It’s a common scenario. There is an accident; perhaps one car rear-ends another during rush hour on Georgia 400. The driver goes to the emergency room where he is evaluated and sent home. After a few days, the driver who was rear-ended begins to notice a nagging neck pain. Six weeks later, the driver’s neck still hurts—but the driver has not yet talked to a car accident attorney.
A recent University of North Carolina study found that chronic and persistent neck pain is very common in car accident victims. According to the authors of the study, nearly four million people a year are seen in U.S. hospital emergency departments for evaluation after a car accident. More than 90 percent of these accident victims are given a quick evaluation and discharged. Six weeks later, more than 70 percent were still experiencing neck pain yet few had considered talking to an attorney.
The study included 948 car accident victims who sought treatment at eight emergency departments in four states. Six weeks later, only 161 (17 percent) of the participants had talked to an attorney. But, this didn’t mean the remaining participants didn’t have a car accident injury case.
Seven hundred and eighty-seven of the car accident victims had not talked to a lawyer, but most were still experiencing pain:
- 70 percent had persistent pain in one or more areas of the body
- 33 percent had pain in four or more areas of the body
- 28 percent had chronic neck pain that was moderate or severe
- 13 percent suffered widespread musculoskeletal pain in seven or more body regions
- 4 percent experienced fibromyalgia-like symptoms
The study was published on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, in the online journal, Pain.
Many people believe that an unseen injury is not a serious injury. But, chronic pain can affect your quality of life. It’s hard to enjoy your family and friends when simply sitting is uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, the burden of proof is on the accident victim. The accident victim must be able to show that there is an injury in order to receive insurance compensation. This can be hard to do when there are no outward signs of injury.
If you are involved in an auto accident, make sure that you see a doctor even if you aren’t experiencing immediate pain. Follow-up with your personal physician if any pain develops in the week after the crash and don’t discuss your injuries or lack of injuries with the insurance adjuster.
If you continue to suffer pain, contact an Atlanta car accident attorney. You may be eligible for more compensation than the insurance company is offering. To learn more, request your free copy of attorney Jeffrey Kaufman’s book, Hurt in Georgia: An Injury Attorney's Thoughts on Car Wrecks.