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MYRTLE BEACH ATTORNEYS OF THE YATES FIRM
Myrtle Beach Car Accident Whiplash Lawyers
Whiplash injuries can cause severe and debilitating neck, shoulder, and extremity pain. Whiplash is generally caused by an accident that violently whips your head back and forth. Too often, the media portrays whiplash injuries for comic effect, even making jokes about lawyers putting neck braces on clients. But whiplash is very real, and it is excruciating.
Whiplash symptoms can be so severe as to cause you to no longer be able to work, do recreational activities, or even take care of yourself. If someone’s negligence caused your whiplash, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries.
What Is a Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash is a neck injury occurring when the neck forcibly goes from one direction to another. The violent movement is similar to a cracking whip, and the extreme force during whiplash damages muscles, discs, nerves, ligaments, or tendons in the neck.
More than three million Americans suffer whiplash injuries yearly. Whiplash occurs most often in vehicle collisions with sudden acceleration or deceleration and is quite common in rear-end collisions. Violent body contact in football, hockey, rugby, or other contact sports can also cause whiplash. Physical abuse often causes whiplash, including in young children with Shaken Baby Syndrome.
What Are Some Symptoms of Whiplash?
Some whiplash symptoms appear right after an injury. Some symptoms only appear over time. Symptoms may include:
- Severe neck pain
- Neck tightness and reduced range of movement
- Pains in the shoulder
- Pain or numbness radiating down the arms or hands
- Blurred vision
Whiplash can also cause cognitive or mental impairments and symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating or confusion
- Mood swings
- Excessive tiredness
How Do Doctors Treat Whiplash?
A doctor will conduct a physical exam to determine whether you have whiplash and may order imaging tests such as a CT or MRI scan. Once a doctor determines you have whiplash, they will generally begin treatment with conservative measures like pain medication, muscle relaxants, exercise, and applying ice or heat to the affected area. A doctor will also likely immobilize the neck with a brace and prescribe physical therapy.
While most whiplash victims feel better after a short while, some people have chronic pain that can last for years. Ten to twenty percent of people who suffer whiplash develop long-term problems and pain. A person may be more prone to long-term complications if they have had a previous whiplash injury, if the person is older, or if the pain quickly radiates down their arms after their injury.
What Compensation Can You Recover After a Whiplash Injury?
When you have a whiplash injury, the negligent party who caused that injury is responsible for paying you compensation. The purpose of the compensation is to return you to the same financial condition you were in pre-accident.
The type of compensation you may receive varies with the circumstances of your claim. For example, severe whiplash can cause a life-long inability to work or enjoy daily activities. The money you’ll be able to recover for a severe claim will generally be much greater than for a minor claim in which you fully and quickly recover.
You could be eligible to recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including visits to physicians, chiropractors, or physical therapists, hospital expenses, ambulance expenses, medications, or assistive devices
- Lost wages, which should cover any time you were unable to work because your injury kept you off work or you missed work for medical appointments
- Reduced earning capability if your injuries are severe enough to prevent you from returning to your job or any work in the future
- Property damage, including your vehicle, laptop, clothing, or other personal items damaged in the accident
- Pain and suffering, including stress, anxiety, and depression from your injuries
South Carolina does not place a cap on pain and suffering damages as some states do.
Punitive damages are also possible. Unlike the compensation you might get for your accident-related losses, punitive damages are designed to punish the negligent party for their wrongdoing and to prevent them or anyone else from committing that act again. A South Carolina jury can award punitive damages at a personal injury trial only after deciding that the negligent party’s actions were either reckless or willful.
Time Allowed to File a Lawsuit
Many cases settle without filing a lawsuit, but if negotiating a settlement with the negligent party or their insurance company does not work, you will need to file a civil lawsuit to pursue your claim. In South Carolina, you must file a lawsuit against the at-fault party within three years of the date of the accident. You are forever barred from holding the negligent party liable in court if you have not yet filed a lawsuit when that deadline passes.
What Steps Do I Take if I Have a Whiplash Injury?
The first thing you need to do is get medical care. The earlier you get diagnosed, immobilized, and start with your prescribed course of treatment, the better your chance at a positive outcome and successful recovery. See a doctor even if you feel fine. Your injury may still be severe even if you have not yet developed symptoms.
Once you have stabilized your condition and have started treatment, find a seasoned and knowledgeable car accident whiplash attorney. You will need an advocate to help you recover the money you need to pay your bills and move forward. Whiplash cases can be complicated and require careful timing, particularly because symptoms are sometimes delayed.
Contact a Myrtle Beach Car Accident Whiplash Attorney at The Yates Firm for Help
The Yates Firm has personal injury lawyers experienced with whiplash injuries and knows how to build your best case. Contact us today at 843-692-3237 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation so our experienced attorneys can help you pursue justice and help.