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neck and back pain after accident

What is Causing my Neck & Back Pain after an Accident?

Car accidents can result in property damage and physical injuries to those involved. Some injuries are easily identifiable, such as cuts, bruises, fractures, and other injuries that cause immediate pain. There are other times, however, when auto accident injuries are not readily apparent. This is more common with motor vehicle accidents that cause minor property damage, also known as “fender benders.”

When a low-impact auto accident occurs, many people view it as an inconvenience, something that has to be dealt with, but something they do not want to waste too much time on. So, you exchange phone numbers and insurance information with the other party, head home, fix any minor damage to your vehicle, and try to forget the whole thing.

A few hours after you get home or maybe even a couple days later, you start to feel pain in your neck and lower back. You are not sure what it is and where it came from, but you believe it might be related to the accident you are just in.

Why Some Accident Injuries are Delayed

It is important to understand that some symptoms of an auto accident do not show up immediately. This is often due to the adrenaline rush people typically experience after they are involved in a collision. Colliding with another vehicle causes an immediate state change.  Suddenly, your heart beats faster, your mind starts racing, and you are solely focused on handling the situation. The adrenaline often masks the pain of certain injuries until well after the accident is over.

What is Causing my Neck and Back Pain after a Car Crash?

If back and neck pain show up soon after an auto accident, these symptoms should not be ignored. This could be a sign of whiplash, a sprain or strain in the neck that can cause moderate to severe symptoms depending on each individual case. The effects of a whiplash injury can last for just a few weeks in minor cases, but it more serious cases, the affects can last several months or even several years. 

Whiplash is fairly common even with minor vehicle accidents, especially rear-end collisions. The impact of the collision throws the body rapidly back and forth, similar to the motion of a horse whip. Occupants of the vehicle that was collided into without warning are particularly susceptible to whiplash, because they did not see the collision coming and did not have time to brace for it.

In addition to general neck and back pain, there are several other symptoms that may be associated with a whiplash injury:

  • Neck and back stiffness;
  • Severe headaches;
  • Limited range of motion in the neck;
  • An increase in pain with neck movement;
  • Tingling or numbness in the shoulders and arms;
  • Pain or tenderness in the shoulders and arms;
  • Dizziness and blurred vision;
  • Problems with memory, focus and concentration;
  • Anxiety and difficulty sleeping.

Neck and back pain may be a sign of whiplash, but it can also be a sign of a herniated disc or spinal injury, or multiple injuries. A qualified medical professional will be able to correctly diagnose your condition and ensure that it is properly treated.

It’s Just Minor and Neck and Back Pain: Do I Still need to Go to the Doctor?

The short answer is “yes” and do so as soon as possible. Back and neck pain often starts out as a minor annoyance, but it can become more serious as time goes on. And whatever the degree of severity, the injury associated with your pain is not going to go away on its own.

Another important reason to get medical treatment right away is to help ensure that you are able to recover compensation for your injuries. If you wait too long, you will have increasing difficulty getting the insurance company to pay your injury claim is they will often argue that the delayed symptoms and further delay getting them treated shows that they are not related to the accident at all. By getting medical attention immediately, it will be easier to establish a legal connection between the accident and the injury, and you will also be able to show that you did everything you could to mitigate the effects of your injury.

Injured in a Car Accident in West Virginia? Call the Experienced Attorneys at Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C.

If you or a loved one suffered neck and back pain or any other type of injury in an auto accident that was the fault of another party, you deserve to be compensated. Seek medical treatment right away for your injuries, then contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. to discuss your legal rights and options. For over 40 years, we have successfully represented clients injured in motor vehicle accidents and those who have suffered all other types of personal injuries in West Virginia. We work closely with our clients, putting our extensive experience to work to obtain full and fair compensation and to ensure that those responsible for your injuries are held fully accountable.  To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979, or send us a message through our online contact form.

Causes of Drilling Accidents

Causes of Drilling Accidents

In the past decade or so, West Virginia has experienced a boom in its oil and natural gas industry. The Marcellus Shale and other vast reserves have made the Mountain State a major player in America’s energy renaissance. This boom has prompted major investments from large energy companies, bringing thousands of new jobs to our state.

There is a major downside to this boom, however. With these new oil and gas rig drilling jobs, we have seen a significant increase in workplace injuries and fatalities. Powerful and dangerous equipment is used to drill for oil and natural gas, and when steps are not taken to secure the safety of those working on this equipment, it can result in disastrous consequences.

What Causes Gas Rig Drilling Accidents?

