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Whiplash After a Car Accident: What To Do

X-ray of a man in a car accident, rear collision, showing skeleton and brain. Side view. Isolated on black background.

One of the most common car accident injuries people sustain is whiplash. This type of neck injury involves a strain or sprain to the neck muscles, often due to the neck being quickly moved forward and backward in a motor vehicle collision.

Each year, more than a million people suffer from whiplash. Rear-end accidents in particular often cause whiplash injuries due to a person’s neck being rapidly thrown forward and backward, especially for people in the vehicle that's hit from behind. Scientific studies have found that people can sustain whiplash in a crash even at speeds as slow as 5 mph.

Even so, whiplash remains one of the most misunderstood injuries. That’s why it’s important to understand what to do if you suspect you have a whiplash injury. Otherwise, you might not get the financial compensation you rightfully deserve.

How do I know if I have whiplash?

The best way to know if you have whiplash is to have a doctor examine you as soon as possible. What might seem like whiplash could be a much more serious, potentially life-threatening neck injury or spinal cord injury.

It’s also important to understand that many whiplash injuries take several days to develop. So even if you feel fine immediately after an accident, that doesn’t mean you didn’t sustain a serious neck injury.

There are many warning signs and symptoms which may indicate that you have whiplash, such as:

  • Neck pain
  • Difficulty moving your neck
  • Frequent headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Don’t try to diagnose yourself. If something doesn’t feel right, seek immediate medical attention, along with taking the following steps suggested below.

What should I do if I sustained whiplash in an accident?

If you believe you have whiplash due to an accident caused by another driver, take the following steps to protect your rights and your health.

If you are still at the scene of your accident:

  • Call 911 or ask someone to call for you to request an ambulance.
  • If possible, stay still and do not move until the ambulance arrives.
  • Other than the police, do not discuss your accident with other people at the scene of the accident. Anything you say could be used to dispute or deny your injury claim.

If your accident happened several hours or days ago:

  • Call a lawyer right away. This should be your first step. The sooner you talk to an attorney, the sooner you can learn more about your legal rights and options.
  • Schedule an appointment (or follow-up appointment) with your doctor, especially if you’re experiencing neck pain after your accident.
  • Write down or keep a record of when and where your neck hurts. The more information you have in support of your injury, the stronger your claim.
  • Take your doctor’s advice. Whatever the doctor tells you do, follow their instructions. Failure to do so could result in your injury claim being denied.
  • Save all written documentation of your accident. This includes your official accident report. If you don’t have that report yet, your lawyer can help you obtain a copy.
  • Save all written documentation of your injury from your doctor or doctors. If possible, make copies of these documents in case you need to provide them to your lawyer or insurance company.
  • If someone from the insurance company contacts you, don’t talk to them. Anything you say could be used as evidence to dispute or deny your claim.
  • Don’t post anything on social media about your accident. Again, insurance companies often read these social posts, searching for anything they can use against you.

How can a lawyer help?

Having an attorney on your side if you sustained a whiplash injury can make a dramatic difference in the outcome of your case. Your lawyer can gather evidence in support of your claim and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf for the compensation you're entitled to.

At the Law Office of Edward C. Gill, P.A. in Delaware, our car accident attorneys have years of experience negotiating with insurance companies and fighting for every dollar our clients deserve. Discover what we can do for you. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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