Whiplash is a general term for soft-tissue damage to the neck, often associated with rear-end car accidents. Many people mistakenly think that whiplash is not a serious injury, but if left untreated, soft-tissue injuries can have serious and long-lasting effects. Whiplash can make it very difficult to perform day-to-day functions, like working and exercising. The pain and inconvenience of a whiplash injury can have serious effects on the victim’s well-being and mental health—not to mention the medical costs associated with treating such an injury.
If you or a loved one has suffered whiplash in an accident, contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi today. Our skilled personal injury lawyers have spent more than 80 combined years fighting for the injured in New Jersey and New York, collecting more than $300 million in compensation along the way. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have the experience and commitment to see your claim through to the very end and hold the guilty party accountable for their negligence. Call (201) 585-9111 or contact us online to speak with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a commonly used term for a certain type of injury caused by extension and distortion of the neck. In medical terms, this type of injury is usually caused by “cervical acceleration-deceleration,” which can result in hyperflexion and hyperextension of the neck. The sudden strain to the bones, muscles, and nerves in the neck that results when the head is suddenly jolted can cause severe pain and damage to the bones and tissues in the region, including areas of the upper back and spine.
There are four stages to a typical whiplash incident: the initial position of the head and neck before the jolt, the retraction immediately following, the extension as the head recoils, and the rebound after the neck is fully extended and snaps back. As these stages progress, several powerful forces are exerted on the soft tissues in the head, neck, and upper back and shoulders, causing unusual load to be put on them. They are pulled further apart than they are capable of moving, causing hyperextension, and they are often bent or twisted in unusual ways, causing hyperflexion. This increased strain often results in tearing or other forms of injury to the muscles, bones, tendons, and discs in the neck and upper back, which can be severe, chronic or even fatal.
What types of accidents cause whiplash?
Whiplash and neck injuries are commonly associated with rear-end car accidents, where the occupants of the front vehicle are unprepared for impact. These injuries can occur at speeds of as little as 15 miles per hour, when the body is forced to a sudden stop or change of direction. But whiplash injuries can result from other types of incidents too, including:
- Trucking accidents
- Recreational activities like football, bungie jumping, hockey, and soccer
- Intentional assaults that produce head trauma
- Repetitive stress injuries at work
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Amusement park accidents involving high-speed rides
Even in cases where safety restraints are being used, such as a seat belt and shoulder harness, the abrupt shock of an auto accident can cause enough force to create whiplash.
Symptoms of Whiplash Injuries
The most common symptom of a whiplash injury is chronic pain in the neck, back and shoulders. Some more severe whiplash symptoms include sensory disturbance (the feeling of numbness or of pins and needles in the extremities), frequent persistent headaches, or even spinal damage. Most symptoms of whiplash injuries persist for years, and nearly 65 percent of people find it difficult to work at the same level of performance, even many years later. In addition, the injury to the neck and spinal cord sustained during a whiplash incident causes upwards of 5,000 cases of paralysis or quadriplegia and about 6,000 deaths each year.
Compensation for Whiplash Injuries
Damages in a personal injury case are divided into two categories: compensatory and punitive damages. The vast majority of personal injury cases deal with compensatory damages, which are designed to compensate the injured person for losses suffered as a result of the accident. Compensatory damages in an accident could include:
- Current and future medical treatment: includes hospitalization costs, ongoing treatment expenses, rehabilitation costs, and any expected future medical expenses
- Lost wages: compensation for wages lost while out of work due to the accident, as well as decreased earning capacity in the future if the injuries will continue to affect the victim
- Property damage: compensation for damage to the victim’s car, clothing, or other personal effects as a result of the accident
- Loss of enjoyment of life: covers loss of enjoyment of day-to-day activities, recreation, hobbies, and exercise
- Pain and suffering: the physical and emotional pain caused by the accident, including the pain of the physical injuries and ongoing emotional trauma
- Emotional distress: the psychological effects of an injury, such as anxiety, sleep loss, or fear (typically awarded in severe accidents)
- Wrongful death: compensation for the family or estate of someone killed by a negligent driver
Contact an Experienced New Jersey Whiplash Attorney
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi are proud to represent the injured throughout New Jersey and New York. Since opening our doors in 1974, we have been committed to the highest standards of excellence in personal injury litigation. Our million-dollar and multi-million-dollar settlements have earned us inclusion in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, of which fewer than 1 percent of U.S. lawyers are members. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi was named to U.S. News and World Report’s Best Law Firms list of 2019, and Michael Maggiano and Christopher DiGirolamo have received the highest possible ratings as car accident attorneys by the AVVO Lawyer Ratings service.
With more than 80 years’ worth of combined trial experience, we are prepared to investigate your claim and fight to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions. If you or a loved one has suffered whiplash in an accident, contact us to discuss your legal options. Call (201) 585-9111 or contact us online to schedule your free and confidential consultation today.