Whiplash is an injury that happens to the neck and can cause a lot of severe pain. It is caused when the neck is forcibly bent forward and then backward, usually at a quick rate. This is a poorly understood injury to the muscles, discs, and nerves of the neck, which is why it is sometimes hard to prove your whiplash case in Florida.
Even though you may be in a good deal of pain due to the whiplash, many people find that it is hard to really put up a good case after the accident to help them get the care and attention they need and compensation to help pay for all this.
As the medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses continue to grow and your neck is still in pain, you need to come up with the right plan to help prove this whiplash claim in Florida and to get some relief.
The good news is there are some steps that you can take. With the help of a good whiplash lawyer in Florida and a good understanding of what whiplash is all about and what causes it, you will be able to prove your whiplash case in Florida and get the relief that you need.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is simply a neck injury due to a forceful and rapid back and forth movement of the neck. It often happens when the body is forced into a movement similar to the cracking of the whip. As you can imagine, it can cause a lot of pain because the body is not meant to move in this way.
Whiplash can happen through different methods. It most commonly happens in a rear-end car accident, though it may happen during a fall or a sports accident too. Whiplash is sometimes known as a strain or a sprain to the neck, but these do refer to other neck injuries as well and not just with whiplash.
Most people who get whiplash are able to heal within a few weeks, as long as they get a good treatment plan that includes rest, medication, and the right exercises to relieve some of the tension in the neck.
For some of the more severe cases of whiplash though, it is possible that you will have chronic neck pain that lasts a lot longer as well. This can make life uncomfortable and hard to deal with, and these long-lasting complications are the reason you need a whiplash injury attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida on your side.
What are the Causes of Whiplash?
There are a number of things that are going to show up and be the cause of whiplash. It will often depend on the exact situation that is around the whiplash before.
Remember that whiplash is typically going to happen when the head is quickly and forcefully thrown backward and then forward again. This is a motion that is hard on the body and could injure the bones in the spine along with the tissues, nerves, muscles, ligaments, and bones of the neck.
There are several things that can cause whiplash. These include:
- A car accident: This is one of the most common causes of whiplash and many people who are in rear-end collisions will have whiplash that needs to be taken care of.
- Physical abuse or assault: This whiplash is caused when someone is punched or shaken. It is one of the injuries that can be seen in situations like shaken baby syndrome.
- Contact sports; This is seen the most in contact sports like football. The collisions that sometimes happen in these will cause whiplash in some individuals.
If you start to experience issues with the neck and a lot of pain after being in one of those situations, it is a good idea to visit a doctor. They will be able to diagnose the problem and get you the help that you need.
What are Some of the Whiplash Symptoms?
There are several symptoms that you may notice when it comes to whiplash and everyone needs to watch for them after they experience some of the cases that we discussed above. The signs and symptoms of whiplash are going to show up within a few days of the injury. You will notice:
- Pain and stiffness in the neck
- Pain that gets worse when you try to move the neck
- Loss of your range of motion in the neck
- Headaches that will not go away. These often will start right at the base of the skull and radiate up.
- Tenderness or some pain in the arms, upper back, or shoulder.
- Dizziness that will not go away
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
As those are the most common symptoms, you will usually feel at least a few of them if you experience whiplash. It is not uncommon to notice other symptoms like memory problems and difficulty with concentrating, irritability, trouble sleeping, tinnitus, and blurred vision. Some people may start to feel depression along with these symptoms.
If you have any neck pain after the accident, you need to visit your doctor right away. Since these symptoms could take a few days to show up, you need to visit your doctor as soon as you start to notice them.
This is one of the best ways to get an accurate and prompt diagnosis to make sure that you do not have any broken bones or other damage that can worsen the symptoms and cause more issues. You can also use this information to help seek compensation for your whiplash injury claim in Florida.
Types of Whiplash Claims in Florida
Whiplash will happen no matter what type of motor vehicle is being driven at the time of the accident. Sometimes the pain is minimal and the victim is able to go back to normal functioning within a few days of the accident if they take time to rest. Other times the situation can be much worse.
