Whiplash injuries often occur in car accidents in Toledo, Ohio in rear-end collisions. According to a report from the Ohio Department of Public Safety, there were nearly 306,000 motor vehicle crashes in Ohio in 2016, and those accidents led to more than 112,000 injuries and 1,133 fatalities. As the report emphasizes, injuries sustained in traffic collisions are preventable, especially when it comes to rear-end crashes. How does whiplash result from a car crash? As a fact sheet from the Mayo Clinic clarifies, “whiplash is a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip,” and that it “most often occurs during a rear-end auto accident.”
Whiplash injury in a Toledo car accident can result in the inability to work, and a prolonged recovery time. If you sustained a whiplash injury because of another party’s negligence, you should learn more about filing a claim for compensation by discussing your case with a Toledo whiplash injury lawyer.
Signs and Symptoms of Whiplash Injuries
The Mayo Clinic fact sheet explains that whiplash injuries typically will develop within 24 hours after an injury, yet in some cases it does take a longer period before signs of this serious injury appear. As such, it is extremely important to seek medical attention when you are in a car accident, even if it appears to be a minor collision. This is especially true if you are involved in a rear-end crash in which there is a greater likelihood of a whiplash injury. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the most common signs and symptoms of whiplash include:
- Stiffness in the neck;
- Neck pain;
- Neck pain that worsens with movement;
- Loss of a range of motion in the neck;
- Headaches that usually start at the base of the skull;
- Tenderness or pain in the shoulder;
- Tenderness of pain in the upper back;
- Tenderness or pain in the arm(s);
- Feeling of tingling or numbness in the arm(s);
- Fatigue; and
In some cases, the Mayo Clinic reports that people who sustain whiplash injuries will also experience the following symptoms:
- Blurry vision;
- Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears;
- Sleep disturbances;
- General irritability;
- Difficulties with concentration;
- Memory problems; and
For a free legal consultation with a whiplash lawyer serving Toledo, call (419) 930-3030
How is Whiplash Diagnosed and Treated?
If you are in a traffic collision and suspect that you have sustained a whiplash injury, how will the doctor diagnose it? According to a fact sheet from WebMD, whiplash injuries typically result in trauma to the “soft tissues such as the discs, muscles, and ligaments.” As such, whiplash injuries often cannot be detected by an x-ray. However, there are specific “specialized imaging tests, such as CT scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), that can identify damage to the body’s soft tissues.
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Complications from Whiplash
What happens if you do not seek immediate medical attention for a whiplash injury following a car crash? The Mayo Clinic says that most people who sustain whiplash injuries will recover as long as they take steps to treat the injury, yet “some people continue to have pain for several months or years after the injury occurred.”
Since it is very difficult to predict whether a person will experience chronic pain as a result of whiplash, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible following a motor vehicle collision.
Understanding How Contributory Fault Can Impact Your Case
In addition to dealing with the potential long-term effects of a whiplash injury, it is also important to seek medical attention as soon as possible for the purposes of avoiding a defense allegation of contributory fault, which can in some cases prevent a plaintiff from recovering damages in a car accident claim. What is contributory fault?
Under Ohio law (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. Section 2315.33), if a plaintiff bears more than 50 percent liability for an accident or for the severity of her injuries, then she cannot recover anything in a personal injury lawsuit. As long as a plaintiff is 50 percent liable or less, however, she can recover, but her damages award will be reduced by the percentage of her liability. To make that a bit clearer, imagine that a plaintiff is awarded $100,000 in an auto accident in which she suffered whiplash injuries. If the jury determines that she is 20 percent liable for the severity of the injuries, then her award of $100,000 will be reduced by 20 percent, or $20,000. As such, she will recover $80,000.
Why would a plaintiff be liable for the severity of her injuries? There are many ways in which a plaintiff might contribute to a crash or to the severity of her injuries, such as distracted driving or failing to wear a seatbelt. Keep in mind that failing to seek medical attention immediately may also suggest that the plaintiff contributed to the severity of her injury. For instance, if a whiplash injury and other bodily harm could have been contained by visiting a hospital immediately, and the injuries grew worse as a result of the plaintiff’s decision to delay seeking treatment, then a jury may determine that she bears some responsibility.
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What Types of Damages Can I Receive in a Whiplash Injury Lawsuit in Toledo?
Generally speaking, car accident injury victims who sustain whiplash injuries, as well as other personal injuries, in a motor vehicle collision may be eligible to receive compensatory damages (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. Section 2315.18). There are two different types of compensatory damages:
- Economic damages, or those for objective financial losses such as medical bills or lost wages; and
- Noneconomic damages, or those for subjective nonfinancial losses such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, or mental anguish.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit for an Ohio Personal Injury?
If you suffer a whiplash injury in a car crash or in another type of accident in Toledo, under Ohio law (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. Section 2305.10) you have two years from the date of your injury to file a lawsuit.
This is known as the statute of limitations. If you do not file your claim within this window, then you can lose your right to seek financial compensation by filing a lawsuit.
Contact a Toledo Whiplash Injury Attorney
If you recently sustained injuries to the neck or pain in a car accident, an experienced Toledo whiplash injury attorney can assist with your claim. Contact Groth & Associates today to learn more about how we can help with your case.