Whiplash is a common car accident injury that is caused by the abrupt and violent movement of the head and neck. It is a potentially serious injury that often leaves victims with significant medical bills, missed time from work, and other damages.
When victims suffer whiplash in a car accident due to the negligence of other parties, they have the right to seek compensation for their losses. Having legal counsel is essential to winning the amount you need for your whiplash injuries. Our Greenville, SC car accident attorneys at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. are ready to serve you.
How Does a Crash Cause Whiplash?
During a car crash, the force of the impact is transferred to the occupants of the vehicle.
Although an individual’s head and neck can be suddenly pushed forward during the accident, the seatbelt will activate to hold the occupant’s torso in place. This effectively creates a movement resembling a whip’s cracking — and so it’s how the name whiplash is derived. All of this places intense pressure on many regions of the body from the shoulders up.
The Mayo Clinic describes whiplash as a neck injury caused by the forceful, sudden, and rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck. It primarily affects the soft tissue in the neck but can also reach the spine, joints, ligaments, and discs between the bones. Whiplash can cause damage to the entire neck area and can even reach the nerves, cervical muscles, arteries, eyes, head, and brain.
Although rear-end collisions are the leading cause of whiplash, any type of car accident can cause it. Higher speeds and larger vehicles involved in the impact, such as trucks, can cause more severe cases of whiplash.
Common Symptoms of Whiplash
Despite how common car accident whiplash is and contrary to what some people believe, this injury is often serious. That doesn’t mean an accident victim will immediately detect the symptoms of whiplash, however. If you have been in a car accident of any kind, even one in which you believe you were not injured, you must see a doctor right away.
Notify your physician if you experience any of the following common signs of whiplash:
- Pain, stiffness, and tenderness in the neck
- Increased pain when turning or moving the head
- Restricted range of neck movement
- Muscle spasms and swelling in the neck region
- Shoulder, back, arm, and jaw pain or tenderness
- Headaches, which may be concentrated at the base of the skull
- Tingling sensation or numbness in the arms
- Ringing in the ears
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty sleeping
- Extreme fatigue
- Concentration and memory issues
- Unusual irritability or mood changes
What Are My Treatment Options?
Doctors typically use an X-ray, MRI, or other imaging tool to diagnose whiplash. Your physician will then recommend a personalized treatment regimen, which may include:
- Ice and massage therapy: Applying ice and massage to the affected regions can reduce swelling and increase blood flow. The combination of these methods may help your body’s natural healing abilities and promote recovery.
- Prescription muscle relaxers: Neck and upper back stiffness are common but often persistent whiplash injuries. Your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxers to reduce the pain and enable you to more freely move your head and neck.
- Anti-inflammatory medication: The swelling and intense pain that victims experience from whiplash are often due to inflammation in the neck and other areas. Anti-inflammatory medicines are common treatments that alleviate the suffering.
- Neck brace or collar: Limiting movement to your head and neck may be essential to helping you heal. A neck brace or collar can stabilize the area so you don’t unintentionally aggravate your whiplash injury.
- Exercise and physical therapy: A doctor or specialist may recommend exercises or physical therapy so you can gradually regain your range of motion. These treatments retrain your body so that moving your head and neck doesn’t trigger pain.
- Surgery: Extreme cases of whiplash could require surgical treatment if the above methods fail to relieve the pain and stiffness. Surgery can repair the damage but requires additional recovery time for proper healing.
Why Is Proper Care So Important?
Although you may be tempted to skip the doctor’s office and get rest at home, you must let a medical professional evaluate your condition and create a specific plan to aid in your recovery.
Failure to seek medical treatment could aggravate the above and other common whiplash symptoms and unnecessarily prolong your suffering.
It may also jeopardize your ability to recover fair compensation. Whiplash from a car accident is often the result of someone’s negligent conduct. But if the at-fault party learns that you chose to delay medical treatment, he or she may try to blame you for making your injuries worse. This puts you on the defensive and makes it more difficult to seek the maximum damages available.
For health and legal reasons, get medical attention for your car accident whiplash as soon as you can. Attend any subsequent appointments that your doctor schedules, take all required medications, and follow all recommended advice.
Available Compensation for Whiplash Injuries
One of the most important services your car accident lawyer will provide is determining the dollar value of your whiplash injury case. This often requires input from an individual known as an expert witness. Expert witnesses are specialists with technical knowledge about a wide variety of subjects, including the future treatments that whiplash victims may need.
Whiplash car accident settlements are common, although if necessary your attorney will take your case to court. Regardless, you may be eligible for such damages as:
- Medical bills, past and present, including physical therapy, surgery, adaptive medical equipment, prescription drugs, and other treatments
- Lost earnings due to time missed recovering from your injuries
- Lost future earnings if your whiplash injuries make it more difficult to work
- Permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
Contact Our Greenville Car Accident Attorney
No one should keep suffering from whiplash because a driver or other individual caused a wreck. Let our car accident attorneys review the facts of your case and help you demand the compensation you deserve. Reach out to David R. Price, Jr., P.A. today.