Depending on the severity of the whiplash, the individual may find that it is very difficult to complete normal tasks again. It may be too painful and they suffer from limited mobility after the accident. They may need medical attention and therapy to help regain some of that mobility as well.
The victim is sometimes in another vehicle when the whiplash happens, though it is possible that they will be a pedestrian or someone riding a bicycle when they are hit. No matter the case, the whiplash can be uncomfortable and hard to deal with.
There are different types of compensation that the patient will be able to ask for when they are dealing with a whiplash case. These include:
- Damages for the medical expenses paid out because of the injury. This can include medical devices, chiropractor appointments, imaging, and doctor appointments.
- Damages for any time that you missed work. This can cut into the income you are able to earn. If you need to take on a lower-paying job because you can’t go back to your other job, you can seek compensation for this as well.
- Pain and suffering along with emotional distress can be some of the damages that you collect as well.
Your attorney will be able to help you determine how much you can collect for any of these types of compensation during the case. There is likely to be some negotiation back and forth with the insurance company to come up with the final amount.
How to Prove a Whiplash Injury in St. Petersburg, FL
There are a few different options that you and your attorney will be able to work through in order to prove your whiplash claim in Florida. The one that you choose will depend on the exact situation that is around the accident as well.
Suppose that you are dealing with severe whiplash after a car accident in Florida because someone else was negligent. If this is the case, you would be able to file a claim against the other party, or their insurance, to help get compensation and to handle some of the issues you will have after the fact.
However, before you are able to get that compensation, you will need to prove that the injury was because of the negligence of the other party. To prove this negligence, there are four elements that need to happen including:
- Duty of Care: This is a simple one to establish compared to the others. All motorists on the road in Florida owe a duty of care to the other driver. If the person was driving, you have proven a duty of care.
- Breach of duty: To prove this one, you must be able to show that there was a negligent act by the other driver and that the act led to the accident.
- Causation: For this one, it means that you will need to prove that the negligent act of the other person was the cause of the injury.
- Damages: When it comes to your whiplash claim, this element requires that you are able to prove you suffered from a severe injury and had expenses to handle that injury.
For whiplash claims, proving the damages is going to depend quite a bit on how soon you seek and receive the necessary medical treatment after the accident. This means that you will need to seek out medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident to keep safe. This should be done whether you think the whiplash is severe or not.
Even if your whiplash symptoms are easy to spot, you need those medical records to help support the claim. The longer you wait after the accident to get those medical records, the harder it is to prove what is going on and to get the damages you need.
Keep all the records necessary of the accident, any medical treatment, and loss of work possible. The more documentation that you have, the easier it is for your lawyer to put up a compelling case that will help you win in the long run.
You and your whiplash attorney will be able to work together to figure out the best course of action for this case. Each case is different, so you need an injury attorney in St. Petersburg who has experience in personal injury cases in the past and who can work with you to get the best results too.
You will need to prove that you have whiplash and that it has caused complications to you that required medical attention. Just saying that the neck hurts or that you have limited mobility in the neck and upper body is not enough.
This is why you need to visit the doctor right after the accident. They will be able to do a thorough examination of you to determine whether you have had whiplash and can put you on the right treatment plan to help.
With doctor notes, medical bills, and a treatment plan in place, you already have a good start to prove that whiplash did happen and that you deserve the compensation you are asking for. Your attorney will be able to help you sort through all this paperwork.
Does the Other Person Have a Duty of Care to Me?
One of the first things to consider is whether the person at fault had a duty of care towards you or not. Not everyone is going to have this duty, but in many cases, this is going to be the easy part to prove.
If you were on the road with another party, then they had a duty of care for you, whether you were also driving or you were a pedestrian. If someone is in a contact sport with you or in another activity and the injury happens, you and your attorney can often prove duty of care as well.
Did They Breach Their Duty?
This will depend on the exact cause of the whiplash. In Florida, there is the idea that anyone on the road has a duty of care to anyone else on the road. If the whiplash is caused by another driver on the road, then the duty of care should already be proven. They most likely breached that duty by being negligent and crashing into you to cause the whiplash.
