Neck sprains and strains are the most frequently reported injuries from car accidents in Rhode Island and the United States. Whiplash and other neck injuries can cause long-lasting, sometimes debilitating pain. In addition to expensive medical bills, it is common for a whiplash victim to face financial hardships from being unable to work, all while suffering from a reduced quality of life.
If someone’s negligence led to your car accident, you deserve to be fully compensated for your financial loss and personal suffering. At Gemma Law Associates, Inc., our dedicated Rhode Island car accident attorneys know how insurance companies will fight claims involving whiplash and other neck injuries. And we know what it takes to fight back.
Contact our team today to set up a free consultation about your car accident claim. With more than 40 years of experience, our attorneys have helped countless crash victims recover the compensation they need after suffering serious neck injuries in Rhode Island car accidents.
What Is Whiplash in a Rhode Island Car Accident?
Medical authorities define “whiplash” as a neck injury caused by quick and forceful back-and-forth movement that stretches the neck, like when someone cracks a whip. Neck injuries such as whiplash can occur in any type of motor vehicle accident but most often happen in rear-end collisions.
In a rear-end car crash, the force of the impact can suddenly push a victim’s torso (and the vehicle) forward while the neck bends and stretches backward beyond its normal range of motion, then snaps back into an upright posture. The same type of neck injury may also occur in side-impact accidents and other types of collisions that force such sudden snapping of the neck.
Hyperextension of the neck can cause, in order of increasing severity:
- Strains and sprains to soft tissue, primarily muscle
- Nerve damage
- Disc damage
- Ruptured ligaments
- Fracture of cervical vertebrae (i.e., a broken neck)
If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, you should see a doctor as soon as possible to assess your injuries. Symptoms of whiplash and neck injuries may not be immediately obvious, but putting off going to the doctor can leave you vulnerable to further injuring yourself.
Signs of Neck Injuries or Whiplash in A Rhode Island Car Accident
Within 24 hours of a car accident, a driver or passenger who has suffered whiplash or similar neck injuries is likely to experience symptoms such as:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Increased pain with neck movement
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull
- Tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back, or arms
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
- Unwarranted fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Sleep disturbances
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
Do not take a wait-and-see approach to seeking treatment for a neck injury. You may be putting your health and your financial future at risk. If you end up pursuing a personal injury claim for a neck injury after a car accident, the insurance company will argue that any delay in seeking treatment is evidence that your injury is not serious.
Treating Whiplash and Neck Injuries After a Car Accident
When you see a doctor for a neck injury after a crash, he or she may order X-rays to rule out a cervical fracture(s). The doctor may also require a CT scan or MRI to look for herniated disc(s) or significant ligament injury. You may also be evaluated for signs of traumatic brain injury.
Treatment for neck injuries can vary depending on the severity. Your doctor may recommend any of the following:
- Ice, heat, or medication (over the counter or by prescription) may help reduce pain, swelling, and/or muscle spasms.
- You may need to wear a soft cervical collar for a few days to brace and immobilize your neck if your pain is exacerbated by movement.
- Even if you have suffered a cervical fracture, immobilization is the primary treatment. A minor compression fracture is treated with a cervical brace worn for six to eight weeks until the bone heals.
- A more complex or extensive fracture (a broken neck) will require traction, potentially surgery, and two to three months in a rigid cast, or a combination of these treatments.
- Once you have healed from whiplash or a cervical fracture, your doctor will prescribe stretching and movement exercises to help restore range of motion in your neck.
- If your case is more severe or your pain does not diminish, you may see a physical therapist for help developing a more targeted exercise routine.
Most whiplash victims recover in a few months, but some cases cause pain for several months or years after the accident. Chronic pain may be more likely if the initial neck injury symptoms include rapid onset of pain, severe neck pain, headaches, and pain that radiates to the arms.
Compensation for Neck Injuries in a Car Accident: Rhode Island Car Accident Lawyers
The costs and losses suffered by those who experience neck injuries in car accidents can be extensive. At Gemma Law Associates, our Rhode Island car accident attorneys can help you demand full and fair compensation for:
- Medical bills ranging from emergency care to medication and physical therapy, and potentially including hospitalization and surgery
- Lost income from being out of work, as well as diminished earning capacity in the future
- Property damage to your vehicle
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress, particularly from long-lasting or chronic pain, which can lead to depression and other emotional issues
Many insurance companies will balk at a car accident claim seeking compensation for whiplash or neck injuries. Insurance adjustors know it is difficult to substantiate lingering or chronic pain, which you may suffer from a neck injury. Some insurers will simply deny your pain and make a low car accident settlement offer that comes nowhere close to covering your costs and losses.
The dedicated legal team at Gemma Law Associates will work closely with you to document your losses. Our team understands what it takes to prove the extent of your injury. We can have your medical records reviewed by specialists for second opinions on your injuries. We may also ask a consulting specialist and/or vocational therapist to examine you and provide us a report about your injuries and prognosis, including how your injuries may adversely affect your ability to earn a living.
Developing a solid case allows us to negotiate aggressively with insurance companies for the proper compensation you need to recover after a devastating crash. It also demonstrates that our law firm is prepared to try your claim in court if the insurance company will not come to terms on a proper payment to you.
Contact Our Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorneys Today
For more than 40 years, the car accident lawyers at Gemma Law Associates have been successfully representing accident victims across Rhode Island. We take our responsibility to our clients seriously. We treat every case with the individual attention that it deserves.
Give us a call today or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation so you can learn more about how our attorneys can help with your personal injury claim. Our law firm does not charge legal fees unless and until we recover compensation for you. This means you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by talking to us about your car accident claim.