Whiplash Injuries Can Be Significant

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Whiplash Injuries Can Be Significant

What is whiplash? Is it a serious injury? Yes, it most certainly is. Whiplash happens when, during an often traumatic event, the head and neck get unexpectedly forced back and forth. These rapid motions can put extreme stress on the cervical spine. The most common symptom is neck pain, which can range from mild to severe. Other symptoms of whiplash injuries can include a reduced range of neck motion, stiffness in the neck, shoulder pain, upper back pain, headache, tingling, numbness, or weakness that can extend into the shoulder area or down the arm.


Rear-end vehicle collisions are notorious for producing whiplash. The severity and the way in which whiplash can be brought about by a car collision is dependent on many factors, including the angle from which you get hit. Typically, the collision happens behind you, which can result in the following:

• If your vehicle gets rear-ended, it can cause your seat to push against your back. The spine can get compressed when that happens and get jammed upward toward your neck and head.
• The cervical spine can become unnaturally shaped like an S-curve. The compression and force that accompanies this action can cause damage to invertebrate discs and joints.
• The back of the car seat accelerates forward, while the head is snapping backwards, causing neck injuries.
• Then, the reverse can happen, and the head bounces off the back of the seat rest and forward again, with a force.
• The seatbelt (which every passenger of a moving vehicle should be wearing) restrains the body, but the head and neck areas can still get whipped around, thus resulting in whiplash conditions.

Speed does not always factor into whether a person gets whiplash or not. Whiplash injuries have been shown to occur at only 10 mph. As well, the exterior of the car does not have to “appear” severely damaged for whiplash to still occur within the interior of the vehicle. Often, forces that may appear to bypass the car’s exterior travel instead to the interior, causing injury to the body.


While everyone who experiences any kind of pain at all after a motor vehicle accident is urged to seek immediate medical attention, some signs should be of particular concern. These include:

• When the neck isn’t stable – you can’t get it to stay stable
• Numbness, a tingling sensation, or weakness that extends into a shoulder, down an arm and/or into a hand
• Balance or coordination issues
• Drastic departure from normal behavior and mannerisms, such as can be caused by depression, increased irritability, insomnia, and/or having trouble focusing


While most people who sustain a whiplash injury can recover in about three months, studies throughout the years have shown that many people will still struggle with chronic pain from the injury for the rest of their lives. Additional factors that can play into a whiplash injury lasting longer include:

• Age – the older a person is who sustains such an injury, the longer period of time it can take to recover
• Gender – women often have more recurring pain from this type of injury than men
• PTSD – if the individual who suffers a whiplash injury is also suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), recovery can take longer
• Severity – if the severity of the whiplash injury is extremely painful at the time of the onset, it can take more time to recover

If you or a loved one have been in a motor vehicle accident in or around St. Petersburg and you think you may have incurred a whiplash injury, speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

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Two People Die in Two-Vehicle Crash on U.S. 19

Two fatalities were the result of a two-vehicle crash on U.S. 19 in early December. The Florida Highway Patrol said Charles Prugh, 63, of Clearwater, was driving a Ford Sedan, headed south on U.S. 19. The Ford Sedan collided with a 2004 Jaguar that was headed north on U.S. 19. The occupants of the Jaguar, a male and a female, both died as a result of this crash. Prugh was seriously injured but lived. The Florida Highway Patrol said all involved were wearing seatbelts.


According to the 2016 Annual Report of the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there was a 5.73 percent increase in total crashes in the State of Florida from 2015 to 2016. A 6.05 percent increase was seen by drivers involved in crashes and a leap of 8.74 percent was noted in fatal crashes.


Wear Your Seat Belts. While in the incident above, all occupants of the motor vehicles were wearing seat belts and two still perished, wearing your seat belt is not only a recommendation, it is a law. Wearing seat belts is more helpful than harmful, and, in fact, in many cases, they are life-saving, in most instances. The best way to wear your seat belt is to make sure the belt going across your lap rests on your hip bones, while the shoulder strip rests across the center of your chest. Children, of course, should be in proper car seats until such time as they are big enough to properly wear a seat belt and as mandated by law.

Ensure Your Car Is Safe. This can be a broad category, but for starters, always try to make sure there aren’t any loose objects laying in your car, especially of a heavy or pointed shape nature, that could be used as a projectile if you were to be involved in a crash. If you are carrying a number of items, put them in your trunk and not your back seat. In this category is also the need to always keep up with maintenance on your vehicle. Air bags (they are not in some older model cars) and seat belts can help tremendously with safety. It has been proven that they significantly reduce the chances of injury or death from a vehicle accident. Always ensure your car’s brakes, engine, tires, suspension, and transmission are in good condition. Get your oil changed regularly and ask the mechanic to take a good overall at your motor vehicle to try to identify any problems before they become an issue.

Obey Traffic Laws and Pay Attention to Current Road Conditions. Pay attention to the road conditions, whether that is rain (making streets treacherous) or construction zones, etc. Try to avoid any holes or objects in the roadway. Lower driving speeds are always better than higher speeds when in doubt.

It is not a given when we head out the door each morning that we will all safely return. We certainly all hope we do. Yet accidents happen. Try as we all might (some try harder than others), accidents still occur, bad judgment is used, and so on. When the results involve motor vehicles, the force to be reckoned with is intensified. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle crash, be sure to contact a personal injury attorney to help assess what your rights as a victim are and to understand the paths of assistance that may be open to you.

