When you think of whiplash, you might picture the stereotypical scenario of someone who has just been rear-ended, stepping out of the car and clutching their neck in pain. While it is true that some whiplash injuries are felt immediately, they are much more likely to show up hours or days after the accident.
The gradual worsening effects of delayed whiplash offer just one reason why injury reporting is necessary soon after a collision. You should see a doctor to discuss your symptoms, get ahead of the pain, and protect yourself from further injury. While this ensures prompt treatment, it also ties your injuries to the crash, which is essential to an injury claim.
Reporting Symptoms Can Help You Catch Serious Injuries Early
When you begin to experience injury symptoms after a car accident, it is crucial to report them to a medical care provider right away. Some signs that seem minor at first may suggest a serious injury that can get worse without treatment. For example, pain and bruising in the abdomen could indicate internal bleeding, though other symptoms may take days to appear.
If you are experiencing headaches, jaw pain, or increased tiredness after a car accident, these may be symptoms of delayed whiplash. You should see a doctor to discuss your symptoms, receive the care you need, and create a record of your injuries.
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You Must Prove You Suffered Whiplash to Recover Damages For It
Medical records are crucial to personal injury cases for several reasons. First, you need evidence that you suffered injuries to recover compensation. While your visible injuries may get recorded in the police report, your whiplash may not—especially if you experience delayed symptoms. When you see a doctor, they can:
- Identify the injuries you suffered
- Connect them with the accident
- Explain the extent and severity of your injuries
- Prescribe treatment
- Give you a prognosis, outlining your ability to recover and how long recovery will take
Without an official record of your injuries, proving the connection between your whiplash and the car accident could be difficult.
Your Medical Records Can Outline How Much Compensation to Seek
“Medical expenses” is a common category of recoverable damages. However, if you don’t report your whiplash injuries and connect them to the collision, you may not be able to seek compensation for your treatment and related costs.
Your medical records will show how much you have already paid for treatment and estimate the cost of medical care you will likely need in the future to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI).
Knowing these details can help your legal team establish your right to compensation and the amount you qualify to seek through a personal injury claim or lawsuit. They will gather and analyze these records to build your case.
Tip: Keep a daily record or calendar of your symptoms and pain levels. This will help you discuss your injuries with your doctor without forgetting any important information. Any records you keep can also serve as additional evidence in your accident claim.
What Is Whiplash, and How does It Feel?
Whiplash is arguably the most common soft tissue injury people suffer in a collision. It occurs when the force of impact causes a victim’s head to move back and forth rapidly, injuring their neck muscles.
Many people do not recognize how painful and debilitating whiplash can be. Most symptoms do not appear immediately, and some may be delayed for several days. According to Mayo Clinic, whiplash injuries cause:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Muscle spasms
- Jaw pain
- Fatigue and dizziness
- Numbness, pain, and/or tingling in shoulders, arms, legs, and back
A doctor will need to evaluate your range of motion and other factors to diagnose a whiplash injury. They may recommend an X-ray, MRI, and/or CT scan to rule out more severe neck injuries, including nerve damage, broken bones, and spinal cord compression.
While whiplash often heals with conservative treatment, some develop a chronic pain condition that also causes stiffness and limited range of motion. These people may live with a disabling condition because of their car accident injuries.
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An Attorney Can Help You Build a Strong Car Accident Case
If you were hurt in a crash, you may qualify to recover compensation based on the circumstances of the accident, your injuries, and other factors. You could seek financial recovery for medical costs, emotional distress, and further damages, but there are deadlines to keep in mind.
How long you can wait to file a personal injury lawsuit varies from state to state—some states have very short timelines, so you must act quickly. For example, the deadlines that apply to filing a lawsuit in the Gulf South include:
- One year in Louisiana under La. Civ. Code Art. 3492
- Two years in Alabama per Ala. Code § 6-2-38
- Three years in Arkansas under Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-105 and Mississippi per Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49
The facts of your case could affect the timeline, as well. Some people may have even less time to act.
Talk to the Morris Bart, LLC Team Today at No Cost to Your Fmily
An attorney from the Morris Bart law firm can assist you today. We provide free case evaluations throughout our service area. Our lawyers also handle car accident claims and other personal injury cases based on contingency fees. We have office locations throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas.
Call us at 800-537-8185 today.
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