What To Do If You Suffer Whiplash in a Car Accident
Whiplash is typically caused by any sudden movement that forces the neck or head backward and forward, or side-to-side. It can occur during a head-on, side, or rear-end collision. The sudden force of a car accident can cause damage to the spinal cord, muscles, and tissues of the neck, back, and spine.
Whiplash is the most common injury suffered during a car accident, and it can be one of the more serious injuries you can sustain. Unfortunately, it is also the type of injury that many people don’t immediately seek treatment because the symptoms may not appear right after the accident. By the time people find out they suffered whiplash, they have already begun to have complications such as neck pain, stiffness, headaches, pain in the shoulder, arms or back, or tingling in the upper extremities such as the arms and hands.
How to Identify a Whiplash Injury
If you have been in a car accident and haven’t been to the doctor, you should seriously consider consulting with one. Doctors are highly skilled in recognizing the symptoms of whiplash and can educate accident victims in what to look for. Common whiplash symptoms include:
- Frequent and continuous headaches
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Limited neck motion
- Upper back and shoulder pain
- Mid- and/or lower back pain
- Arm pain (one or both arms)
- Muscles that are tight and tender
- Numbness or feeling of pins and needles in arms and shoulders
- Vision Problems
- Loss of memory or the inability to concentrate
- Ringing in ears (tinnitus)
- Unexplained fatigue
What many people don’t realize is that it is possible to have whiplash even if you are only suffering from one of the listed symptoms. If you have any of the symptoms listed above, you need to consult with a doctor as soon as possible.
How to Treat a Whiplash Injury
In order for a whiplash diagnosis to be made, it must be done by a doctor. The doctor will likely take X-rays, an MRI, or CT scan to check for: fractures, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, torn cartilage, damage to discs or ligaments, or other damage. Soft tissue damage doesn’t always show up clearly on scans and can be difficult to diagnose with scans alone. That is why it is so important that patients be up front and talk with their doctor(s) about the symptoms they are having.
Based on what the doctor finds, the patient can be referred to a specialist, be given over the counter or prescription meds or a neck or back brace, be placed on a specific exercise regimen or physical therapy, stay out of work for a specified period of time on doctor orders, etc. Sometimes, even with medical treatment, the symptoms may not go away for months or years and can even become much worse. It is always a good idea to see a doctor immediately after being in a car accident to make sure that you don’t have any lasting injuries you don’t know about. If you do have injuries and don’t get them taken care of, it is likely you will cause further damage.
When Should You Contact an Attorney?
If you have been in a car accident, you should consider consulting with a reputable car accident personal injury attorney. The sooner an accident is investigated, the better the chance of obtaining all pertinent evidence and proving who is at fault. A car accident personal injury attorney can help you in many ways, such as.
- Protecting your rights and offering sound legal advice.
- Investigating to find witnesses and gathering important accident scene details.
- Finding who was responsible for, and negligent, in the accident.
- Helping you find the best doctors for your injuries.
- Pursuing a personal injury case.
- Representing your interests during negotiations with an insurance company
- Obtaining a fair settlement for your injuries.
Insurance companies often don’t play fair when accepting responsibility for accidents. They know that an injured person who is not represented by a personal injury lawyer won’t get as large a settlement as one who is. M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers is a highly experienced personal injury firm that understands the role that personal injury lawyers play in the settlement process. Our goal is to: investigate the accident and obtain all the information available; help you understand your legal rights, and assess the true value of your injuries, and get you the best possible settlement. Give us a call and let us help you with your car accident personal injury case.