Antitort proponents often trot out stories of fraudulent whiplash claimants in their defense of the insurance industry. A recent study overturns this stereotype and reveals a serious gap in how compensation is being awarded in certain personal injury cases.
Researchers from the North Carolina School of Medicine followed nearly 1,000 people who were treated in an emergency room after an auto accident. Six weeks after their release, participants reported the following:
- 70 percent experienced some kind of chronic pain
- 28 percent experienced chronic moderate to severe neck pain
- 13 percent experienced chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain
- 4 percent experienced fibromyalgia syndrome (chronic musculoskeletal pain, tenderness and fatigue)
Even though the majority of these auto accident victims had some kind of chronic, persistent pain, only 17 percent had contacted a personal injury lawyer. It was not clear from the study how many of the accidents resulted from the negligent actions of the at-fault driver.
Accident victims with chronic neck pain may be reluctant to proceed with a legitimate personal injury suit because no one takes their claims seriously. Soft-tissue injuries are more difficult to see compared to bruises or a broken bone and pain reports are subjective. Many people think that their only option is to swallow a pain reliever, grit their teeth and wait it out. However, if untreated, a neck injury can lead to depression, sleep problems, memory loss and fatigue — in addition to the disruption caused by living with persistent pain. For some people, the symptoms are long-term or permanent.
Insurance companies often attempt to deny neck injury claims or to minimize the seriousness of the injury. Knowledgeable car accident lawyers understand how devastating chronic neck pain can be and they know how to present the facts of your case so you get fair compensation for your medical expenses and other losses.