Charleston Attorneys for Whiplash from Car Accidents
Whiplash commonly results from the force of car accidents. The pain, stiffness, and neurological complications of a neck sprain or strain can harm your quality of life and ability to work. If another negligent party caused your whiplash, you might be entitled to compensation for your medical care, lost wages, and other accident-related losses. Trust the Charleston car accident lawyers at Crantford Meehan to help you pursue it while you focus on healing.
We advocate for clients during negotiations, in the course of alternative dispute resolution, and at trial. Not only are our partners successful attorneys, but successful businessmen passionate about protecting the rights of Charleston-area residents. Our consultations are free, and you will never pay us anything unless we win your case. Call (843) 376-4030 to speak with one of our attorneys.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is an injury to the neck muscles resulting from sudden backward or forward force. It earns its name from the forceful back-and-forth motion someone makes when cracking a whip.
More specifically, whiplash results from a sprain or strain to the neck. Sprains result from torn ligaments securing the neck joints, while strains result from pulled or torn neck muscles and tendons.
The symptoms of whiplash may include:
- Tenderness, which worsens upon moving the neck
- Limited range of motion, whether from forward to back or from side to side
- Swollen or bruised neck
- Headaches, which can spread
- Memory and concentration problems
- Sleeping difficulties
- “Referred” tenderness in the back, shoulders, or arms
Some people are at higher risk for whiplash than others, such as:
- The elderly – The weakening of bone and muscle structure as we age makes us more prone to whiplash.
- Women at any age – Women are at higher risk for whiplash due to differences in their muscular and spinal structure.
- Drivers with improperly-adjusted seats – Ensure your car’s seats and headrests are at the proper height and position for your head and neck.
Someone with whiplash may not notice symptoms until hours or days have passed.
Levels of Whiplash Severity
Doctors categorize whiplash into five degrees of severity, called “grades.” The grade a whiplash injury receives will depend on the symptoms the person experiences.
- Grade 0 – Grade 0 is “normal.” If someone had a whiplash injury, they are considered recovered once they reach Grade 0.
- Grade 1 – This grade involves neck pain and tenderness, but there are no visible or physical signs of a neck injury.
- Grade 2 – This grade involves both pain and physical signs of injury. A case of whiplash also falls into Grade 2 if the patient feels pain spreading to areas other than their neck.
- Grade 3 – This grade involves pain, physical signs of injury, and neurological symptoms. A patient may experience numbness, tingling, or “pins and needles” in the neck or nearby areas. They may also have problems seeing, sleeping, concentrating, or keeping their balance.
- Grade 4 – This grade is the most severe, and an injury is classified here if it affects the cervical (upper) spine or spinal cord.
How Is Whiplash Diagnosed?
Your general doctor or orthopedic specialist can diagnose a whiplash injury using the following tests and procedures:
- Orthopedic exams – In this exam, a provider will evaluate the range of motion in your neck and shoulders. They’ll test your reflexes and pinpoint the specific places where you feel pain or tenderness.
- Ultrasound exams – This imaging procedure uses sound waves to visualize tears in muscles and ligaments.
- X-rays and CAT scans – Both X-rays and CAT scans can rule out fractures to the bones in the neck area.
- MRIs – An MRI scan can reveal muscle, ligament, nerve, and neck tissue injuries.
Once your care team knows your symptoms and determines the extent of your injury, they can assign it to a grade and prescribe the proper treatment.
How Is Whiplash Treated?
The treatment necessary for a whiplash injury will depend on its severity. For milder injuries, your doctor may recommend the “RICE” protocol. You’ll rest and stabilize your neck, using ice or hot packs to reduce inflammation, ease stiffness, and control pain.
Your doctor may recommend specific exercises to restore healthy neck motion, though they may also recommend physical therapy. If you see a chiropractor, they may be able to help through regular adjustments, so long as the injury does not affect the spine.
More severe injuries may warrant pain medications or prescription muscle relaxants. A physical therapist can also administer light electrical stimulation to soothe the nerves.
How Can an Attorney Help?
The Crantford Meehan team can help you pursue compensation by:
- Investigating the accident – We can help gather information about your accident and determine who might be responsible. Our investigation will begin with the involved drivers. However, a vehicle manufacturer, parts manufacturer, mechanic, or retailer may also be liable to compensate you if their negligent behavior contributed to the crash.
- Working with insurance companies – If your insurance plan has personal injury protection (PIP), it might cover a portion of your medical costs. We can help you file a PIP claim and pursue some immediate relief for you while your case resolves.
- Negotiating with the liable party’s insurer – We will represent you in independent settlement negotiations or mediation before filing a lawsuit. You will not have to go to court if we obtain compensation through a settlement.
- Representing you at trial – While many personal injury cases in Charleston do not go to court, we have the skills and experience to represent you skillfully at trial if necessary.
Time Limit to File a Whiplash Lawsuit in South Carolina
According to South Carolina’s statute of limitations, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury suit. If you miss this deadline, you will lose your right to demand compensation from the negligent parties through the court system. The earlier you secure a lawyer’s services, the better your chances of obtaining compensation or winning damages.
Consult with a Whiplash Accident Attorney Today
If a negligent driver caused your whiplash injury, the Charleston personal injury attorneys of Crantford Meehan could defend your rights. Contact our Charleston, SC, office today at (843) 376-4030 for a free initial case review.
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