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Whether walking, driving, or even being parked alongside the road, car accident injuries can occur at any time, at any place, and to anyone. That’s why they are called “accidents.” If you find yourself in a situation where you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, a tractor-trailer accident, car accident injuries, or any other type of accident situation that is someone else’s fault, consider calling a personal injury attorney. We have seen a lot over the years, and we have the experience and knowledge to help you maneuver through the court system, if necessary. We want to ensure you know your rights, and that you have the mechanisms of law that are available to you to help you recover from such a traumatic event.


St. Petersburg police reported Monday, March 20, that a Pinellas County high school student was hit by a car while she was crossing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. North Street on foot. Alina Marie Perez, 17, was struck by a red Buick Rendezvous. She received serious injuries less than a mile from Northeast High School where she was a sophomore. Sadly, Perez died from the injuries sustained during that accident. Police are looking for witnesses in this case as it is believed someone riding a scooter or motorcycle may have seen what happened.

The Florida State Highway Patrol reported that a 56-year-old man received serious injuries when struck by a hit-and-run driver in St. Petersburg on Wednesday, March 22. The injured man, Robert Klimczak, was walking west of 28th Street North, on the shoulder of 44th Avenue North, when hit by a vehicle traveling west. The vehicle then left the scene of the accident. Klimczak was listed in serious condition at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg when transported there for treatment.


A motorcyclist traveling at a high rate of speed suffered life-threatening injuries when thrown 90 feet on Tuesday, March 21, after colliding with a passenger car. The driver of the 2012 Nissan made a left turn onto 33rd Avenue North in front of the motorcyclist. The Saint Petersburg Police felt that due to the high rate of speed at which the motorcyclist was traveling, he couldn’t stop; hence the 90 feet in the air. This accident occurred on Tyrone Blvd. and the severely injured man was transported to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg for treatment. Sadly, the 21-year-old motorcyclist, David Lee Jeffrey, succumbed to his injuries and passed away.


On March 19, a deadly crash involving three vehicles occurred in Alachua County. According to the Florida State Highway Patrol, a disabled tractor-trailer sitting on the side of the road was rear-ended when a passenger vehicle carrying four persons veered off the road and struck it. The third vehicle became involved when struck by flying debris from the crash. The driver of the third vehicle, 52-year-old St. Pete resident Thon Dexter Rice, did not report receiving any injuries. The driver of the parked tractor-trailer rig, 55-year-old Alton Lucius Gravely, was unhurt. The four persons in the passenger vehicle had not been identified yet at the time of this article.

Under the Recent Verdicts tab on our website, you can see just a sampling of some of the recent cases we have tried, including automobile collisions. We handle a variety of cases and, today, more than ever before, it is crucial that you find a personal injury attorney who has experience in handling similar cases all the way to trial, and one who stays on top of the continuously evolving field of personal injury law.

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Bad Tires are a Lawsuit Waiting to Happen

tire-1541420As a personal injury attorney, I cannot begin to count the number of times defendants have tried to claim that they didn’t realize their vehicles were not properly maintained. The fact of the matter is that there are millions of people in this country who are not properly maintaining their vehicles, and they believe that, by putting off the necessary upgrades and repairs, including replacing bad tires, they are saving themselves money.

Unfortunately, the dollars saved are rarely enough to cover the cost of the legal proceedings, let alone the actual settlement in lawsuits, after an accident is caused as a result of poor vehicle maintenance.

Bad tires are one of the biggest offenders. At more than $100 per tire, it is costly to replace tires these days, but not nearly as costly as it is to pay for the damage and injuries sustained in an accident.

Tire Blowouts Cause Accidents. Riding on bald or underinflated tires leaves a person exposed to this kind of devastating experience. When a tire blows out at highway speeds, it is very easy to lose control of the vehicle. The remnants of the tire can cause the vehicle to swerve and cause serious crashes. At these speeds, the damage can be excessive, and people can lose their lives. We’ve seen this happen in the St. Petersburg area and all around Florida. It is very hard for the owner of the vehicle to come to grips with the fact that he or she caused a death because the tires were not properly maintained.

Flat Tires Leave You Exposed. Even if you manage to get to the side of the road with a flat tire, when you are dealing with such circumstances on the side of the highway, you are very exposed. Other vehicles are flying by at high speeds and you face serious injury, if not death, should you be hit while inspecting the damage. Assuming you take all precautions to warn others, switching the liability for the crash to them for your injuries, it is better if you (or your survivors) never need to call me to make that claim.

In a current claim I am handling, a dually truck left the highway and caused a fatality. When I took my engineer to Orlando to inspect the remains of the truck and get the information off the black box, we quickly found out that all 6 tires were nearly bald – well below the amount of tread that anyone would consider safe. It is very possible that the bald tires contributed to the death. Remember, it is important to have an attorney who knows how to secure that information right away after a collision before the evidence is destroyed.

Bald Tires Do Not Provide Adequate Traction. Particularly when roads are wet or otherwise slick, bald tires are a major hazard. It is much easier to lose control of the vehicle when driving on bald tires. The results of a high speed accident on slick roads are very likely going to be devastating for all parties involved. The cost of repairs and medical attention will be equally devastating to everyone in our community. Even if the person who caused the collision is carrying a proper insurance policy, it is likely that they will see a spike in insurance rates as a result of the accident, which means that they will be paying for the accident for at least a year with each of the higher premium payments.

It really is important to recognize the dangers in which others are placed when people drive a poorly maintained vehicle. It is not just the state of the tires, but also all other components of the car, truck, van, or bike that should be regularly inspected and repaired, as necessary. The expense will be much less than they will spend on the lawsuit should they be found at fault in a serious accident.

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