Whiplash results from a forceful back-and-forth motion along the spine.
When the spine reverberates like a whip, significant nerve damage and pain can result.
How Common Are Whiplash Injuries in Boca Raton?
It can be difficult to isolate data at the municipal or even the county level.
However, data is available nationwide and across the state of Florida to demonstrate how common whiplash can be.
In 2018, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported nearly half a million car accidents involving over 693,000 drivers. Soft tissue injuries to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments are common injuries after car accidents.
Types of Whiplash Injuries
Whiplash can result from a back-and-forth or a side-to-side motion. Whiplash is not exactly a single injury but can be one of several injuries in related systems in the neck and back.
Whiplash can be the result of:
- Nerve injury
- Muscle injury
- Joint injury
- Disc injury
The extremes of flexion and extension that lead to whiplash can even occur in slow-speed car accidents, including rear-end and side-impact collisions under 15 mph.
When the point of flexion and extension is at the brainstem, whiplash can cause brain injuries.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Whiplash Injury?
Signs and symptoms of whiplash may be present immediately after an injury and can develop in the days following a trauma.
A person suffering a whiplash injury may experience:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Worsening of 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
Some people also have:
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Sleep disturbances
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
While this can seem like a broad and unrelated list of symptoms, an experienced clinician will identify the signs of whiplash.
How Can Pre-Existing Conditions Impact Whiplash Risk?
Each person’s recovery with whiplash may be different. This is especially true for those with pre-existing conditions.
You may be at greater risk for worse outcomes following a whiplash injury if you:
- Have had whiplash before
- Are older in age
- Have existing low back or neck pain
- Suffered a high-speed injury
If the accident that caused your whiplash aggravates a pre-existing condition, you may be entitled to compensation for the worsening of your pre-existing conditions.
What Are the Long-Term Consequences of Whiplash Injuries?
Unfortunately, whiplash has some nasty long-term consequences.
One of the most significant long-term consequences of whiplash is chronic pain.
A person may be more likely to have chronic pain if their first symptoms were intense, came on rapidly, and included:
- Severe neck pain
- More-limited range of motion
- Pain that spread to the arms
Since chronic pain can significantly impair quality of life and enjoyment of life, whiplash injuries can seriously disrupt an injury victim’s life.
What Causes Whiplash Injuries?
Whiplash injuries have multiple causes.
Some common causes of whiplash injuries include:
- Rear-end collisions
- Side-impact collisions
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Sports contact
- Physical abuse or assault
- Motorcycle accidents
On rare occasions, a whiplash injury may implicate an incident of medical malpractice.
Is Whiplash a Red Flag For Nursing Home Abuse?
Not necessarily. Whiplash is a soft tissue injury that is also common after slip-and-fall accidents.
In the U.S., about one in four adults over age 65 report falling each year. In 2014, nearly 70,000 Floridians were admitted to hospitals as a result of a fall. Of course, some of these whiplash injuries might be the result of a fall due to nursing home abuse or neglect.
What is My Whiplash Injury Case Worth?
The value of a case depends on the facts and circumstances of that case. Our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at the Hollander Law Firm can give you greater insight into the value of your case.
However, there are some common factors that influence the value of a personal injury claim, including:
- The severity of injuries
- The extent to which an injury victim’s life or career is disrupted
- The certainty of liability and cost of litigation
- Publicity, if any
There may be many more specific circumstances that influence the value of a claim, but these are often present.
How Does the Severity of Injuries Influence a Case’s Worth?
More severe injuries can increase the maximum compensation in two ways.
First, a severe injury is likely going to require more urgent and immediate medical care, such as:
- Transportation in an ambulance
- Emergency room treatment
- ICU admittance
- Life-saving medical measures
Many of these precious medical resources are also costly and lead to eye-popping medical bills. Compensation is available for these financial costs.
Second, a severe injury likely increases the value of a pain and suffering component of a claim. Permanent impairments can also increase the maximum available compensation.
Why Does Life Disruption Impact the Value of a Claim?
One purpose of compensation for personal injury damages is to restore a person’s financial and physical health. Compensation is also available for things that cannot be restored. For this reason, if an injury significantly or permanently changes the course of a person’s life, the compensation awarded is likely to be more significant.
What Does Certainty of Liability and Cost of Litigation Have to Do with the Value of My Case?
At our law firm, we know our cases involve a person whose life has forever changed. Unfortunately, for the insurance companies, your case is simply another business decision.
Insurance companies are more likely to offer higher settlements when it is clear that their insured will bear responsibility, and they will be on the hook for financial liability. They will also make settlement offers if they know that the law firm representing the injury victim has the financial strength to make them honor their insurance terms.
We have the expertise to develop clear theories of liability and the financial strength to put those strategies into action. Since insurance companies know we put up a fight, they are more likely to negotiate settlements in good faith.
What Compensation Can I Recover for My Whiplash Injuries?
In general, an injury victim can recover the full value of the damages they can prove.
In personal injury cases, compensatory damages are usually at issue. Compensatory damages fall into two categories: economic and non-economic.
What are Economic Damages?
Economic damages are expenses incurred as a result of your whiplash injury or money lost because of your whiplash injury, including:
- Medical expenses
- Physical therapy costs
- Costs for physical therapy aids and interventions
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
Each of these losses has to be tied directly to your whiplash injury. To establish the value of the economic damages, documents such as receipts, invoices, and tax records are used.
What are Non-Economic Damages?
While economic damages are intended to restore financial losses, non-economic damages make up for intangible losses.
These damages include:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Mental anguish
One common category of non-economic damages includes pain and suffering, which accounts for embarrassment or humiliation.
How Long Do I Have to File a Whiplash Injury Lawsuit in Florida?
Injured parties have up to four (4) years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit under Florida’s statute of limitations. In cases involving wrongful death, a lawsuit must be filed within two (2) years of the fatality.
While these time periods may seem like plenty of time, a lot must be done before a lawsuit is filed, often involving one or more insurance claims. The competent and professional West Palm Beach car accident attorneys at the Hollander Law Firm, P.A. will make sure your case is handled in a timely manner.
Contact Our Boca Raton Personal Injury Lawyers Today
If you have suffered a whiplash injury in Boca Raton, FL, because of someone else’s negligence, Gregg Hollander and the Boca Raton personal injury lawyers at the Hollander Law Firm, P.A., can fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your medical bills, lost income, and other damages.
The Hollander Law Firm, P.A., serves Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and all the areas surrounding Boca Raton, FL. Since 1996, we have been providing quality legal representation to injury victims across South Florida. Contact our law firm today or call (561) 347-7770 to set up a free consultation regarding your personal injury case.