Whiplash is another name for soft tissue damage to the neck. You have probably heard of these injuries in movies and on TV. In fact, these injuries have gotten a bad rap, with many people thinking whiplash is a made-up injury, used to secure an (undeserved) accident settlement. This is simply not true. Whiplash is a real injury, with real symptoms—some that can last for months, even years. In fact, according to chirocareflorida.com, whiplash injuries can cause 50 percent of victims to have long-lasting pain. Further facts regarding whiplash include:
- The average time a whiplash injury prevents the victim from returning to work is almost 8 workweeks.
- There are as many as 3 million new cases of whiplash each year in the U.S., with these injuries occurring five times as often in women than in men, likely due to the smaller neck size of women.
- In three-quarters of patients, whiplash symptoms will last longer than 6 months, while most people require at least 17 weeks to re-stabilize the neck following a whiplash injury.
- Across the globe, 1 in every 100 people suffer from chronic neck pain as a result of an auto accident that caused whiplash.
- Perhaps most alarming, as many as half of all those with a whiplash injury will have chronic neck pain two decades after the original injury.
Whiplash is Not Always Caused by a Rear-End Vehicle Accident
The assumption is that all whiplash injuries are the result of having your vehicle hit from behind by another vehicle. While this certainly is a cause of many whiplash injuries, there are many other ways a whiplash injury can occur. Some of those causes include an injury garnered during contact sports, falling from a horse or a vehicle, or an auto accident where you are struck from the side. Virtually any time the neck is violently jerked forward, then backward in a quick “snapping” motion, whiplash can occur.
How Whiplash Can Change Your Life
Whiplash can cause many health issues that can make it difficult to work and earn a living, not to mention doing your day-to-day tasks and other activities you enjoy. Some of the most common symptoms associated with whiplash include:
- Memory issues
- Inability to concentrate
- Ringing in the ears
- Numbness in the extremities
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Neck stiffness
- Blurry vision
Whiplash is usually diagnosed by completing a physical exam and medical history. Because whiplash is a soft tissue injury, it can rarely be seen on x-rays. MRIs and CT scans may be used to help diagnose whiplash but are unlikely to give a definitive answer.
Treatment for whiplash will depend on the extent of the injury, your age, medical history, overall health, and your tolerance for specific therapies, procedures, or medications. Ice is usually indicated for the first 24 hours, as well as limiting neck movement during that period of time. Following the first 24 hours after the accident, your healthcare provider may recommend one or more of the following: gentle, active movements, NSAIDs and muscle relaxing medications, osteopathic manipulation, and physical therapy.
Filing a Claim for Whiplash Injuries
If your whiplash injury is the result of negligence on the part of another person (like an automobile driver who hit you), then you may want to file a claim to recoup your losses from the accident. If you can prove negligence on the part of the other person, you could be entitled to receive reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages (past, present, and future), and pain and suffering. It is crucial that you speak to an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer to understand your rights associated with your accident and whiplash injury. It is equally important that you do the following:
- Seek medical care for your whiplash injury immediately following the accident. Make sure you carefully follow your doctor’s prescribed treatment plan so you can recover as quickly as possible, minimizing future side effects from your injury. Following your treatment plan will also demonstrate to the insurance company that you have a serious injury and are committed to getting better.
- If you speak to the at-fault party’s insurance company, make sure you stick to the absolute facts of the accident. Never embellish, speculate, or give your own opinion. Refrain from discussing the severity of your injuries or your pain level, or you could inadvertently hurt your chances of obtaining a fair settlement.
- Never admit fault following an accident. Even doing something as simply—and seemingly harmless—as saying “I’m sorry,” can prevent you from receiving the compensation you deserve. If you are asked by the insurance company to undergo a medical exam, refuse. This doctor works directly for the insurance company and is not looking out for your best interests.
- Retain an attorney as quickly as possible so you will not have to deal with the at-fault party’s insurance company at all, rather can focus on healing from your injuries.
If you have suffered a whiplash injury due to another’s negligence, you should definitely file a claim for whiplash to recover your damages. Speak to an experienced personal injury attorney to help you determine the best course of legal action for you!
Contact Our Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers
For years, the Kim Law Team has helped injured car accident victims who suffered whiplash. We know that insurance companies do not take these injuries seriously – but we do. We know the pain you’re in and how much a whiplash injury can derail your life. That’s why we fight aggressively for you during the legal process.
If you suffered whiplash in Atlanta, we can help you pursue maximum compensation. Our law firm offers FREE initial consultations and reviews, so you can get the answers you need – when you need them. Call 404-587-8946 or fill out our confidential contact form. Just call and JUST WIN.