While not an actual medical term, “whiplash” has entered into our common vernacular to describe a certain kind of neck injury. We’ve all experienced whiplash at one time or another, and it’s unmistakable when it happens. The shooting pain, the frozen muscles, the darkened vision…it’s an unpleasant experience! Whiplash can occur in a variety of settings. It can be brought on by traumatic accidents or by simply turning the neck in an unnatural way too quickly. Interestingly, the mechanism of injury is not thoroughly understood, but it’s causes and symptoms are well documented.
Whiplash During Auto Accidents
Without question, one of the most commonly cited situations where whiplash occurs is in car accidents. The environment is a perfect setup for this kind of injury. During an auto accident, the vehicle is brought to a stop or thrust into motion more rapidly than the human body can adjust to. As such, the flexible areas of the body are jolted. The neck is particularly vulnerable, and when bent unnaturally it assumes a state of hyperextension. In severe cases, whiplash leads directly to neck injury via torn cartilage, muscle, or even spinal column damage. However, small “fender benders” can cause whiplash damage that lingers well passed the time of accident.
Symptoms of Whiplash
If you’ve ever experienced whiplash then you already know some of the most common symptoms. However, here is a more comprehensive list (as verified by medicinenet.com):
- neck pain and stiffness,
- shoulder pain and stiffness,
- jaw pain (temporomandibular joint symptoms),
- arm pain,
- arm weakness,
- visual disturbances,
- ringing in the ears (tinnitus), and
- back pain.
These effects may pass in a matter of minutes, or they may linger for a lifetime. The following list contains a series of effects that can result in lasting damage from whiplash:
- drug dependency,
- post-traumatic stress syndrome,
- sleep disturbance (insomnia),
- social isolation.
The process of recovery for whiplash can be long and slow. For more severe cases, neck surgery can be possible. However, a less invasive option is to institute a series of physical fitness and therapy type drills. These are often designed by physical therapy or sports therapy groups.
Pursuing Legal Compensation
Auto accidents are a common cause for litigation and whiplash is high among the list of common injuries. There is plenty of precedent set for pursuing damages from whiplash, although the commonality of it means there are many instances of fraudulent claims. As such, it is important that you document the details of your accident as thoroughly as possible. You will want to gather all insurance information from the other drivers involved and either document or photograph the scene of the incident before it is moved. Be certain not to discuss medical status with insurance agencies before you’ve had a chance to consult a personal injury attorney. Many lawyers claim they can help with auto accident and whiplash injury, but just like in any field not all are equally qualified. Before settling on an attorney, we recommend using our consultation service. Our job is to provide a free assessment of your situation and connect you with the best attorney in your area. The lawyers in our network are hand filtered and selected due to their quality and consistency of results. They do not pay for special consideration, and we do not pawn off injury victims to the highest bidder. To find the right attorney, fill out our free consultation form today.