Visitor Question

Quadriplegic injured in multiple car rear-end accident…

Submitted By: Sue (Redford, Michigan)

I was in a car accident in 2001, which made me a quadriplegic. Fast forward to August 2014, my son and I were at a red light and a car rear ended the car behind us, which hit us and knocked my wheelchair out of its station.

I was caught up in my seat belt.

We were hit so hard that I started out behind the driver’s seat but after the accident I ended up facing the passenger seat.

When the car hit us my head and neck snapped forward and my shoulder was hurt bad. The ambulance took me to the hospital where they said I had suffered whiplash. They gave me pain medicine for the shoulder.

The x-rays and MRI did not show anything, so the doctor sent me to physical therapy. Since that time my neck and shoulder still hurt, plus I have headaches. My doctor sent me for an ultrasound and found out I have a tear in my shoulder.

Do you think that we may have grounds for a lawsuit? Does the fact I was already a quadriplegic have any effect on the case? Thanks for any perspective you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Sue,

In most cases, the driver following behind is liable for a collision with one or more drivers in front. From the facts you present, this is exactly what occurred.

You may have grounds for a lawsuit, but you will likely have a difficult time finding an attorney to accept your case. While a jury might have sympathy for your physical disability, the jury would be bound by law to make a verdict based on the facts of the case.

In your case, fortunately you suffered only whiplash. While whiplash can cause pain and discomfort, whiplash is typically a “soft tissue” injury. Soft tissue injuries include not only whiplash, but strains and sprains of tendons, muscles, and ligaments, minor cuts and abrasions, and the like.

Soft tissue injuries are usually worth much less than hard injuries such as fractures, head trauma, serious burns and the like…but not always. Each case is different and must be evaluated on its own merits.

Most attorneys won’t accept a case where soft tissue injury medical bills, if any, are low. There’s just not enough money in those types of cases to make it worth an attorney’s while. Nonetheless you should get a case evaluation from an injury attorney in your area.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: April 30, 2015

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