Car accidents are extremely stressful events regardless of their severity. They’re also unfortunately very common. Each year in the US, there are approximately 37,000 fatal crashes. These numbers are already chilling, but there are also an additional 2.35 million citizens who are injured annually due to car accidents.
Among the most common of these injuries is whiplash. This is a painful condition that can lead to spine, nerve, or even brain injuries. To make matters worse, the symptoms can also have delayed appearances. It’s always important to seek immediate medical treatment following any car accident, but knowing how to recognize whiplash can be useful in preventing it from worsening over time.
Causes and symptoms
Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a rapid and forceful back and forth movement of the head (a movement compared to the cracking of a whip). The most common cause is a rear-end car collision, but it can also be caused by sports injuries or other sources on occasion. Younger people, women, and those with a history of neck pain tend to be more susceptible to whiplash.
Symptoms typically appear within 24 hours, although in rare occasions they can be delayed.
The most common symptoms are neck pain, decreased range of motion in the neck, headaches, and dizziness. Blurred vision or ringing in the ears are more severe symptoms. While these symptoms normally start to go away within a few days, there are rare cases where pain can persist for over a year. These extreme cases are more likely to occur if you’re older or if you’ve had whiplash before. Even if you’ve already been examined after an accident, you should immediately return to the doctor if you’re experiencing delayed neck pain.
Whiplash treatment depends on the severity of the injury, but the general goals are always to reduce pain, restore range of movement, and return the patient to their normal routines. In most cases, this involves a combination of exercises and pain management techniques. Exercises typically include head rotations and muscle stretches, and pain management involves resting, applying heat or cold to the injury, and taking pain-relieving medication.
Cases with ongoing injuries require more advanced treatment. These cases may involve physical therapy or injections of numbing medication to the affected area. Some doctors may recommend the patient wear a foam collar, particularly if it helps them sleep, although these usually aren’t recommended for long periods of time, as keeping the neck still for too long can delay recovery. While it’s extremely rare, the worst cases can require surgical treatment.
Making a claim
After the initial diagnosis and the start your treatment process, you may decide you want to file a personal injury claim. This should be especially true in extreme cases. You have a right to get your medical expenses covered after an accident, particularly if you were not at fault, or if the accident was due to someone else’s negligence. Additionally, you deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering while dealing with the injury.
You can certainly try to file a claim on your own, but there’s a decent possibility that it will be declined at first. At this point, you’ll want to seek the services of an office like Avrek Law to help with your case. A professional will know all the specifics and loopholes regarding insurance laws, and they’ll offer your greatest odds for a successful claim. They may even secure a greater payout than you initially thought possible.
While car accidents are traumatic events that can make you feel helpless, it’s imperative to remember that there are always options when dealing with the aftermath.