Whiplash: The name doesn’t quite convey at first glance what this painful and life-altering injury actually is. When a victim suffers a motor vehicle, truck, or motorcycle-related accident, it’s one of the most common and potentially severe injuries. However, it is often dismissed as minor while the reality of its seriousness is overlooked.
Over the course of this article we will provide an in-depth discussion about whiplash injuries and how, while all too often dismissed, are some of the most severe a victim can suffer after an accident.
After a motor vehicle-related accident, a victim may be treated on the scene for severe injuries and then transported to an emergency room by EMTs. The hospital will then treat the victim for the most serious injuries first: internal bleeding, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and broken bones. If required, medical professionals will stitch up any open wounds and most likely keep the patient under observation to avoid any severe complications if the injuries didn’t appear life-threatening at first. This is standard protocol after a motor vehicle accident.
Sometimes a victim at the scene of an accident will “feel perfectly fine” after being tended to at the scene of the accident. They may be shaken up, scared, have bumps and bruises, but insist they do not require any medical attention beyond being looked over by EMTs on the scene. When this happens, victims are at-risk for injuries they didn’t even know they sustained during the accident.
So, what is whiplash, exactly?
What causes whiplash?
Whiplash occurs when the head and neck are moved rapidly back-and-forth during a car accident. This is often a result of the impact when a motor-vehicle collides with another vehicle or object on the road. The force causes the neck to sustain a back-forth-motion too quickly. This can result in permanent injury and chronic, widespread pain for the victim.
Whiplash symptoms mimic those of other injuries, can be equally as serious
The symptoms of whiplash are widespread and are often not associated with whiplash at first. They are commonly found in other injuries (spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury) sustained in a motor vehicle accident and can be overlooked by EMTs and other medical professionals if they are unaware of the severity that a whiplash injury can cause a victim.
Sometimes, the symptoms of whiplash can mimic those of a concussion. Hospitals are very diligent in keeping any patients suspected of a concussion for observation. When a patient with a concussion (or suspected of having a concussion) is discharged from the hospital, they are sent home with instructions on what to do post-concussion. It is important for patients to follow this medical information to the letter, as concussions left untreated can result in life-threatening traumatic brain injuries.
The list of severe symptoms found in victims suffering whiplash injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Trouble focusing on everyday tasks
- Pain in hands or arms
- Numbness or tingling in hands or arms (or both)
- Severe headaches; migraines
- Lower back (lumber spine) pain
- Sleep disruption (insomnia)
- Pain, stiffness in neck
- Severe pain between shoulder blades
- Cervical spine pain
Recovery after whiplash injury is painful, not impossible, but chronic pain may be permanent
A great many people will recover from this type of injury and have no recurring symptoms if treated properly. However, thousands of people every year suffer the chronic, widespread pain of post-whiplash injuries. After an accident, victims who suffer chronic neck, back, and shoulder pain may find themselves suddenly limited in what they are able to do on a daily basis. Once active, athletic people may find themselves unable to run or play a sport they once loved, such as tennis, due to the hand and arm pain they sustained.
It’s for these reasons that retaining legal counsel to pursue a victim’s right to compensation after an accident that causes permanent pain and suffering due to the symptoms of whiplash is of utmost importance. The medical expense that a victim can incur while attempting to find treatment for their pain can cause a great deal of debt and financial injury on top of the physical injury.
An attorney with experience in fighting for the rights of their clients that suffer from chronic pain after an accident is a must. Victims are entitled to compensation for lifelong pain when they sustain injuries in an accident caused by reckless or careless drivers on the road. An experienced attorney will know what steps to take and what actions need to be filed in order to obtain the maximum compensation for their injured client.
What the insurance companies hide from victims can add insult to serious injury
Often, insurance companies want victims who sustained whiplash injuries to believe they have no legal recourse. The injury is “invisible”, and therefore how can it be proven in a court of law? That’s where your experienced board certified civil trial attorney comes in. Your attorney should have experience protecting their clients from insurance companies who don’t want to pay out, even though the victim is suffering, in pain, and entitled to compensation.
The truth of the matter is that whiplash holds weight in a court of law, with the help of experienced legal counsel. An attorney who can prove the severity of what amounts to lifelong chronic pain for a victim will be able to obtain the compensation that client deserves.