The neck is critical to many functions of the body and houses nerves and the spine that continue into the lower portion of the body and control movement and sensations. Ironically, despite its importance it’s a very fragile part of the body and any unnatural movement or impact can severely injure someone and have a catastrophic impact on their life – the cost of treating whiplash in the United States alone last year was $30 billion. Whiplash occurs when the neck moves back and forth rapidly in a motion much like the cracking of a whip. The most common cause of whiplash and other neck injuries is motor vehicle accidents – even accidents that occur at as little as 5 miles an hour. However, sports collisions, slip and falls, physical abuse, or even rollercoasters and amusement park rides can injure an unsuspecting victim.
Lake Elsinore, with its heavy commuting population, large volume of tourists flocking to the area, and proximity to the busy 15 freeway and its large number of commercial trucks traveling the road, is unsurprisingly home to numerous car accidents (and injuries) each year. California’s Office of Traffic Safety reported 312 traffic injuries and fatalities from traffic accidents in 2016 alone – many resulting in whiplash – and an untold number of unreported neck injuries. No matter the circumstances, if your neck was injured by someone else’s negligence, you should contact an experienced Lake Elsinore Whiplash and Neck Injury Attorney today to learn if you may be entitled to compensation.
Causes and Symptoms of Whiplash and Neck Injuries Whiplash is a soft tissue injury to the neck that’s commonly referred to as either neck strain or cervical muscle strain by medical professionals. A common cause of whiplash is motor vehicle collisions – especially rear-end accidents, which are usually caused by the rear driver’s negligence. If you’re involved in a car accident, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon after the accident as possible and remain vigilant for any new symptoms develop over the next few days. Though some symptoms may appear immediately after whiplash or a neck injury occurs, other signs of injury may not.
Whiplash and other neck injuries can present in many ways, largely because the neck and nerves within it impact almost every area of the body. Common symptoms include:
- Neck, back, shoulder, or arm pain,
- Dizziness or blurry vision,
- Decreased range of motion, and
In a few cases, additional symptoms including concentration difficulties, tinnitus (ringing within the ears), irritability, mood swings, and depression may appear. Even though a large portion of these injuries can be treated and resolve within a few months, some cases lead to complaints of chronic pain.
Proving Negligence and Establishing Liability Most whiplash and neck injury victims seek compensation from the wrongdoer through the legal system in the form of a civil lawsuit for damages. Negligence is the most common argument made, because once the elements are established, a defendant will be liable for their injuries unless they have a valid defense. Though car accidents cause most cases of whiplash and neck injuries, any incident involving someone’s negligent conduct and that results in the victim’s harm – negligent maintenance of a building resulting in a slip and fall, for example – can be the basis of a lawsuit. To prove negligence, you must show the defendant:
- Owed you a legal duty of care,
- Breached that duty through act or omission, and
- Caused your injuries through their breach.
Victims can also demonstrate negligence by showing the wrongdoer caused their harm while they were violating a law or regulation. This includes traffic laws like speed limits and driving while intoxicated, so it can be useful if your injury resulted in a car crash and evidence like skid marks or eyewitness accounts to support your argument.
What Is My Case Worth? Once a defendant is legally liable for your whiplash or neck injuries, you may be able to recover a damage award for the injuries you can prove in court. A victim will often be awarded compensatory damages for proven physical, emotional, psychological, and financial injuries including:
- Medical bills and future medical expenses,
- Property damage,
- Funeral expenses or burial costs,
- Lost wage and lost future earning capacity,
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of consortium (companionship),
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and
- Permanent disability or disfigurement.
Sometimes, the defendant behaved in such a vile, reprehensible manner the victim may be entitled to an award of additional damages to punish the offender’s conduct and discourage repetition of the behavior by themselves or others. These punitive damages are discretionary and require you to satisfy a very high burden of proof, so working with an experienced Lake Elsinore Whiplash and Neck Injury Attorney can help you to avoid potentially costly legal missteps when pursuing recovery.
Contact an Attorney Today The chronic pain from whiplash, soft tissue, and other neck injuries can greatly impact your quality of life and cause unexpected physical, emotional, psychological, and financial consequences. If you or a loved one were involved in an accident and suffered this type of injury, contact the Lake Elsinore Whiplash and Neck Injury Attorneys at Walton Law, APC today to put the best foot forward on your claim for recovery. Our attorneys have years of experience providing tailored, compassionate representation for victims like you and delivering results – we have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients to help them get their lives back to normal. Contact us today to schedule your confidential, no obligation initial case review. We are available 24/7 at (866)-338-7079 or through our online Contact Page to set up your risk-free consultation. The case evaluation is free, and you pay nothing until we recover for you. Let our attorneys review the facts of your case and start working to get the best possible outcome for you from an unfortunate, avoidable situation.