This gets a bit harder if you are doing a whiplash case for a contact sport. These are sometimes messy and injuries do happen. The other person may have a duty of care, but they also are supposed to tackle and run into each other. That is the nature of the game.
You will need to prove that the other person purposely didn’t perform their duty of care on this one. This means they were purposely trying to be rough or go after you harder than normal before you are able to claim the whiplash happened. They may have had a duty to you, but proving that they breached that duty is harder.
Why Do I Need an Attorney for My Florida Whiplash Case?
Too many people suffer from whiplash and decide to either ignore the pain and not file a claim, or they decide to do it all on their own, assuming that this is the best way to get compensation. However, this can leave you in a bad situation and with less compensation than you deserve.
This is where a whiplash attorney will be able to step in and help you with your claim. They are knowledgeable about the situation and can walk you through every step of the process, ensuring that you get more care and attention, rather than being ignored. Some of the ways that your attorney will help include:
- Reduces your stress: Fighting the insurance company can be stressful and hard, especially when you are already dealing with issues from whiplash and feeling sore and miserable. Let a whiplash attorney in Florida handle it all for you.
- Fight the insurance company: The insurance company for the other side does not want to play fair. They want to protect their profits as much as possible and will try to keep the payout amount as low as possible, and at zero if possible. The attorney you hire can handle all the fighting for the insurance company if needed.
- Communicate for you during the case: The attorney is going to be responsible for all of the communication for you. If you do communicate with the insurance, never accept anything to settle the claim until you can talk with your lawyer to be safe.
- Handle discovery depositions: A discovery deposition is where you will be asked lots of questions about the accident. These can include where you hurt, what you are able to do and not do since the accident, and what treatment you have received. This helps both sides go through their case so do not let it bother you.
- Work on negotiations: Most of these cases will go through negotiations to come up with the right compensation amount that both parties can agree upon. Your attorney will be able to help. you through this, ensuring that everything goes smoothly.
- Handle a trial if necessary: Most of these cases will not get to a trial because your attorney and the insurance agency will figure things out in negotiations. Trials are expensive and ugly so both parties want to avoid them when possible. If the case does progress to this point, a good whiplash attorney will represent you in court.
All of these parts can be stressful and hard to do if you do not have the right experience. Plus, you are already dealing with a lot of pain and discomfort due to the injury. Rather than leaving it up to chance and hoping everything works out well, hire a whiplash attorney in Florida to help handle the case.
Should I Handle It On My Own?
Never try to handle a personal injury claim like this one on your own. It may seem like an easy thing to do, especially if the insurance is offering you a settlement right out the door. You need someone on your side to help you through this though.
The insurance agency is not your friend. If they are offering a settlement, it is usually because they know they would lose and they want you to take a lower amount to save them the time and hassle of dealing with a lawyer. They often offer you much lower than what you will need for medical expenses and lost wages.
However, if you sign with them, you are stuck. They will often put wording in that makes it impossible for you to sue them later or get more damages at a later time. Since the insurance agency is not going to play fair, you need someone on your side, making sure you get what you deserve.
Your whiplash injury lawyer in Florida will be able to handle the case with complete knowledge of your rights and how the law works. With the help of this attorney, you will get the maximum compensation. You need to focus on your whiplash injury and healing and not be tempted by the small amount the insurance company wants to give.
Getting the Help You Need
When you are suffering from whiplash, it is normal to feel a little concerned and disoriented. You may have a lot of pain and worry that you will not be able to get it under control or ever feel some relief again. The idea of fighting someone else to help take care of the claim and get you the money that you deserve can be too much to handle.
The right attorney can make sure that your whiplash case is under control. They understand how to handle this case and can walk you through the steps necessary to file the claim, go through negotiations, and get the assistance that you need. Do not try to do it alone. Find the right whiplash attorney in St. Petersburg, FL to help you get the compensation you deserve.
At Lopez Law, we have extensive experience in dealing with various personal injury cases, including whiplash. We also don’t charge you for our services unless we win compensation for your injuries. Call us today at 727-933-0015 for a no-risk consultation of your case.