Does Whiplash Cause Permanent Damage? | O'Connor and Partners

Whiplash is among the most common injuries that drivers and passengers sustain in vehicle collisions. When a car, truck, or SUV stops abruptly or gets hit from behind, the forces involved can cause drivers’ and passengers’ heads to move forward and then snap back suddenly. This can cause damage to the nerves and tissue in the neck: the effects associated with whiplash. 

Although many people think of whiplash as a short-term injury, it can have permanent effects. While the nerves and tissue in the neck will typically heal with appropriate rest and recovery, healing does not necessarily mean going back to the way things were. The forceful trauma that causes whiplash injuries can overstretch neck muscles and damage ligaments. After an injury, the damaged tissue begins a healing process. This healing process can form a significant amount of scar tissue, preventing whiplash victims from ever fully returning to their initial healthy state.

The experienced car accident attorneys at O’Connor & Partners, PLLC have extensive experience in a wide range of personal injury matters, including whiplash. We know the hardships you may be facing and are we are committed to helping you seek the justice and compensation you need to move forward.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Whiplash? 

Given the permanent damage that whiplash can cause, drivers and passengers who suffer whiplash during a car accident can potentially experience a number of long-term effects. The nature and severity of these issues will depend on the severity of the original injury as well as each individual’s genetics, medical history, and overall health condition. With this in mind, potential long-term effects of whiplash can include: 

  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic headaches 
  • Chronic fatigue 
  • Permanent stiffness
  • Permanent mobility limitations 
  • Permanent weakness 
  • Cognitive difficulties (i.e. difficulty remembering or focusing) 
  • Bouts of dizziness 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Anxiety and depression 

If you are experiencing symptoms of whiplash following a car accident in New York, you should see a doctor promptly. In addition to discussing your short-term medical needs, you will want to talk to your doctor about any potential long-term medical needs as well.  

What Are the Costs of Living With Whiplash?

Fortunately, all of these effects can be managed with quality medical care. However, the costs of long-term care can be substantial—and can far exceed many people’s health insurance coverage as well as their ability to pay out-of-pocket. In many cases, the permanent effects of whiplash will cause accident victims to miss time from work as well, and some accident victims may not be able to return to their previous job duties ever. 

When talking about the costs of living with whiplash, it is important to consider the non-financial costs as well. Chronic pain, headaches, and fatigue can be debilitating, and they can have drastic impacts on accident victims’ quality of life. The same is true of all of the other long-term effects listed above. Over a person’s lifetime, the aggregate effects of whiplash can cause a variety of difficulties; and, while these difficulties might not necessarily lead to direct out-of-pocket costs, they are nonetheless losses for which financial compensation is available under New York law.

How Do You Recover Compensation for Permanent Damage from Whiplash?

For individuals who are diagnosed with whiplash following a car accident and whose doctors expect them to experience permanent effects, recovering financial compensation involves filing a personal injury claim with the help of an experienced attorney. This requires two key things: (i) determining who was at fault in the accident, and (ii) determining if it is possible to seek compensation outside of personal injury protection (PIP).

Under New York’s “no-fault” insurance law, car accident victims are limited to filing for PIP unless they can prove that they have suffered a “serious injury.” When a car accident victim suffers a serious injury, he or she can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company—if the other driver was at fault in the accident. Since PIP will not cover all of the financial and non-financial costs of permanent damage from whiplash, it is important to file a claim under the other driver’s policy if at all possible.

In some cases, car accident victims can file liability claims against other parties as well. For example, if your accident resulted from a vehicle defect, then the vehicle’s manufacturer may be responsible. Or, if your accident resulted from an issue with the road, then a government agency or contractor could be liable for your injuries. There are various other possibilities, and you will need to work with an experienced attorney to make sure you receive the maximum compensation available.

Injured in a Car Accident in New York? Get a Free Consultation Today

Are you suffering from whiplash sustained in a car accident? If so, you should speak with an attorney about your legal rights promptly. To schedule a free consultation with one of our New York car accident attorneys as soon as possible, call us at 845-303-8777 or contact us online now. O’Connor & Partners, PLLC proudly serves clients in Kingston, Newburgh,  and Poughkeepsie.

by O'Connor & Partners, PLLC
Published on

Posted in: Car Accidents