After a car crash, numbness and tingling in the arms or hands can be a sign of much more serious injury.
However, many people are unaware of how serious numbness can be. As a result, many ignore it, fail to report it to medical personnel, or both.
Recently, I settled a case for a gentleman who knew better than to ignore his numbness. Joseph reported his symptoms to the paramedics, the emergency room physicians, and the other doctors he saw, and he received a much higher settlement than it would have been without that symptomatology.
Joseph was in slowing traffic on I-55. The car behind him failed to stop and slammed into the rear of his vehicle, causing Joseph’s vehicle to be pushed into the car in front of his (and that vehicle to be pushed into the vehicle in front of it). Fault was entirely that of the last car in line.
Joseph’s business partner had been a prior client of mine, so he knew the steps to take next. He reported his injuries to the Illinois State Trooper and the paramedics. He was transported by ambulance to the emergency room, where he again reported his symptoms.
In this type of situation, many people become overwhelmed or let adrenaline take over and minimize seemingly “invisible” injuries.
But not Joseph.
He felt tingling in his fingers and reported it. Once he returned from the hospital, he contacted me. He did not give any statements to the insurance company and he didn’t try to handle things himself.
Why is tingling such a crucial symptom? Because it is evidence of nerve root compression. In other words, the violence of the hit caused his head and neck to snap hard enough to impact the nerves contained in the spinal cord. In a more serious case, this could lead to serious disc injury or even paralysis
Fortunately for Joseph, that was not the case for him. Still, his numbness was not “just a sore neck” or the type of injury from which you will recover in a day or so. Numbness like his is serious enough to require months of medical treatment.
The insurance industry is a casino. Everyone makes bets about what might happen and tries to charge accordingly. Certain things are more important in making a claim valuable. If you gamble on sports and you know the star player on the other team is out injured, it makes betting on your team a better bet.
It’s the same thing with insurance claims. Insurers rate, evaluate, and sort every factor. What was the liability? Are there reliable witnesses? Did the injured person get medical treatment at the scene? Did they follow up shortly after that? Did they go for therapy? Did they miss work?
All of those factors are used to evaluate a case. Let’s face it: just like in Las Vegas, insurance claims are all about money. How much is your case worth? It depends on dozens, if not hundreds of factors.
In Joseph’s case, liability was a “slam dunk.” He reported tingling and numbness at the scene, went by ambulance to the hospital, and went to physical therapy for months. He also missed several months of work, since he could not drive to different sites to perform his job of performing sophisticated nursing services involving intravenous lines.
Every single factor made his case more valuable. I used my knowledge of the system to force the insurance carrier for the vehicle that rear-ended him to pay as much as possible.
The case settled, Joseph has recovered fully, and life goes on. The lesson here is that no one wants to become injured when they are rear-ended. But if you do, make sure you don’t minimize your symptoms, report them all, and contact a lawyer.
As in all cases involving injury and potential liability, if you have been hit by a vehicle immediately get medical treatment, report the crash to police and your own insurance company, and contact a lawyer with expertise in your type of case, such as bicycle accidents or pedestrians hit by cars.
If you've been in an accident and have questions, contact Chicago personal injury attorney Stephen L. Hoffman for a free consultation at (773) 944-9737. Stephen has nearly 30 years of legal experience and has collected millions of dollars for his clients. He is listed as a SuperLawyer, has a 10.0 rating on Avvo, and is BBB A+ accredited. He is also an Executive Level Member of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce.
Stephen handles personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything upfront and he only gets paid if you do. Don’t wait another day. Contact Stephen now.