In New York, when there is an auto accident, people who are not obviously injured with broken bones, cuts, clear back and neck injuries and other problems might move forward thinking they were lucky and they should simply appreciate their good fortune. In some instances, that is the case. In others, however, they were injured and it will take time for the aftereffects to show themselves. These people may refuse medical attention or visit an emergency room and leave without considering the possibility that there were injuries that were not immediately noticeable. As time passes, it becomes increasingly difficult to craft a viable claim for compensation. One type of injury that is common in this regard is whiplash.
Understanding whiplash and the importance of immediate medical care
Whiplash is the sudden jerking of the neck. When a vehicle is hit – often from behind – a person in the vehicle might experience whiplash. Any injury to the neck or back can cause issues throughout the body. This is true even if the person feels relatively well and does not have the common symptoms of a neck or back injury such as numbness, tingling, headaches and pain in the extremities. Because they may think they escaped unscathed, they will not get the medical treatment and diagnosis. This can not only hinder the recovery, but it can negatively impact a case for compensation.
After days or even weeks, the person could start feeling the aftereffects of the collision. That could include pain or other symptoms like insomnia or sleeping too much; problems concentrating; memory loss; vision problems; and depression. Untreated, whiplash can result in neck pain, motion limitations and pain in the extremities. This can harm people of all ages, but older people, those who have had whiplash in the past or had previous back or neck problems have a greater propensity for long-term problems.
It is imperative that any injury suffered in an auto accident receive proactive treatment, but that is frequently relegated to injuries that are easily diagnosed. To diagnose whiplash, people might need a CT scan, MRIs, X-rays and other diagnostic procedures. Simply going to the emergency room is unlikely to provide this type of comprehensive assessment. The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim in New York is three years from its occurrence. Those who have experienced dramatic physical, emotional, personal and financial challenges after whiplash or other soft tissue injury that was not diagnosed could be left paying for what happened long after with few alternatives.
Avoid common mistakes after an auto accident
Regardless of the types of injuries a person might have suffered in an auto accident, there are certain fundamentals to think about. With the prevalence of reckless driving, distracted driving, speeding, drowsy driving and drivers who are under the influence, collisions are happening at a troubling rate. Those who have been hurt could have a justification to file a claim for compensation, but that also requires professional guidance.
For example, accepting a settlement from an insurance company may be a bad idea because these companies simply want to clear the case and do so at a rate they deem acceptable – that rate might not cover all the victim lost in medical expenses, lost income and long-term damage. A full and comprehensive investigation is needed and that includes a proper and timely diagnosis along with treatment. When thinking about the options after auto accidents, having assistance may be vital to a successful outcome.