Gas rig drilling accidents are becoming increasingly common in the natural gas and oil fields in West Virginia. Some of the accidents that most frequently occur include:

  • Fires and Explosions (e.g., gas well explosions, pipeline explosions, etc.)
  • Electrical Injuries
  • Slips and Falls
  • Being Struck by Loose Objects or Debris
  • Being Struck Against a Hard Surface
  • Being Trapped in a Tight Space
  • Transportation Accidents
  • Rig Collapses
  • Exposure to Toxic Substances

There are many reasons gas rig drilling accidents occur, here are some of the most common:

  • Inexperienced or Poorly-Trained Workers: During boom times like what we are currently experiencing in West Virginia, energy companies need to hire far more employees. Oftentimes, those they hire lack industry experience, and companies do not take the necessary time to train their employees properly.
  • Failure to Implement/Follow Proper Workplace Safety Procedures: Employers in the energy industry are required to take reasonable steps to provide a safe and healthy work environment. In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has various safety regulations in place that companies must follow. When energy companies fail in their duty to properly protect their workers, these workers become exposed to numerous potential hazards.
  • Worker Negligence: Many drilling accidents are caused by coworkers and third-party subcontractors working alongside energy company employees who make critical mistakes on the job. This problem is made worse when workers are asked to put in long hours that make them tired and fatigued. Some workers deal with this stress by turning to alcohol and drugs, which also negatively impacts their job performance.
  • Poorly Maintained Equipment: One of the ways energy companies are supposed to keep their workers safe is by using equipment that is properly maintained. Unfortunately, much of the equipment used is old, outdated, worn out, and difficult to work with.
  • Defective Equipment: Related to the last point, some of the machinery and equipment that is used in the oil and gas industry is defective. When certain pieces of equipment have product defects, they can malfunction at the wrong time, causing workers to become injured.

What can be Done about Gas Rig Drilling Accidents?

With oil and gas worker accidents, injuries, and fatalities on the rise, energy companies must do far more (than they are currently doing) to protect their employees. Companies must help foster a culture of safety by implementing better engineering controls, worker training, and workplace practices along with the use of the most up-to-date protective equipment to provide workers with a safer environment in which to do their jobs.

Injured in a Drilling Accident in West Virginia? Speak with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or someone close to you has been injured or killed in a drilling accident, you have a right to compensation. This may be through your employer’s workers’ compensation policy, a personal injury lawsuit, a product liability claim, or another legal avenue. Recovering full and fair compensation can be difficult, however, because energy companies use various tactics to avoid paying compensation to their injured employees. For this reason, it is important to have strong legal counsel in your corner advocating forcefully for your legal rights and interests.

At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we have over four decades of experience standing up for the working people of West Virginia. We have successfully handled countless claims against well-funded adversaries, such as the mining and energy companies that have powerful lobbies in our state. We work closely with our clients to thoroughly investigate their claim and explore every potential legal avenue toward recovering the just compensation they need and deserve.

To schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys, call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979, or send us a message through our web contact form.

Winter Driving Accidents

Avoiding Winter Auto Accidents in West Virginia

Recently, a charter van carrying members of the Martinsburg High School girls basketball team rolled over while traveling on Interstate 64 in East Beckley, West Virginia. As the van entered the interstate on a sharp left-hand curve, it reportedly veered off onto the right-hand side of the road and overturned. The crash is still under investigation, but poor lighting on the interstate, road construction, and lack of familiarity with the road are believed to be contributing factors.

There were 12 students and two adults in the van, and thankfully, no one was seriously injured.

We are all very relieved that everyone involved in this accident appears to be okay. But unfortunately, this is far from an isolated incident. According to the Mountaineer News Service, West Virginia has a higher fatality rate from auto accidents than the national average. In the Mountain State, the number of car crash fatalities is 14.7 per 100,000 individuals. This is not only well above the national average, it is higher than surrounding states such as Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

There are many factors that contribute to West Virginia’s high auto accident fatality rate, these include:

  • The mountainous terrain that is characteristic of the state;
  • The numerous narrow and winding roads that are spread throughout the state;
  • The high number of rural areas in the Mountain State;
  • The high number of roads (throughout the state) that are poorly maintained;
  • The high rates of driver negligence (e.g., speeding, reckless driving, distracted driving, drowsy driving, etc.) and impaired driving;
  • Poor driving conditions, especially during the winter.

Tips for Safe Winter Driving in West Virginia

Even for the most experienced motorists, driving in West Virginia winter weather is a major challenge. In the mountainous regions, it is not uncommon to receive over 150 inches of snow during a typical winter. Even in the low-lying areas, you can expect to deal with several storm systems that deliver freezing rain, sleet, and snow throughout the season. Whatever part of the state you live in, it is important to be prepared for adverse winter driving conditions.

