Personal injury law has numerous disciplines, and one of the broadest is motor vehicle accident injuries. An exceptionally experienced Phoenix motor vehicle injury attorney has the expertise to pursue cases involving various physical and emotional impacts of an accident. The most common injuries require every bit as much attention by legal counsel as particularly severe or obscure injuries to ensure the impacted client’s needs are protected.
If you’ve been in a car accident, your personal safety and the safety of anyone else involved in the accident are the first priority. Your next immediate consideration needs to be making sure you protect your legal interests. Even if the accident was just a minor fender bender, you may have experienced injuries that aren’t immediately apparent. Secure legal counsel and a medical evaluation as soon as possible after the accident.
What Is the Most Common Injury From a Motor Vehicle Accident?
Motor vehicle accidents are caused by a variety of factors. And no matter the cause, the result can be a number of different injuries, varying in severity. The most common injuries caused by car accidents are soft tissue injuries, in particular whiplash.
Soft tissue injuries are damages inflicted on the connective tissues between muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These injuries can occur at the time of the accident without immediately being felt. The adrenaline and anxiety of an accident can make it difficult sometimes to notice injuries that don’t manifest outwardly and immediately.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is the common term for an injury involving stressful extension of the muscles and ligaments of the head and neck. It can occur even in low-speed collisions and fits the bill of an injury that is not always immediately apparent. The name whiplash comes from the forceful movement in a back-and-forth direction of the neck and head.
Whiplash is most common when you are the victim of a rear-end accident, which also means as the victim of whiplash, you could be legally entitled to compensation for the damages to both your vehicle and health.
For most people, whiplash is relatively minor and can pass in a matter of days or weeks with a regimen of pain medication, rest, and exercises for rehabilitation. In more extreme cases, pain can pop up later or reoccur over long periods, drastically lowering the quality of life of the patient. In both minor and serious cases, victims of an accident they did not cause deserve to have the law look out for their medical interests.
Symptoms of Whiplash
In addition to making sure to receive proper medical attention after a car accident, being on the lookout for the development of your own symptoms is critical for your safety and a potential legal case. Even after a proper same-day medical evaluation, it is possible for symptoms of whiplash to develop in the days and weeks after the accident.
Symptoms to be on the lookout for include:
- Pain and stiffness in the neck and back
- Pain that worsens when moving the neck
- Decreased range of motion for head turns
- Headaches, especially ones that originate at the base of the skull
- Pain or tenderness that extends to the shoulders and arms
- Numbness or tingling sensation in the arms
The physical symptoms can also compound and lead to poor sleep, an inability to concentrate, depression, and memory loss. Vulnerability factors increase for older individuals or those with a history of neck or back issues, especially previous incidents of whiplash.
As soon as symptoms develop, it’s important to seek medical attention and to make your attorney aware of the injury. Documenting when symptoms begin and their severity matters for your legal case, but also is necessary for your health. Ignoring symptoms increases the risk of what may seem like benign injuries becoming long-term or even permanent maladies.
The Steps to Take After Being Rear-Ended
If you’ve been in a car accident, especially if you’ve been in a collision from behind in which you believe whiplash may have occurred, there are steps you need to take right away. Effective legal action often involves getting your legal response in motion as soon as possible. Having a plan for contacting a Phoenix motor vehicle accident attorney in case of an accident can remove some of the pressure.
In addition to knowing what attorney you should contact if you’ve been in an accident in Arizona, it’s important to mentally prepare yourself for each step you should take after being in a collision. Follow these steps:
- Confirm that you, and anyone else involved in the accident, are safe. Concerns for health and well-being should always be treated as paramount.
- Call 911. Even if there aren’t emergency injuries, a police report is important to procure. Having a full legal accounting from the accident scene could matter significantly in future proceedings and it’s even more important to have any symptoms emerging at the scene officially documented.
- Document evidence to the best of your ability. If your phone is in working condition, take advantage of the camera to document the scene. If there are neutral witnesses at the scene prior to the police arriving, encourage them to stay and make a statement.
- Produce proper license and registration documents for the police. Don’t share more than you need to, but do not lie about the incident.
- Do not leave the accident scene for any reason other than a medical removal from the scene. Vacating the scene opens the door to being criminally prosecuted and is damaging to your civil case for damages.
- Pursue medical attention. Waiting until whiplash presents itself is dangerous for a variety of reasons. There could be even more serious conditions lingering out of sight. Even if whiplash is the most serious injury that occurred, there is no benefit to stalling and waiting for it to become an impediment to your quality of life.
- Involve your insurance company in an honest and forthright manner as soon as you’ve safely covered all health and law enforcement-related matters.
Plan Who to Contact After an Accident Now
If you have been in a car accident and haven’t contacted an attorney, know that time is crucial. It’s also a good idea to have a plan for who to contact in advance, should a car accident happen to you. To retain an experienced Phoenix motor vehicle accident attorney, contact Luis P. Guerra, L.L.C. today for a consultation.