Whiplash is a dreaded, painful condition that results when your neck and head are subjected to extreme forces and sudden change of direction.
Most people who get whiplash do so as a result of a motor vehicle accident. We see it a lot in crashes at moderate to high speeds, especially when one driver rear ends the other or hits them in a head-on collision.
Whiplash is painful and can lead to serious injury, as well as disruption in your day to day life. It can keep you from working or even enjoying your hobbies and taking part in daily activities. On the more serious end of the spectrum, whiplash can result in significant medical bills.
But can you file a personal injury claim if you have suffered from whiplash? And if you can, what does the process look like?
All About Whiplash: Causes and Symptoms
Whiplash – also referred to as a neck sprain or strain – is a condition in which your neck is injured by sudden changes in your head’s direction.
If you’ve ever been sitting at a stop light, then had someone slam into your car from behind, you may have had your head suddenly jerk forward. That places extreme and rapid pressure on the joints, discs, muscles, and ligaments in your neck.
Such force can cause ligaments and muscles to tear and rupture, and can cause discs to herniate.
One scary thing about whiplash is that symptoms may not show up for 24 hours – or more – after the accident. You can leave the scene of an accident thinking you’re completely fine, only to suddenly find yourself in pain.
The symptoms of whiplash include:
- Moderate to severe pain in the neck and back
- Headaches and migraines
- Pain in your shoulders or shoulder blades
- Pain in your hands/arms
- Numbness in your hands/arms
- Difficulty with focus or memory
- Sleep disturbances
- Fatigue and lethargy
In severe cases, the pain may be debilitating, preventing you from working or doing anything even remotely strenuous.
Treatment for Whiplash
Unfortunately, there isn’t a single proven treatment to handle whiplash cases. Sometimes, in mild to moderate cases, pain relievers work in combination with light exercises. You can also benefit from massage therapy, physical therapy, and applying heat or cold to the injured area.
Physical therapy may be required for moderate to severe cases, as well as traction. Your doctor will be able to diagnose your injury and give you a solid treatment plan that increases your chances of recovering fully.
What Should You Do First?
As we said, you may not be aware of an injury in the 24 hours following your accident. That’s why we recommend being seen by a medical professional as soon as possible after any accident if there’s even the slightest chance you’ve been injured.
As with any auto accident, record everything. Be sure to make a note of the circumstances of your accident, and pay attention to the situation and what you tell the law enforcement officer and other first responders.
If you receive medical treatment for whiplash, document it carefully. Also document anything negative that has resulted from the injury, whether it’s missed work, lost wages, pain and suffering, or insurance co-pays. Don’t delay in seeking treatment or filing a claim. Delaying with either can harm your case.
When to Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney
Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as you can, and provide him or her with your documentation and your information. They’ll be able to help you put together your case and decide if you have an actionable case to take to court.
This is particularly helpful if you’re filing an insurance claim because there’s no guarantee that the insurer will make good on your claim – leaving you on the hook for all your expenses.
The sooner you talk to a lawyer, and the sooner you start preparing your case, the better off you’ll be in the long run and the more success you’ll have taking the involved parties to court, if necessary. There are no guarantees with the legal system, but you’ll dramatically improve your chances if you invoke the help of a qualified attorney early on in the process.
Remember: time is of the essence.
Contact Wettermark Keith
If you have been injured in an accident and have suffered from whiplash or other conditions, it may be in your best interest to talk to an attorney.
Contact the legal professionals at Wettermark Keith. We have decades of experience dealing with injuries from auto accidents, but more importantly, we genuinely care about you and your family and we want the best for you.