When the driving conditions are poor, it is best to stay off of the roads until conditions improve if at all possible. If you need to drive during inclement weather, however, here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Monitor your Tire Tread and Tire Pressure: Before you go out in poor weather, there are a few things you should take care of with your vehicle to make sure it is ready. One of the first is to check the tread and pressure on your tires. Be sure your tires have plenty of tread, and that they are inflated to the proper levels. If your tires are worn and there is very little tread left, there is a greater chance of slipping and sliding (or even having a blowout) if you hit ice or snow. If you have the budget, you may also want to consider investing in snow tires for the winter.
  • Check your Battery: The last thing you want to happen is to get stranded in a remote area because of a dead battery. Check out your battery to make sure it has plenty of charge, and just in case, be sure to keep a set of jumper cables along with other emergency items in your vehicle.
  • Check your Wipers and Washer Fluids: When rain or snow hits, you need to have wiper blades that are in good working order, as well as plenty of washer fluid. If your wiper blades are worn, replace them. Also, top off your washer fluid before going out and consider keeping extra washer fluid in your vehicle in case you need it.
  • Clear the Snow Off of Your Vehicle: If you are going out after a snowstorm, make sure to clear all the snow off of your vehicle. Otherwise, this could cause visibility problems when you are driving.
  • Drive Slowly: The best approach when driving in snowy and/or icy weather is to proceed slowly. The slower you are driving, the better you will be able to handle adverse conditions that may come up. It is generally best to drive below 45 miles per hour when you encounter snow or ice on the road.
  • Keep a Safe Distance from Other Vehicles: Allow plenty of extra space between you and other vehicles on the road when there is freezing rain, snow, and similar conditions so you have enough time to slow down or stop if the vehicle in front of you starts to slide.
  • Know How to Drive on Ice: If you are driving at a safe speed, it will be much easier to maintain control if your vehicle starts to skid or slide. If this happens, do not panic. Avoid slamming on your brakes as this can make existing slides worse. Turn your front wheels the same direction that the rear of your vehicle is sliding (this is commonly known as “turning into the slide”). While doing this, however, do NOT overcorrect with your turn as this can cause the vehicle to start rotating faster than the steer can counter, resulting in a spin out. This video provides a good explanation on how to do this properly.

Injured in a Car Accident in West Virginia? Secure your Legal Rights

Driving during winter weather in West Virginia is difficult, and sometimes, you may do everything right and still end up in an accident. If you or someone close to you was injured in a winter driving accident and it was the fault of another party, you have a right to compensation.  When this happens, seek immediate medical attention, then contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal rights and options.  At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we have over 40 years of experience representing clients injured in motor vehicle accidents in West Virginia. We have in-depth knowledge of this area of the law, and we have a successful track record with even the most complex cases. To schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys, call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979, or send us a message through our online contact form.

Concussion Complications - Bailey Javins & Carter

Second Impact Syndrome and other Concussion Complications

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that is considered by many medical professionals to be a milder form of TBI. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concussions are “caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.”

The effects of a concussion are usually temporary, and signs and symptoms may include:

  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Headaches or head pressure
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Slurred speech
  • Delayed response to questions
  • Irritability
  • Mood and personality changes

Some symptoms of a concussion may surface immediately, while others may take a few hours or even a few days or longer to develop.

Although a concussion may be considered “mild” compared to other forms of TBI, there are serious complications that can result from this type of injury. The Mayo Clinic lists several potential concussion complications:

  • Post-Traumatic Headaches: Some concussion sufferers experience ongoing headaches for as long as a few months after the injury occurs.
  • Post-Traumatic Vertigo: Dizziness or a sense that your head is spinning around can continue for as long as a few months after the injury.
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome: Headaches, dizziness, trouble thinking clearly/confusion, and other concussion symptoms can continue for several weeks or months after the injury occurs.
  • Cumulative Affects of Multiple Brain Injuries: The Mayo Clinic says, “it’s possible that some people who have had one or more traumatic brain injuries over the course of their lives are at greater risk of developing lasting, possibly progressive, impairment that limits function. This is an area of active research.”
  • Second-Impact Syndrome (SIS): This is a rare condition in which an individual suffers a second concussion before their first concussion has fully healed. When this occurs, it can cause rapid and severe brain swelling, and in many cases, the results can be swift and fatal.

The Dangers of Second-Impact Syndrome

Although SIS is a rare condition, it is more common among certain sectors of the population, such as athletes. That said, second-impact syndrome can happen to anyone who sustains multiple concussions within a short period of time. For example, if someone was unfortunate enough to be involved in two high-impact vehicle crashes within a few days of each other, they may be at risk for SIS.

Second-impact syndrome occurs most often with younger athletes (typically around high school age) who play high-impact sports. Although SIS is rare, some of the factors that contribute to this injury among young athletes are not. For example, it is not unusual for an athlete (who is in the midst of an adrenaline rush) not to notice a head injury and continue to play. As an aside, it is common for those involved in motor vehicle accidents to experience this same type of adrenaline rush, which may cause them not to notice various injuries until later on.

Even if the athlete feels the effects of a head injury, they may not think it is all that serious, so they don’t report it to a coach or parent. There may also be pressure put on the athlete (internally or externally) to continue playing in spite of the injury. The risk of second-impact syndrome and the depth of information now being learned about the cumulative effects of multiple brain injuries are major reasons the National Football League (NFL) now uses a concussion protocol.

To prevent second-impact syndrome from occurring and to minimize other concussion complications, it is important for those who experience any type of head trauma due to an accident or from playing sports to be examined right away by a qualified medical professional. It is also important to do everything possible to avoid another bump, jolt, or blow to the head while they are recovering from their current injury.

Suffered a Head Injury? Contact a Seasoned West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or someone close to you has suffered a concussion or another form of traumatic brain injury and another party may have been responsible, it is important for you to understand your rights and legal options. For skilled legal guidance with all types of personal injuries in West Virginia, call Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 for a free consultation. You may also send us a message through our web contact form.