Whiplash is a type of neck injury commonly incurred in a car accident. A whiplash injury arises from a rapid back-and-forth motion of the head and neck during a rear-end collision. This motion can tear and injure the ligaments in the neck and back, causing pain and other symptoms.
If a rear-end collision or other auto accident caused your whiplash injury, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in West Virginia. Speak with an experienced West Virginia car accident attorney to learn about your legal options
Whiplash is one of the most common car accident injuries. Like the cracking of a whip, this injury occurs when the neck rapidly jerks back and forth, usually in a rear-end accident. The neck often cannot withstand the stress of the gravitational pull, and may suffer long-lasting damage. Whiplash can cause a variety of symptoms.
- Neck pain, especially during movement
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Muscle stiffness and tenderness
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
- Headaches from the base of the skull
- Dizziness or blurred vision
- Fatigue and sleep disturbances
Signs of whiplash may occur immediately after the collision, or not until hours or days after the accident. It is important not to tell police officers and insurance companies you do not have any injuries until a doctor performs an exam. You could have neck damage, but your adrenaline may be masking the pain. Instead, say you do not know and you wish to see a doctor. This will protect your rights during an injury claim later.
West Virginia Fault Laws
Like most states, West Virginia is a fault-based car insurance state. This means the person who is at fault for causing the accident will be financially responsible for damages. Victims must identify the at-fault party before reporting the collision to that person’s insurance company. In a rear-end collision, the rear vehicle driver is almost always at fault. However, exceptions do exist. If you have a whiplash injury, call 911 and report the wreck from the scene.
When police arrive, they will investigate the crash and help you determine fault. If the driver behind you is at fault for following too closely, tailgating, speeding, distracted driving, or another act of negligence, get his or her insurance information and make the phone call as soon as you can. Once you have received medical care for your whiplash injury, call the other driver’s insurance company to report what happened. Stick to the facts and do not say yes to either a recorded statement or a settlement agreement.
West Virginia’s fault laws give every car accident victim the opportunity to seek damages through personal injury lawsuits. You do not need to prove that your whiplash injury is serious or disabling; however, more serious injuries will typically result in greater compensation awards. You have the right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for your whiplash injury. Hiring an experienced West Virginia personal injury attorney to lead your claim can maximize your odds of obtaining compensation.
Damages Recoverable in a Whiplash Lawsuit
Although whiplash injuries are treatable, they can cause chronic pain and long-term stiffness. An insurance claim alone could result in payment for your past and future medical bills and property damage repairs. A personal injury lawsuit on the basis of negligence, could potentially yield damages such as pain and suffering, lost quality of life, and loss of future earnings because of a temporary disability.
A lawsuit could also result in punitive damages. A judge may award punitive damages in addition to compensatory ones if the at-fault driver was grossly negligent, reckless, or intentional. Rear-ending your vehicle due to drunk driving or road rage, for example, could warrant punitive damages to punish the defendant for his or her actions. Discuss your whiplash injury claim with an attorney today to see what type of compensation you may be eligible to receive.