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Rhode Island Whiplash Injury Lawyers

According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash is a neck injury that can occur during rear-end automobile collisions.

Whiplash typically happens when the seatbelt of your vehicle keeps your body in place while your head is forcefully thrown forward and then backward. The forceful motion stretches the joints, ligaments, and muscles in your neck farther and faster than is healthy and damages the soft tissues of your neck.

Whiplash may be mild or severe, such as a spinal cord injury. It can have lasting effects, including pain and impaired mobility. There also may be significant financial costs associated with whiplash. These costs include getting medical treatment and losing the ability to work and earn wages.

Car Accidents and Other Causes of Whiplash Injuries

According to the North American Spine Society, whiplash refers to the cause of the injury and the name of the injury itself. The Spine Society indicates that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of whiplash injuries. Also, whiplash is most likely to result from a rear-end crash. However, the Spine Society also indicates that whiplash injuries can happen in head-on and side-impact collisions as well.

When a vehicle rear-ends another car, the energy impact of this strike passes through the vehicle and is absorbed by the passengers. This transfer of energy causes your neck to whip forward and then backward. This damages the neck.
The Spine Society indicates that the more energy transferred, the greater the chance of a whiplash injury’s occurring. So, if you are rear-ended by a larger vehicle or by a vehicle moving quickly, you are more likely to suffer whiplash.

While car accidents are the most common cause of whiplash injuries, other events or incidents that force the neck out of alignment can also cause whiplash. Physical abuse and sporting activities are both potential whiplash causes. PubMed reports that whiplash is common in infants suffering from shaken baby syndrome.

Symptoms of Whiplash

Whiplash symptoms typically don’t occur until about 24 hours or more after your accident. It may take time to feel the pain and discomfort of the overstretched soft tissues in your neck. When the symptoms do appear, the Mayo Clinic indicates that whiplash victims may experience:

  • Discomfort and stiffness in the neck
  • Headaches (with the pain originating in or centered in the base of the skull)
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Exhaustion or excessive fatigue
  • Problems concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Sleep problems
  • Irritability

In some cases, the pain may spread to your shoulder or your arms. You may experience tingling, numbness, or weakness, or you may have pain when you move your head. If these symptoms occur, getting emergency medical treatment is essential.

The North American Spine Society reports that most of these symptoms will disappear within a few weeks or months. Only minor treatment may be required, such as pain therapy or chiropractic care.

Unfortunately, approximately one out of three patients will not fully recover from whiplash. They will experience ongoing pain. For most people who do experience ongoing pain, it is ordinarily intermittent and mild.

For some, however, ongoing whiplash symptoms will persist and cause constant and severe pain. The North American Spine Society indicates that approximately 10 percent of people who experience whiplash after a car accident will have severe chronic neck pain.

Typically, suppose your whiplash symptoms have not gone away within six months. In that case, you will fall into either the group with occasional but chronic pain or into the group with a severe ongoing neck issue.

Treating Whiplash Injuries

One of the challenges associated with whiplash is that there are no conclusive medical tests that prove you have developed whiplash or that show the extent of neck damage.

For this reason, auto insurance companies are sometimes reluctant to approve settlements or pay claims arising from whiplash injuries. Having an experienced Rhode Island accident lawyer on your side is crucial so you can get the compensation you deserve.

Because there is no conclusive test to prove you have whiplash, doctors will normally make this diagnosis using a process of elimination. X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs may be performed to rule out other possible causes of neck pain.

Once you have been diagnosed with whiplash, there are some limited treatment options available. These include:

  • Prescription pain medications
  • Injections of powerful drugs, including a numbing medication called lidocaine (which also goes by the brand name Xylocaine)
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Physical therapy, including exercises to strengthen and stretch the neck muscles
  • Applying heat or ice to relieve pain
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • The use of foam collars or cervical collars to immobilize the neck

These treatments manage the symptoms of whiplash but are not a cure. If your whiplash does not resolve itself within six months, then you will typically have to do whatever you can to manage the pain, which may persist for years.

Compensation for Whiplash Injuries

In the U.S., the estimated cost of treating whiplash injuries is $29 billion per year. These costs are astronomical. People injured in car crashes are left to cope with the financial and emotional pain of whiplash.

When a whiplash injury occurs, the driver who was responsible for causing the injury should pay for the consequences. To recover compensation, the injured victim who is suffering from whiplash will need to show that the driver was negligent or unreasonably careless and that this carelessness caused the crash.

Because most whiplash cases result from rear-end collisions, it is usually assumed that the driver in the rear was responsible for the crash and, thus, for the whiplash.

The challenge in many whiplash cases is not in proving that the other party was at fault but instead to prove that the injury is real and to demonstrate the extent of the injury.

An experienced Rhode Island whiplash lawyer can help you do everything possible to build a strong case to get a fair settlement or an appropriate damage award from a jury.

Contact a Rhode Island Whiplash Lawyer Today

If you are suffering from whiplash after an auto accident, contact the Rhode Island whiplash lawyers of Gemma Law Associates today. We represent whiplash sufferers across Rhode Island. We can represent clients from Providence, Pawtucket, Newport, Warwick, Cranston, Bristol, or Woonsocket. If you’re an out-of-state driver injured in Rhode Island, we can help you, too.

Call us today at our toll-free number or complete our online form. Our attorneys will provide you with a free confidential review of your case. If we represent you, you won’t pay legal fees if we don’t recover compensation for you.

Gemma law is the best and helped and guided me threw everything … highly recommended thank you so much
ellen almgren
ellen almgren
5 stars all the way. They did exactly what was expected. Good Job
Keith Ruggiero
Keith Ruggiero
Very efficient and very good with communicating with me. I received updates about my case without having to call and request them. Very good law office! Very satisfied.
Bethania Herrera
Bethania Herrera
Mark Gemma has been absolutely amazing. He was helpful and answered all concerns and questions I’ve had. Him and his team are beyond incredible, supportive, and sweet. I would like to thank them all for everything they’ve done.
Samantha Argus
Samantha Argus
very professional and honest, what I liked the most is whenever you call the lawyer returns your call with every concern I had. It was my first time and I would not hesitate to trust them again.
Diana Palacio
Diana Palacio
This team is extremely helpful and kind. Mark Gemma was a great help in guiding me through this whole process and was a huge help. I would recommend this team to anyone seeking legal counsel
Zachary Dustin
Zachary Dustin
I am so happy with the turnout of my case. Both Sarah and Peter kept me up to date on everything and worked very hard on my case. The whole staff is friendly and diligent with their work. 100% recommend!
Chelsie Abatiello
Chelsie Abatiello
Managed to get my money before Christmas...in just days after settling! Great communication and always helped with my needs, and always gave good advice. Would definitely recommend.
Trini Luckey
Trini Luckey
Always professional and always checking in on their clients. Excellent atmosphere.
Susan Hallam
Susan Hallam
After spending 8 hours in a hospital overnight to get stitches in my lip because of a drunk driver’s negligent decision to get behind the wheel, the last thing I wanted to do was think about it all. I sent an email to Gemma Law, and Mark Gemma quickly called me back with an empathetic approach to listening to my story and helping me figure out the next steps. When he told me I wouldn’t have to have any contact with the insurance companies, I was HOOKED! When he pointed out how unfortunate it was I might have to miss out on a lip modeling career from a potential scar from the stitches, I was SOLD! And when I finally received my settlement check after letting him do all the leg work while I just focused on recovering, I was and am eternally GRATEFUL! Mark Gemma helped me turn a near death experience into a new start in life and I highly recommend him to anybody needing a personal injury lawyer.
Angie Sherman
Angie Sherman
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