A whiplash injury is a painful and debilitating condition that may prevent you from conducting your daily routine or performing the duties of your job.
If you are suffering from a whiplash injury that was caused by another’s negligence, contact Schmidt Kramer’s Harrisburg car accident attorneys to determine if you are entitled to damages for your suffering.
What Causes a Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash is a soft-tissue injury that occurs when your head is forcefully accelerated forward and abruptly stops in a whip-like motion.
Car accidents are one of the most common causes of whiplash injuries, particularly those involving rear-end collisions.
A car accident victim might acquire whiplash if his or vehicle is struck in such a way that it causes the victim’s body to propel forward and then come to a sudden stop.
What are the Common Symptoms of Whiplash?
Car accident victims who suffer from whiplash may report a wide range of varying symptoms. The reported effects of whiplash can include:
- Neck pain
- Neck immobilization and stiffness
- Blurred vision
- Headaches at the base of the skull
- Sensitivity or pain in the shoulders, upper back or arms
- Back pain
- Difficulty concentrating
- Pain in the arms and legs
- Sleep disturbances
Unlike many other common physical injuries that result from an auto collision, whiplash is an unseen injury.
It may take victims several hours or even days to experience the symptoms of whiplash. Although the effects of this injury may be delayed in some cases, they can still have a detrimental impact on the victim and cause permanent damage.
What Should I do if I Have Whiplash?
If you have experienced any symptoms indicating a whiplash injury after a car accident, you should follow these steps to prevent further damage and establish a car accident claim.
Seek Medical Care
The effects of whiplash are not always immediately obvious. When you are involved in an auto collision, your body releases adrenaline that makes it difficult for you to immediately recognize pain or injury.
Due to your body’s increased level of adrenaline, the symptoms of whiplash may be delayed. For this reason, you should always seek medical attention following a car accident.
Upon your initial visit to a hospital or medical care center, you should undergo tests or imaging that will help diagnose any injuries you may have suffered during the collision.
Your treating physician should then identify any potential signs of whiplash before its symptoms appear hours or days later. Your doctor will also establish that your injury is directly attributed to the car accident you were just involved in.
Once you are diagnosed with whiplash, your doctor will prescribe you a treatment plan to heal your condition. It is essential that you follow every step of the prescribed treatment plan in order to validate your car accident claim.
Collect Medical Documentation
The records of your initial diagnosis and medical treatment, as well as any expenses incurred during this time, will be important information needed to evaluate your claim.
Once you have been treated, ask the hospital or care center where you were treated for copies of your medical records. This should include:
- X-rays, MRIs and CT scans
- Your admittance medical chart
- Your physician’s evaluation report
- Lab testing results
These records can be valuable evidence used to establish and support your claim. Any documentation you are able to gather can provide a detailed time line of the time and date of your injury, when you sought treatment, the severity of your injury, and the costs of your treatment.
You will likely need all of this information when you seek compensation for any damages and losses that were caused by your whiplash injury.
Obtain Accident Records
Once you have recovered from whiplash or are physically able, you should collect any available information related to the accident to help you prove the other driver’s negligence caused the collision.
This should include any information gathered by law enforcement or police investigators, as well as reports made by insurers involved in your claim, such as:
- Police report of the car accident
- Pictures of the accident scene, damage to the vehicles involved and the conditions of the surrounding area
- Pictures of your injury
- Witness statements, along with each witness’s contact information
- Personal statements of the events before, during and after the accident
- Personal statements describing your injuries, and how they have impacted your life following the accident
These items and accounts will help our car accident attorneys construct a reliable case that supports your claim and proves you were not at fault for the collision or your whiplash injury.
How Do I File an Insurance Claim for My Whiplash Injury?
Pennsylvania is one of the few states that uses a “choice no fault” insurance law for car insurance policies.
A choice no fault insurance system gives you the option to choose whether you want to follow the “no fault” rules. Under Pennsylvania law, you must choose between the option of “full tort” and “limited tort” when you first purchase a car insurance policy.
If you chose full tort coverage, you are opting out of the no fault system. This means you can file a claim against the at-fault driver for your whiplash injury that includes pain and suffering, as well as other damages in a lawsuit.
If your insurance coverage is the limited tort option, however, you have opted into the no fault system. This means you lose the ability to file a lawsuit for most instances of car accidents. Instead, you will likely be compensated for medical bills and lost wages by filing a claim with your insurer.
Regardless of your insurance coverage policy, you should file a claim as soon as possible following your car accident. This will give you an ample amount of time to collect any evidence or documentation needed to file a valid claim within Pennsylvania’s two-year statute of limitations.
It may also be in your best interest to consult with our Harrisburg car accident attorneys to review your claim before speaking with an insurer. We will help you determine an accurate estimation of your damages and losses that will be useful when negotiating an offer or settlement with an insurer.
Experienced Legal Help for Car Accident Victims in Harrisburg
Whiplash is a complicated injury that can cause severe pain and discomfort, as well as disruption to your everyday life.
Schmidt Kramer’s car accident attorneys can help you recover the compensation you need to recover from this injury, both financially and medically.
Do not hesitate to contact us for a free, no obligation consultation to review your car accident claim. All of our services are provided on a contingency fee basis, which means you are never charged upfront. We only require payment if we recover damages for your claim.
Call (717) 888-8888 today to speak with an experienced car accident attorney.