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Minor Collisions with Major Consequences: Whiplash, The Law, and You

Imagine you’re waiting patiently at a red light when suddenly WHAM! You’ve been rear-ended. It wasn’t a catastrophe, thankfully, since the driver wasn’t going very fast. And since there’s just a small scratch on your bumper, you may even think it’s not worth the trouble of exchanging insurance information. But before you decide to skip calling the police or visiting the E.R., remember that while a low-impact collision might not do much damage to your car, your body is much more fragile. In fact, minor car accidents are one of the main causes of whiplash. In this article, I’ll describe whiplash and its serious effects, as well as how a Passaic County car accident lawyer at Bavagnoli & Bavagnoli can help you if you’re suffering from this type of injury. 

How Common is Whiplash?

We all know road traffic accidents can be dangerous. In fact, the most recent New Jersey Department of Transportation data shows that in 2019, there were 59,850 injury-causing traffic accidents in New Jersey. What’s more, 4,038 of these were in Passaic County alone. And even in low-impact accidents, whiplash is one of the most common injuries you will experience.

It’s estimated that in the United States there are more than 1.2 million cases of whiplash annually, and more than 33,000 spinal disc injuries. Whiplash occurs when a sudden impact forces your neck into hyperextension and hyperflexion. In other words, the sudden jolt from a car accident, for example, knocks your head so as to bend your neck too far backwards (hyperextension) and too far forward (hyperflexion), straining the tissues in the neck. 

Is Whiplash Serious?

Furthermore, whiplash injuries can occur when vehicles are traveling at very slow speeds, under 10 miles per hour, and symptoms may not appear for a few days. Most often, whiplash is relatively minor, and symptoms are limited to mild pain and stiffness for a few days. It’s not that different from a sprained wrist or ankle. 

Sometimes, however, these symptoms last for an extended period of time, and can become chronic injuries. According to a 2020 meta-analysis, 38 percent of individuals with whiplash still have neck pain after 12 months. 

More severe cases of whiplash may also result in serious symptoms such as headaches and dizziness, not to mention severe damage to the spine. In rare instances, whiplash can result in paralysis or death

In any of these cases, if you fail to visit the E.R. after your accident, this can jeopardize your case, as the defendant’s lawyer or insurance company can claim that your injuries are pre-existing and had nothing to do with your accident. Additionally, it is important to get prompt treatment for the best outcome for your health.

When to Seek Legal Help

While whiplash may seem like a minor injury, a car accident attorney in Passaic County will tell you that it can have significant effects on your finances and quality of life. Chronic pain and disability, common in whiplash sufferers, may lead to significant medical expenses, for example. Also, the injury may impair your ability to work, leading to lost wages. Nevertheless, it can also be very difficult to receive adequate and just compensation for your pain and suffering. An experienced car accident lawyer serving Passaic County will be able to help you build a strong case. 

If you find yourself in a fender-bender, even if your car isn’t damaged and you feel fine afterwards, you could wake up the next day or later in the week with a severe case of whiplash. At the time it might seem like no big deal, but you never know, and it’s always best to exchange information, notify the authorities, and discuss your options with a Passaic County car accident lawyer. 

Bavagnoli & Bavagnoli has successfully handled hundreds of car accident cases over the years. We believe in treating each and every one of our clients like family. 

Reach out to us today at (973) 785-9522.

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Robert J. Bavagnoli is a Passaic County attorney specializing in personal injury and real estate law. He founded Bavagnoli & Bavagnoli in 1995 where he practiced for many years alongside his brother, Ronald C. Bavagnoli (now deceased). For over 28 years, he has proudly served Northern New Jersey including Passaic County, Bergen County, and Essex County, among others, recovering millions in damages for his clients.

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Highest praise for the professionalism and ease of working with Robert Bavagnoli and his team! I used his services for the sale and closing of a home. He acted quickly, made the process easy and covered all the bases so I didn't have to be concerned about anything. This gentleman is a pleasure to do business with and who I want in an attorney!

- Lynda R.

Great firm for personal injury plaintiffs. The welfare of the client always comes first.

- Jonathan M.

Thorough, friendly, upbeat and very professional. They kept me informed of every decision they made.  They made me feel like I’m part of their family. I would highly recommend Robert Bavagnoli to anyone that needs the assistance.

- Earl C.

I was involved in an accident and didn't know what to do.  I decided to call Bavagnoli & Bavagnoli. They welcomed me to their firm. They were so polite and as I spoke with them and saw how friendly and polite they were it lifted me up and put my mind at ease. I wasn't scared anymore and it was an excellent experience from beginning to end.

- Tamika P.

For me the experience with Bavagnoli and Bavagnoli was wonderful!  My lawyer handled my case and it went excellent, even better than I imagined.

- Ms. Dela Cruz

The Bavagnoli & Bavagnoli Difference


  • Individualized attention
  • Clear and honest communication
  • Prompt answers to all calls
  • Your needs are our top priority
  • Respectful, compassionate treatment
  • Collaborative approach to each case
  • Over 27 years of experience
  • Millions recovered



Passaic County

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Essex County

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Bavagnoli & Bavagnoli Office

12 Furler St.
Suite 5,
Totowa, NJ 07512

Phone: (973) 785-9522


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