Car accidents can lead to different types of injuries depending on the nature of the crash. The most common type of injury in a car accident is whiplash. Dealing with whiplash injury claims or lawsuits can be challenging. Still, with assistance from an experienced personal injury lawyer, you can recover compensation for your injuries.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash occurs when the body violently jerks back and forth due to extreme force exerted during a traumatic event such as a car accident. This movement can cause the tissues, muscles, ligaments, and bones in the neck and back to get injured.
Although minor whiplash injuries can be manageable and the pain eventually subsides, severe pain symptoms may take several months to resolve and even result in permanent damage. For example, nerve roots, joints between the vertebrae, and discs can get damaged by a severe whiplash injury, resulting in disability. The risk factors of whiplash include older age, the existing condition of neck or back pain, and a history of whiplash.
Whiplash injuries suffered in automobile accidents are typically divided into three stages. Stage one whiplash injury is minor and typically results in neck and shoulder pain, stiffness, slightly restricted range of motion, fatigue, dizziness, and headaches. This type of whiplash injury may also be accompanied by swelling, which can usually subside with adequate rest.
Stage two whiplash injury results from damage to the ligaments in the spine and muscle tears. This leads to significant restriction in the range of motion, persistent pain, sleep disturbances, and difficulty concentrating.
On the other hand, stage three or severe whiplash injuries are where vertebrae discs are dislocated or fractured, surrounding nerves are damaged, or the muscle completely tears away from the bone. These types of whiplash injuries may require invasive methods of treatment.
What Makes Whiplash So Common?
Soft tissue injuries in the neck, including whiplash, are more common in motor vehicle accidents. The reason behind that is that the head is subject to violent movement, causing excessive strain on the neck.
In a collision, whether the vehicle moves in the opposite direction or suddenly comes to a stop, the force of the impact pushes the bodies inside the vehicle forward at the same speed that the vehicle was traveling. This means the neck is subject to enormous pressure during a moderate or severe car crash.
Symptoms of Whiplash
- Stiffness in the neck
- Neck or shoulder pain
- Tenderness in the upper arms or shoulders.
- Tingling sensation in the arms
- Sleep disturbances
- Concentration problems
- Memory problems
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
Treatment of Whiplash
Minor cases of whiplash are often treated at home by taking adequate rest, practicing good posture, and applying ice to the swollen area, which helps reduce inflammation. The doctor may prescribe pain medication or muscle relaxants to help the patient deal with the discomfort, muscle spasms, and stiffness caused by whiplash.
If a whiplash injury is severe, resulting in disc herniation or joint injuries, the doctor may administer injections to reduce tissue and nerve inflammation. Physical rehabilitation therapy is also a common type of treatment for whiplash injuries. This therapy helps improve muscle strength and range of motion. It also reduces pain associated with whiplash injuries. Depending on the extent of the whiplash injuries, alternative treatments to physical rehabilitation therapy can be chiropractic care, such as acupuncture or manual manipulation.
Radiofrequency neurotomy can also be applied to target damaged or pinched nerves. In extreme cases, patients with whiplash may require surgical treatments, including spinal fusion, to recover from the injuries. However, if whiplash is not treated in time, it can result in complications. A common aftermath of severe whiplash injuries is psychological issues such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), anxiety, and depression.
Get Compensated for Whiplash Injury
Victims of car accidents often neglect to get treatment for whiplash. Not only is this bad for your health, but it can also undermine your compensation claim. According to the car accident clinic, getting medical treatment can serve as an important piece of evidence in whiplash claims or lawsuits. To take legal action against the responsible party, you should get in touch with an experienced attorney. Your lawyer can handle the settlement negotiations so you don’t fall victim to common pitfalls when dealing with defense lawyers or insurance companies. The lawyer can also offer you legal representation if your whiplash injury case goes to trial.