Whiplash: A Serious Injury That May Take Days to Appear
There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding whiplash injuries that mislead people regarding what it is, how it happens, and the severity of the pain and discomfort it can cause – and how long that pain can last.
In our years serving people injured in car accidents, among other ways, we’ve seen our share of these injuries, how they occur, and the effect they can have. Whiplash is unpredictable and can be debilitating. Here’s what you need to know.
What Exactly Is Whiplash and How Is It Diagnosed?
Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when the head moved forward and/or backwards beyond the neck’s normal range of motion. This violent movement can result in damage to the cervical spine, discs, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and muscles in the neck.
According to Johns Hopkins, the injury is poorly understood. The condition is sometimes difficult to diagnose because the damage occurs in structures too small to be detected by the scans physicians use, such as MRIs, CT Scans, and X-rays. Your physician may order these tests to rule out other causes of your symptoms, but the primary way whiplash is diagnosed is by its symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, a physician may have you perform certain movements to determine:
- Range of motion in your neck and shoulders
- Degree of motion that causes pain or an increase in pain
- Tenderness in your neck, shoulders or back
- Reflexes, strength and sensation in your limbs
Because of the difficulty diagnosing whiplash, it is vital that you seek medical attention if you begin to experience symptoms of whiplash. People shrug off symptoms too often, and that can inhibit their ability to recover compensation after an accident.
How Can I Get Whiplash?
There are many ways you can suffer from whiplash, including:
- Car accidents
- Physical abuse, such as being punched or shaken
- Contact sports, such as football or rugby
- Martial sports, such as karate or boxing
- Horseback riding and equestrian
- Cycling accidents
- Anything involving a violent blow to, or movement of, the head
The truth is, any sudden or violent movement of the head has the potential to cause a whiplash injury. Most people understandably connect whiplash to car accidents, specifically rear-end accidents. That’s the context in which we often hear about it. What surprises most people is how little force is required to cause it. Whiplash injuries can occur from even low-speed vehicle accidents.
If someone else’s negligence led to your whiplash injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us immediately to discuss your case.
What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?
According to Johns Hopkins, common symptoms of whiplash can include:
- Neck pain
- Neck stiffness
- Shoulder pain
- Low back pain
- Pain in your arm or hand
- Numbness in your arm or hand
- Ringing in your ears
- Blurred vision
- Concentration or memory problems
If these seem familiar or sound like symptoms of other injuries, they can be. One of the difficulties diagnosing whiplash is that its symptoms may appear to be other conditions and medical problems. Another thing that makes whiplash injuries hard to deal with is that symptoms may take hours, days, or even weeks to appear. When they do, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as you feel them. A delay in seeking care may do harm to your case, and hurt your ability to seek compensation.
How Is Whiplash Treated?
The medical view of whiplash treatment may surprise you. While it may be tempting or even obvious to rest until you feel better, that’s a mistake: you should seek treatment immediately if you feel anything amiss. Resting for more than a few days may actually prolong the pain by allowing your muscles to weaken. Even the foam collar that most people instantly identify with whiplash injuries is usually only supposed to be worn for a few hours at a time, and only for a few days to a few weeks, depending on the doctor. Common treatments include:
- Pain management, which may include over-the-counter pain killers for mild injuries up to prescription pain medication for more severe cases. Heat may be recommended, and your physician may also recommend muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatory medication, or even injections.
- Restoring range of motion through exercises and physical therapy. Exercises can include rotating the head or bending the neck, and even rolling the shoulders.
- Physical therapy to assist you with recovery when simple exercises aren’t enough. This is not necessarily reserved for severe cases. Your doctor may or may not refer you to chiropractic care as well.
What this can amount to for you, as an injured person, is a lot of out-of-pocket medical expenses. That’s why it’s vital to contact a personal injury attorney if you suffered whiplash due to someone else’s actions, such as a car accident where another was at fault. You shouldn’t have to deal with financial pain on top of your injury.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Seek for My Whiplash Injury?
Just as in other personal injury situations, the idea of a claim is to make you whole. That means you can seek compensation for things like:
- Medical bills and expenses, including deductibles and copays
- Medication and prescription drug expenses
- Medical equipment expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Whiplash injuries are unpredictable. The pain and discomfort can last months or longer, and have a serious negative effect on your life. Some insurance companies will often move in and attempt to settle your case quickly, but what if that first offer is not enough? In our experience, it very rarely is – you could be dealing with an injury for months. Don’t just take the insurance company’s word for it.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer About Your Whiplash Injury
They say, “Accidents happen,” but we know from experience that behind most accidents, there’s someone’s negligence. If you’re suffering from whiplash after a car accident, fall, or any other reason that was the result of someone else’s carelessness, you may have a case for compensation. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 or contact us online right away for a free case evaluation. We’ll give you an opinion on your case and tell you what we can do to assist you.