your lost wages and any employment benefits you used while recovering from your injuries or seeking treatment. You can also pursue compensation for any reduction in your future earning capacity caused by your injuries.
- Pain and suffering – Florida law recognizes your right to receive compensation for your pain and suffering, distress, and lost quality of life caused by your injuries.
- Property damage – If your whiplash was caused by a car accident, motorcycle accident, or another type of accident that damaged your personal property, you can also seek compensation for the costs to repair or replace your damaged personal property.
Every claim is different. An experienced whiplash injury lawyer can discuss the potential value of your claim.
How Long Do You Have To File a Whiplash Lawsuit in Florida?
Florida law sets a limit of two years to file a personal injury lawsuit (as of March 24, 2023 — before this date, negligence claims had a four-year deadline). This means that a person generally has up to two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party, according to the statute of limitations.
However, there are exceptions to this deadline. As a result, you should not delay reaching out to an experienced lawyer if you’re not sure whether you still have time to file a lawsuit in your case. Your lawyer may also need time to thoroughly investigate your case prior to taking it on or filing a lawsuit.
Contact Our St. Petersburg, Florida Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Were you recently hurt in a car accident in St. Petersburg, Florida or suffered a whiplash injury because of someone else’s negligence? You could be entitled to compensation for the harm you have suffered, and an experienced car accident attorney from Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys can help.
We have over 25 years of legal experience taking on negligent parties and their insurance companies. During this time, we have recovered millions of dollars for our clients. We are ready to fight just as fiercely for you, too.