Whiplash Injury Lawyers in Los Angeles
Everyone has heard of whiplash. After all, it is the most common form of car crash injury that you can suffer. Chances are high that you have either experienced it yourself or know someone else who has. Even a car accident at low speeds can leave a driver or passenger with a whiplash injury. Most people think of it as a minor injury, but whiplash can hit victims with wide-ranging symptoms and lasting effects.
Read on to explore the causes, symptoms and treatments for whiplash, as well as the process of seeking whiplash injury compensation after a car accident in Los Angeles. The car accident lawyers of Bisnar Chase are here to help.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a form of neck strain injury.
It is caused by a specific motion – when the head and neck snap back and forth quickly in a sharp and forceful movement.
This back-and-forth movement forces the neck to accelerate rapidly, ‘whipping’ backward very suddenly, and then snapping forward again. The motion can put a huge amount of strain on the top of the spine, as well as the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the neck. These tendons and ligaments may be pushed beyond their normal and comfortable range of motion, causing hyperextension and hyperflexion as the neck flexes too hard in each direction. This can result in strains and tears.
While whiplash is technically a form of neck strain, the extreme stress it puts on the body can produce a wide range of life-altering symptoms which extend far beyond neck pain.
How Do People Get Whiplash?
Whiplash pain can be caused by a wide variety of different actions – essentially anything which can cause your neck to whip back and forth as demonstrated above. These can include:
- Car accidents – Any collision which causes the head to jolt back.
- Rollercoasters – A particularly violent or high-speed amusement park ride can take a toll on the neck.
- High-impact contact sports – From the abuse suffered in boxing and martial arts, to a hard on-ice hockey hit or a thunderous collision on the football field – these are all accepted parts of the various sports, but can result in whiplash injuries.
- Sporting or hobby-related accidents – Unwanted tumbles, crashes and impacts, such as falling from a bicycle, being thrown from a horse, or being involved in a snowboard crash.
- Physical abuse – This can include anything from being hit in a fight to being shaken rigorously.
- Miscellaneous falls and head injuries – Any action which causes the neck to move violently, such as falling down the stairs or hitting your head on an object.
If you have been involved in a car accident in LA – or any of the other activities above – you may have sustained a whiplash injury. But how can you identify the signs of whiplash and get the treatment you need?
The main thing that any victim needs to know is that whiplash can hit you with a huge range of symptoms. Neck pain is just one of many potential side-effects which can extend far beyond simple aches and pains.
Here are some of the key whiplash symptoms that can present themselves.
Physical Whiplash Symptoms
- Neck pain which get worse with attempted movement
- Neck stiffness and deteriorating range of motion in the head and neck
- Feelings of tingling or numbness in your arms
- Pain spreading to the shoulders and back
- Feelings of fatigue and lethargy
- Severe headaches which start at the base of the skull
- Ears ringing
- Sight problems including blurred vision
Other Whiplash Symptoms
- Feeling dizzy and disoriented
- Not being able to sleep
- Sudden short-term memory issues
- Being unusually bad-tempered and irritable for no reason
- Being unable to focus or concentrate
The presence of any of the symptoms listed – or a combination of multiple symptoms – could indicate that a person has a whiplash injury.
Every case of whiplash is slightly different. Some people may experience no symptoms at all, while others might be hit hard by severe pain, headaches, and even depression. Symptoms might even be slightly delayed in occurring. The severity of a whiplash injury can depend on a range of factors, including how the injury occurred. If you were involved in a car accident in LA, your symptoms may depend on the nature of the collision and the force of the impact.
The effects of whiplash might be more severe for older car accident victims. The severity of a whiplash injury might also be worse for those people who have already suffered similar injuries in their lives, as well as people who already have back or neck issues.
Whiplash Caused by Car Accidents
The single most common cause of whiplash is through car crashes. Of all the potential ways of being hit by another car, the type of crash most like to result in you suffering whiplash is being rear ended.
When another car crashes into the back of your vehicle, this is referred to as a rear-end collision. This impact naturally forces the body into the exact motion which most commonly causes whiplash. As the other car collides with the rear of your vehicle, it will jolt your car forward. This will force your head and neck to snap back, potentially resulting in the hyperextension and hyperflexion associated with whiplash.
Whiplash injuries can also occur through other types of car crashes. It is important to remember that any impact which causes your neck back into a sudden straining motion can result in whiplash injuries, no matter where the other car hits you. However, figures show that rear-end collisions are the biggest culprits, responsible for more than a quarter of all whiplash injuries.
How Common are Rear-End Car Accidents?
A huge number of car accidents happen every year in the United States, and the statistics are frightening. In 2015 there were more than 6.3 million road crashes which were reported to police, resulting in either property damage, injury, fatality, or a mixture – and that is just in the United States.
The statistics also show that being involved in an auto accident is the leading cause of death for people under the age of 55. Every year in the U.S. there are about 35,000 vehicle-related deaths. Of those recorded road deaths countrywide, California has the second highest fatality figures, with 3,623 deaths in 2016.
While car accidents happen a lot, research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that rear-end collisions are the most common type of road accident, accounting for about 29% of all crashes. That means that there is an average of nearly 1.9 million rear-end collision accidents in the U.S. every year.
