It does not take a high-speed motor vehicle accident to cause whiplash. Low-speed impacts, acts of physical violence, or other events that force your neck to jolt back and forth can cause serious neck damage or whiplash. The consequences of these injuries can be severe and long-lasting.
When someone else’s carelessness causes an accident that leaves you with whiplash, you are entitled to compensation. A North Memphis personal injury lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu, & Montesi PLC will help you get it.
How a Whiplash Injury Occurs
The Mayo Clinic defines whiplash as “a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.” This movement can damage bones in the neck or spine, the disks between bones, neck ligaments, muscles, nerves, or any other neck tissue.
A common cause of whiplash injuries is a rear-end motor vehicle accident. According to the Rush University System of Health (RUSH) impacts from vehicles traveling as slowly as five to ten miles per hour can cause whiplash. Injuries are usually more severe for those not properly restrained by a seatbelt, a detail that can factor into a settlement amount.
Whiplash can also be caused by violent physical acts, such as when victims are punched or thrashed. Sports are opportunities for whiplash as well, perhaps through a football tackle, boxing impact, gymnastics, or snowboarding maneuver.
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Symptoms of Whiplash Injuries
Symptoms of whiplash might appear right away but sometimes do not show for 24 hours or even a few days after an incident. Even if you do not see immediate symptoms, if your accident caused your head to move in a rapid back-and-forth movement, you need should anticipate emerging symptoms and seek prompt medical treatment.
Common symptoms of whiplash include:
- Pain or stiffness in the neck that worsens with neck movement
- Diminished range of neck motion
- Headaches, particularly those that originate at the base of the skull
- Shoulder or upper back or arm tenderness or pain
- Arm numbness or tingling
- Fatigue or dizziness
Other symptoms include blurred vision and ringing in the ears, poor sleep, diminished concentration and memory, and even irritability and depression. Some people follow an exercise and medication routine and heal from whiplash in a matter of weeks, while others experience long-term complications and can have pain for months or even years after the initial injury. The more severe the initial symptoms, the more likely you are to see complications.
Other factors increasing more serious outcomes include prior whiplash occurrences, advanced age, pre-existing back or neck conditions, or high-speed impacts.
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Steps to Take Following a Whiplash Injury
Even following a seemingly minor accident, it is best to call the police and have an official report made. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other party. Then, get medical attention.
Though you may think you will “feel better tomorrow” or do not have immediate pain, for the sake of your health and your potential injury claim, see a doctor.
Failing to treat an injury can lead to worsening conditions. It can also give the at-fault party the opportunity to deny the accident that caused your injuries. They may argue that your lack of prompt treatment increased your injury’s severity and complications, not their negligent behavior.
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When to Contact a Whiplash Injury Attorney in North Memphis
Partner with GKBM whiplash attorney in North Memphis as soon as possible after your accident. Tennessee has a one-year statute of limitations for filing an injury claim. By teaming up with a lawyer quickly, you give your attorney as much time as possible to investigate your accident and collect the evidence necessary to prove the at-fault party’s negligence.
Since it is easy for accident victims to be taken advantage of by insurance companies, you are most protected when an experienced attorney serves as your voice and handles all communication with these parties. It is important to remember that insurance companies are not on your side and want to protect their own assets. As a result, they may coerce you into accepting a low settlement or manipulate your words into admissions of fault.
A whiplash injury lawyer in North Memphis will prepare and file all legal documentation accurately and on time and will protect your settlement from the unethical tactics often used by insurance companies.
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How Tennessee’s Fault Laws Affect Your Case
Tennessee’s modified comparative fault system plays an important role in personal injury cases. According to these laws, victims can only file a claim if they are less than 50% responsible for the accident that led to their injuries. If the victim is able to file but holds a smaller percentage of fault, the settlement collected will be reduced by that percentage of fault.
The at-fault party will try to assign fault to you. For example, if you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, they can claim you own some blame for the severity of your injuries. A skilled North Memphis whiplash injury lawyer will work to protect you from false or inflated claims of fault so you can receive the compensation you deserve.
If your claim is against a government entity, perhaps you were rear-ended by a mail truck, the procedures for filing your claim are different than if you file against a private entity. Regardless of who is at fault, your North Memphis whiplash injury lawyer has the knowledge and experience to handle your case with efficiency.
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What a Whiplash Injury Settlement Covers
There is no set amount for a whiplash settlement. What you demand and collect in compensation depends on these factors, among others:
- The severity of your injuries
- The long-term consequences of your injury
- How much time you miss at work
- Whether you can return to work
- The extent of your pain and emotional distress
You can depend on your North Memphis whiplash injury lawyer to assess your losses carefully and thoroughly, and demand a settlement that covers your needs.
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Connect with GKBM today. Call or drop us an electronic message to arrange a free consultation with a North Memphis whiplash injury attorney. Your attorney will listen to your situation, offer you reliable legal advice, and take your case through the legal process with superior skill.