The car industry is understandably proud of the advances that have been made in the design of vehicles and the increased safety features that protect drivers and passengers from accidents. However, regardless of the improvements, that moment when you are stopped at a stoplight or at a standstill on the Palmetto Expressway and suddenly your entire body feels the impact, with your neck snapping forward and then slamming back into the headrest, you know you are in trouble. If you have suffered serious harm in a rear end collision, the experienced Miami car accident attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano can assist you in getting the damages recovery to help you heal.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not conducted a comprehensive study on head restraints and whiplash pathology since 1996, but the occurrence of whiplash and whiplash-associated disorders (WADs) remain serious consequences of many rear end accidents, with up to forty percent (40%) of whiplash sufferers experiencing long-term pain.
Whiplash can occur as the result of a rear end collision when the impacting vehicle is moving at a very low rate of speed, even if the driver or passenger in the vehicle being impacted did not experience significant forward extension of the neck. However, an accident victim often will experience the violent acceleration of the head and neck towards the windshield with an equally dramatic snap back against the headrest when the seatbelt stops the forward momentum.
This extreme action leads to an extension of muscles and ligaments beyond what they can endure without severe harm. Usually, this type of injury results from a rear end collision, wherein the impact force of the vehicle slamming into the back of the car is transferred to the impacted vehicle, and especially the driver and any passengers, but other activities can lead to this type of injury. Riding the roller coaster at an amusement park, taking a bad fall, getting hit the wrong way in sports, and even getting into a physical fight can lead to whiplash.
The most common symptoms of whiplash include extreme pain in the neck and upper back, muscle spasms, jaw pain, headaches, and nausea. These symptoms can go away on their own, but a victim of a rear end collision also can suffer through the pain for months, and longer. Some sufferers experience additional, neurological consequences of a rear end accident. WAD may include the following:
• Increased stress and anxiety;
• New or deepening depression;
• Abuse of drugs or pain medications; and
• Post-traumatic stress disorder.
In order to get a better understanding of WADs, a special commission was created in Quebec, Canada to create a classification system to rate the severity of the WAD. This Quebec Task Force set forth the following rankings that have been adopted by medical professionals:
• Grade 0 -A person experienced an event that could have led to whiplash or WAD, but experiences no nock pain, or too negligible to seek medical treatment;
• Grade 1 – A person has pain or tenderness in the neck and/or upper back, but a medical provider is unable to find evidence of the injury;
• Grade 2 – A person who has pain or soreness in the neck and/or upper back shows signs of a decreased range of motion, along with muscle spasms and point tenderness, when examined by a doctor;
• Grade 3 – A person has a significant decrease in his or her range of motion, has diminished deep tendon reflexes, and exhibits on or more of the neurological symptoms of WAD; and
• Grade 4 – A person has severe neck and upper back pain and an examining physician observes evidence of an injury to the spinal cord, which could include dislocation or fracture.
If you have been the victim of a rear-end collision and suffered serious harm, the skilled and knowledgeable Miami personal injury attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano can help you get the medical treatment that you need, as well as compensation for pain and suffering, to reclaim your life.
Rear end collisions often result in soft tissue injury and there may not be the type of medical proof of the harm that you suffered that exists in other car accident cases, but we are experienced enough in these cases to know that the debilitating pain you feel is very real. Our personal injury attorneys have been successfully litigating car accident cases in Miami and the greater area of South Florida for decades. Please call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or contact us through our website to schedule a free consultation where we can discuss your case and the legal options available to you.