Whiplash, also referred to as a neck strain or sprain, is the most frequently reported injury in U.S. insurance claims and a common injury in auto accidents. If you sustained a whiplash injury your health and recovery should be your first priority. Rely on the Kelly Law Team to fight for you and get you the compensation you deserve.
What is a Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash is an injury to the neck caused by “forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.” Symptoms of whiplash may include:
- neck pain and stiffness
- increased pain with neck movement
- decreased range of motion in the neck
- tingling or numbness in the arms
- pain or tenderness in the shoulders, upper back or arms
People may also experience blurred vision, ringing in the ears, sleep disturbances, irritability, difficulty concentrating, memory problems or depression.
To diagnose your injury, a physician will complete a physical exam and may use imaging tests. An x-ray of the neck identifies fractures, dislocation or arthritis. A CT scan shows bone damage. An MRI detects soft tissue injuries, like damage to the spinal cord, disks or ligaments.
Treatment varies depending on the severity of the injury, but will usually focus on pain control, restoring range of motion and helping you return to normal activities of daily living. Pain medication (over-the-counter or prescription) and physical therapy are common treatments. A doctor may also recommend rest, heat or cold, muscle relaxants or lidocaine injections.
While many people recover within a few weeks, some people may experience chronic neck pain and long-lasting complications for months or years.
How Car Accidents Cause Whiplash Injury
Whiplash is a common injury in rear-end accidents, but it can happen in any auto accident. When your car is struck from behind, the seatback pushes against your torso and propels it forward. If there is not a proper head restraint in place, your head lags behind your torso and is quickly and forcefully thrown backward and then forward, which can cause injury to your spine, disks, ligaments, muscles and nerves in your neck.
What Damages Can I Recover?
Depending on the circumstances of the accident and extent of your injuries, your may be entitled to recover the costs of past and future medical treatments, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of future earnings and damages for emotional distress. A skilled Phoenix accident attorney is best equipped to advise you on your options, including what parties may be liable and how best to maximize your recovery.
One of the best ways to strengthen your claim for damages, and to ensure a full or maximum health recovery, is to follow through on all medical treatments recommended by your providers. Skipping physical therapy appointments or disregarding advice to seek a particular test or treatment will not only inhibit your recovery but undermine your claim for monetary damages.
Medical records are crucial to show your diagnoses, treatments and progression of your injury. However, your own experiences are also critical. Keep a record or journal of your symptoms and document specific instances where your injury prohibited you from taking part in activities that you enjoyed prior to the accident. Recording your pain levels and how you treated your pain is also an excellent way to show the extent of your pain and suffering. Memories fade but documenting your symptoms on a regular basis will help to combat any arguments that your recollections are unreliable.
The Real Purpose of Headrests
Did you know that a headrest, properly called a head restraint, is not there for your comfort? A head restraint is actually a safety feature meant to provide support to your head in the event of a collision. The best way to prevent whiplash is to correctly position the head restraint. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, your head restraint should be high enough to support your head and even with the top of your head. If it does not reach the top of your head, put the restraint as high as it will go. The distance from the back of the head to the restraint should be as small as possible, so if your head restraint does not allow for horizontal adjustments, you may need to adjust the recline of your seat.
Whiplash injuries can be painful and disrupt your life, but the Kelly Law Team is here to help you recover compensation for your injuries. Call now for a free consultation at 602-283-4122.