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Identifying Whiplash Following a Car Accident

Posted in on January 12, 2012

Seeking treatment and compensation after a car accident

The most common injury following a car collision was and is whiplash, an injury to the spine caused by an abrupt jerking motion, which occurs when the neck and head are thrown suddenly backward then forward, or side to side, upon collision impact. Whiplash most commonly occurs following a rear-end car involving sudden breaking, when due to a strong impact, the neck and head are thrown beyond their normal range of motion, causing tissue damage, stretching, and pain to the soft tissue area of the spine. Although, whiplash can also occur due to side collisions (when the head is forcefully tossed side to side); it can also occur from sports injuries or due to a diving accident.

Symptoms of Whiplash

It’s not difficult to identify whiplash is you’ve been the recent victim of a car accident. You will feel the onset of headaches and stiffness in the neck region as well as in the back of the head where you spine connects. Symptoms of whiplash will typically show themselves in the days following a car collision. Victims of car collisions may experience degrees of the following symptoms due to whiplash:

  • Continuous headaches
  • Pain in the shoulders or between shoulder blades
  • Pins and needles in the shoulders and arms
  • Unconsciousness
  • Loss of memory
  • Lack of concentration
  • Arm pain (in one or both arms)
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness or vision problems
  • Tinnitus (ringing ears)
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Tightness and tenderness in muscles
  • Pain in the neck region
  • Decreased motion in the neck
  • Lumbar and back pain

Whiplash diagnosis and treatment

A formal whiplash diagnosis must be made by a doctor, who will first take x-rays, and possibly an MRI, to rule out fractures, spinal injuries, or previous injuries. After fractures or other injuries have been ruled out, the doctor may prescribe a soft collar be worn for protection, as well as physiotherapy or painkillers (or a combination of both) depending on the severity. If the whiplash is minor, your doctor may prescribe icing to reduce inflammation of the muscles, as well as exercises to increase motion and strength to the neck, shoulders, and spine.
The good news is that most patients recover very quickly from whiplash. However, in more severe cases, the strain and symptoms may last for weeks, months, and even years if left untreated, causing related issues like:

1. Loss of motion and inability to perform daily and job duties
2. Lengthy rest periods in order to treat the injury properly
3. Emotional trauma due to injury and loss of income

In these cases, a whiplash victim can seek compensation if the car collision was not their fault.

How can a personal injury lawyer help?

If you have been hurt in a car accident, a personal injury attorney can help by:

  • Reviewing all of your medical records
  • Establishing the impact of injury on the injured party’s financial and emotional condition
  • Deciding if a claim for injury compensation is viable
  • Determining the appropriate type and amount of legal compensation
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Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence
Super Lawyers - Darin Schanker
The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyer
5280 Top Lawyers of Denver