These can be caused by anything from sudden braking, to driver error, poor weather conditions, and distracted driving.
This makes whiplash the number one type of car accident injury in the United States, and one of the leading causes of car crash compensation claims in and around Los Angeles. Rear-end accidents happen especially regularly in and around Los Angeles, where drivers are always in a hurry and traffic is always heavy.
Whiplash pain and associated conditions and injuries affect about 4 million Americans annually, according to research by Science Daily. The cost of tests, treatment, and rehabilitative care relating to these injuries? A whopping $30 billion every year.
Can a Low Speed Crash Cause Whiplash Injuries?
Yes! Even a crash at lower speeds can leave victims suffering from whiplash injuries.
While a high velocity crash may result in more severe injuries, studies have shown that even low speed crashes can result in whiplash. Researchers used live volunteers as crash victim test subjects to reveal the necessary speeds for these injuries to occur. They found that the approximate boundary is a range between 6.2mph and 9.3mph. This means that any crash with a velocity of more than 10 miles per hour can cause whiplash.
The Best Treatments for Whiplash
If you are showing symptoms of having a whiplash injury, you should visit your doctor. It is important to get a swift and accurate diagnosis to make sure any injury is not made worse.
Whiplash treatments will depend on the severity of your injury. However, for the most part, whiplash injuries just need time to heal properly. These treatments can be used to aid recovery and reduce pain:
- Over the counter painkillers – for mild to medium injuries
- Prescription painkillers – for more severe cases
- Application of ice or heat to the neck area
- Foam collar – this should not be worn for long, as neck muscles can seize and cause more pain
- Rest – the injury often has to heal before you rehabilitate the neck
- Physical therapy - simple flexing and stretching of the neck to regain motion and loosen muscles
- Chiropractic care and massage therapy
- Alternative treatments, such as acupuncture
Recovery Time for Whiplash Injuries
Just like the suggested treatment method, the recovery time for whiplash injuries depend on their severity.
It can range from a few days, to weeks, months, or even years in extreme cases.
Studies have shown that the average recovery time ranges from 17 days to about four months, though some people may continue to suffer symptoms up to and beyond six months. It is possible for whiplash symptoms to turn into chronic conditions if they are not properly diagnosed and managed.
Who is at Fault in a Rear-end Collision Causing Whiplash?
In almost every case involving a rear-end collision, the driver of the car hitting the car in front will be partially liable, at the very least. In most cases, the car rear-ending a vehicle in front of it will be entirely culpable. This is because the following car has a responsibility to drive at a safe distance while being attentive and alert, leaving plenty of reaction time for sudden stops.
In some cases, the driver of the leading car may also be considered partly culpable. For instance, if their brake lights are not working, or if they are not following the rules of the road.
What Should You Do After Suffering a Whiplash Injury?
It is concerning how common it can be for people to suffer a whiplash injury in a car accident in or around Los Angeles. But what should you do if you are involved in a crash that leaves you in pain from this form of neck damage?
- Call 9-1-1 and report the accident.
- Get medical attention as soon as possible – Allow paramedics to examine you at the scene, or seek medical attention that day if possible.
- Keep all medical records relating to the crash, as well as proof of your expenses.
- Chronicle the scene of the accident – Take pictures of the scene, including the damage to the cars. If your injuries are too severe to do so at the time of the crash, return to the scene later.
- Locate witnesses and secure statements.
- Contact an expert car accident attorney at Bisnar Chase.
Bisnar Chase Can Help
The specialist car accident lawyers at Bisnar Chase can help victims of injuries suffered in car crashes in and around Los Angeles. Our whiplash injury attorneys are experts in fighting for their clients, seeking the best possible compensation settlements, or go to trial if necessary.
Whiplash compensation payouts may depend on a wide range of factors, including the severity of the injury, medical bill expenditure, loss of wages, and much more.
Bisnar Chase is dedicated to securing an outcome that accurately represents the client’s pain and suffering. We have been winning legal battles for our valued clients for 40 years, and have a 96% success rate, with more than $500 million won. Contact us now on 877-705-6556.
If you haven’t got time to read our in-depth whiplash rundown, skim the most frequently-asked whiplash questions here for quick at-a-glance answers.
Q: What is whiplash?
A neck strain injury – most commonly caused by rear-end car accidents.
Q: What are the symptoms of whiplash?
Neck pain, stiffness, limited movement, back and shoulder pain, headaches.
Q: What are some symptoms of severe whiplash?
Vision issues, fatigue, increased irritability, depression.
Q: How long will it last?
It varies. On average, between two weeks and four months.
Q: How should I treat my whiplash injury?
Visit a doctor. The most common treatments are pain medication, heat packs, light therapy exercises, and time.
Q: How do I know if I have a personal injury case?
Contact a whiplash injury lawyer at Bisnar Chase who can examine your case.
Q: How much are whiplash compensation payouts?
Every case is different and depends on circumstance. Trust the expert guidance of Bisnar Chase for the best possible result.
Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys
6701 Center Drive West, 14th Fl.
Los Angeles, CA 90045