It’s a hypothetical situation that no one wants to be in: you’re driving down the road, having a completely normal day, when you’re hit by another vehicle. Now, this isn’t a “worst case scenario” accident. Your vehicle and the vehicle that strikes you are merely involved in a fender bender — though the collision was a bit jarring. These accidents happen all the time and most people discuss the wreck with their accident counterparts and go on their way.
But then later that day; or 24 hours later; or maybe even a week later, your neck starts to hurt. As the days pass, other parts of your body start to hurt, and your neck gets worse. The pain soon becomes debilitating, and you go to get it checked out.
Sadly, this happens far too often — and few people seek compensation in civil court for it.
“Whiplash,” as it’s called, is very hard to prove, and given its mysterious onset symptoms, most accident victims don’t try to earn compensation for it in civil court even though this neck pain really can change their lives. It can make their jobs difficult; it can change their mood; and it can make them unable to perform activities they love.
According to a study, roughly 4 million Americans get medically evaluated after a car accident, and about 90 percent are discharged immediately after the evaluation. Six weeks after the accident, more than 70 percent of people described persistent musculoskeletal pain. Maybe most importantly, only 17 percent of nearly 1,000 people in a survey said they contacted a lawyer six weeks after their accident.
In other words, many accident victims just assume that debilitating pain after an accident is “part of the deal.” However, that isn’t the way it has to be. After an accident, you want to accept any medical care that is offered by emergency responders. This will leave a record of your injuries, which can be referenced later.
Furthermore, you will want to contact an attorney immediately — not just for any possible lawsuit, but also to uphold your rights if your insurer tries to deny you coverage or pull a nefarious insurance tactic.
Consumer Affairs, “Study: post-accident neck pain is common,” Mark Huffman, Jan. 21, 2014