Car crash victims have a lot on their plates. The physical pain is often very intense, and the only way to alleviate it, at least in the short term, is with powerful and mind-numbing painkillers that are probably addictive. Since many victims are off work as they recuperate, they have little to do all day and nothing to look forward to except perhaps a painful, and probably frustrating, physical therapy appointment. While all this is going on, there is the uncertainty about how the case will turn out and whether or not there truly is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Fortunately, an experienced, compassionate, and aggressive personal injury lawyer can help you and your family through this time.
Trauma victims suffer from either visible or invisible wounds. As might be expected, the invisible ones are much harder for both victims and doctors to deal with. Unfortunately, many car crash victims suffer from these invisible injuries.
Many conditions, like whiplash, are largely specific to vehicle collision cases, so they are difficult or impossible for doctors to diagnose using standard diagnostic equipment. In fact, whiplash usually does not appear on X-rays, ct scans, and other gadgets. Up until a few years ago, this serious condition had a bad reputation as a made-up illness that conniving personal injury attorneys used to extort money from insurance companies, but recent research has revealed the truth.
Whiplash has two primary side-effects:
- Joint Dysfunction: The excessive forces in a vehicle crash basically overload the shock absorption and resiliency of the neck and spine, resulting in a painfully stiff neck that makes it almost impossible to function.
- Cervical Herniated Disc: Those same forces tear the discs between the vertebrae, often causing the inner core to push through the outer core and against a nerve. In addition to excruciating pain, the victims often feel numbness and other more serious neurological symptoms.
People in rear-end crashes are most susceptible to whiplash, but it can happen in almost any serious wreck.
Because the symptoms may not appear for at least 24 hours and many doctors do not consider whiplash to be a legitimate diagnosis, many whiplash victims are sent home from the emergency room. Only medical professionals who routinely work with car crash victims can properly identify and treat whiplash, and as outlined below, an attorney can connect victims with the help they need.
Brain injuries are in a similar category. Many brain injury victims “feel fine” because their brains are concealing their injuries. That’s usually the reason concussed football players often want their coaches to put them back on the field. Second, many people, including some doctors, believe that if the victim has no physical injury then the brain is okay. But that is not true, because the sudden, violent motion alone is often enough to cause serious injury.
Over 285,000 people a year sustain serious brain injuries in car crashes.One day soon, doctors may be able to cure these injuries through stem cells or some other advanced technique. But for now, these injuries are always permanent, because dead brain cells, unlike dead skin or bone cells, do not regenerate. However, aggressive physical therapy can usually address the symptoms, as uninjured parts of the brain will usually learn how to assume the lost functions.
After a car crash, the average head and neck-injury related hospital bill alone usually exceeds $75,000, and amounts much, much higher than that (up to a half-million and more) are not uncommon. Most people do not have the resources, either from savings or medical insurance, to pay these expenses, let alone the substantial physical therapy bills that normally follow.
To eliminate this financial burden, and the accompanying stress, personal injury attorneys send letters of protection to preferred medical providers. Most lawyers have ongoing relationships with providers who are dedicated to vehicle crash victims, so they can do more than just provide a referral.
The letter guarantees payment when the case is eventually resolved. Furthermore, the letter allows an attorney to negotiate for a lower medical fee, and that means fewer expenses to pay when the case is over.
Aggressive and experienced attorneys know how to combine the physical evidence and the medical evidence into a winning case, which gives victims more peace of mind about the outcome.
In car crash cases, negligence is basically the failure to use reasonable care when driving. If the tortfeasor (negligent driver) violated the duty of care in any way, and that violation caused the victim’s injuries, the tortfeasor is liable for damages. If the victim suffered a serious injury, which is basically anything requiring an overnight hospital stay, the tortfeasor must compensate the victim for tangible damages, like medical bills, and intangible damages, such as pain and suffering.
In many car crash cases, the negligence per se (negligence “s such”) rule makes a claim for damages even easier to establish. Basically, tortfeasors are liable for damages as a matter of law if they violated a safety statute, such as the DUI law, and that violation caused injury. In serious negligence per se cases, jurors often award punitive damages on top of compensatory damages.