Whiplash is dangerous. It can cause acute pain, limited range of motion, and even chronic disability. Unfortunately, many are unaware of the risk factors it poses, and insurers, at-fault drivers, and others may try to downplay the severity of your injuries. Unless you fight for a fair settlement, this could lead to less compensation than you deserve.
Whiplash may not be immediately apparent—the signs of whiplash may show up several days after the actual accident. These symptoms can be debilitating and painful, according to Mayo Clinic.
What Is Whiplash?
Although whiplash happens in many different types of car accidents, it most commonly occurs during a rear-end collision. When a car is hit from behind, the vehicle lurches forward, slinging the occupants’ heads back and forward quickly. This can stretch the soft tissues beyond their normal range of motion, causing a whiplash injury.
Some people recover from whiplash quickly and get back on their feet within days, while others take several weeks. Those with severe complications often experience chronic pain after the accident, which can lead to long-term impairments, missed work, lost income, and ongoing medical care costs. These consequences are why some people in these situations may consider hiring a lawyer.
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What You Need to Know About Whiplash
The Mayo Clinic reports that being in excellent physical condition lessens your whiplash injury and pain in many cases. Some people may be more likely to suffer more harmful whiplash, including those who:
- Had whiplash before
- Are older
- Had existing neck or lower back pain before the accident
- Are injured in a high-speed crash
If you have neck pain or a limited range of motion after an accident, you should ask your doctor to examine you, discuss your symptoms, and diagnose the condition.
A Medical Examination Can Rule Out Worse Injuries
The medical examination will likely focus on your neck, shoulders, arms, head, and upper back. The doctor will consider the range of your neck motion, tenderness in your neck, where you have pain, and the strength of your reflexes to make a diagnosis. This is critical because neck pain is a symptom of many different types of injuries.
Harvard Health Letter states that if muscle sprains and strains—the usual injuries whiplash patients face—do not get better after a few weeks or months, then imaging tests may be used to check the status of the patient’s vertebrae and nerves.
Whiplash Is Usually Treatable with Conservative Treatment
Treatment strategies for mild to moderate whiplash are relatively straightforward. In many cases, doctors can prescribe painkiller medications or gentle physical therapy exercises, like range of motion movements and stretching.
A medical professional might prescribe a muscle relaxant for spasms in other cases. Harvard Health Letter reports that surgery may be necessary if there is pressure on a nerve or vertebrae. Initially, doctors may advise applying heat or ice to the affected area. This simple technique aims to reduce pain and swelling and allow more flexibility.
Relaxation techniques also come in handy. The neck muscles need to relax, which will assist in recovery. Some doctors may prescribe a foam collar to keep your neck stable, but this is no longer the usual practice. For the best results, always follow your doctor’s recommendations based on the details of your condition.
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Filing an Insurance Claim for Whiplash
Filing an insurance claim could make the negligent party (or parties) answer for their wrongdoing. In addition, you can pursue money for your medical costs and other damages you experienced. You may be able to file a claim for:
- Transportation costs to and from doctor’s appointments
- Emergency medical treatment
- Current and future medical costs
- Physical or psychological therapies
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced earning capacity
- Lost wages
You may also have a wrongful death claim for loss of consortium, medical costs, and burial services if you lost a loved one in the accident that gave you whiplash.
The driver who caused or contributed to your whiplash could go on to harm someone else in the future. However, you could hold them accountable today so they can learn what their actions (or inactions) do to others.
Things to Collect Before Speaking to a Lawyer
Before you consider filing a claim for personal injury, you may want to gather several relevant documents. These include:
The Police Report
The law enforcement officers who respond to your crash will complete a report. This document will indicate what they believe happened, include information about those involved and any witnesses, and explain any citations issued.
Medical Records of Your Injuries
These may include records from the hospital, emergency room, and follow-up appointments. Your medical documents should indicate your symptoms, the provided treatments, diagnosis results, and ongoing care plans.
Bills, Receipts, and Other Proof of Damages
Keep any bills you receive. This should include receipts for prescriptions and any other related purchases, estimates for vehicle repairs, and documentation of your time away from work.
Contact Information for Your Doctor or Another Care Provider
In some cases, medical expert testimony is vital. This entails your doctor describing the nature of the injury, your prognosis for recovery, and recommended treatment. In the case of permanent damage, your doctor will also outline the care you will likely require in the future.
These medical statements and records from your providers are essential in some cases. They serve as evidence for currently incurred costs and projected future costs. Your attorney can help you identify experts, gather these statements, or approach them to testify.
A personal injury attorney can use all of this information as evidence to support your claim. The help of a lawyer in your pursuit of damages can allow you to focus on yourself and spend time healing with your family. If you are missing any of this evidence, do not worry—your lawyer can obtain some of it for you.
Call Morris Bart, LLC for a Free Consultation Today
At the Morris Bart law firm, we understand that whiplash is dangerous and can significantly affect your life and abilities. We provide free case assessments by a car accident attorney near you. Our lawyers may be able to recover money damages to cover your expenses and losses.
We have 15 offices and serve Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. Get in contact with us at (800) 537-8185 today.
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