Whiplash Car Accident Lawyers
Whiplash can be a serious injury with lifelong impacts, and it can be sustained from even low-speed collisions. Whiplash is one of the most common injuries in non-fatal car crashes, and accident-related whiplash affects nearly 850,000 Americans every year.
If you or a loved one has experienced whiplash or other neck injuries due to a vehicle accident, it is important to understand the condition and treatment options and consult with whiplash car accident lawyers to ensure you receive the proper compensation.
What Is Whiplash?
“Whiplash” is the colloquial term for a specific type of neck injury. Medically, it is called “Cervical Acceleration-Deceleration” (CAD), which is the name of the mechanism of injury, and the range of resulting medical symptoms is referred to as “Whiplash-Associated Disorders” (WAD).
Whiplash is the sudden and forceful hyperextension of the cervical spine, followed immediately by sudden hyperflexion. In this type of injury, the lower neck is pulled quickly and sharply rearward and then forward, exceeding its physiological limits and straining the muscles, ligaments, bones, and nerves in the neck and spine.
How Common Is Whiplash?
Whiplash injuries and the associated pain are actually extremely common. An estimated 3 million Americans experience whiplash injuries every year, and that number may be under-reported, as short-term neck pain may resolve itself without medical treatment. Whiplash can be caused by all kinds of activities that put a sudden strain on the neck, including:
- Roller coaster and other amusement park rides
- Sports-related impacts and injuries
- Physical assault
- Headbanging to music
- Vehicle impacts and accidents, including in cars, trucks, airplanes, and other modes of travel
Whiplash is most often caused by vehicle impacts and was originally associated with rail travel before the invention of the automobile. The most common cause of whiplash injuries is rear-end car crashes, but it may be caused by other types of car accidents as well.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Whiplash injuries vary in the degree of severity, and injuries to the nerves and spine may cause a wide range of symptoms. The most common symptoms of whiplash are:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Loss of range of motion in the head or neck
- Headaches, often at the base of the skull
- Pain or tenderness in the shoulders, upper back, or arms
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
Less frequently, whiplash injuries may have more severe physical, mental, and emotional effects, including:
- Blurred vision
- Insomnia or sleep disturbance
- Irritability or low mood
- Difficulty with concentration or short-term memory
The symptoms of whiplash are not always immediately apparent after the injury and may not be felt until days afterward. Because these symptoms are associated with a number of different conditions and injuries, it is important to seek medical care for head and neck pain as soon as possible.
Whiplash is typically diagnosed by excluding other conditions and causes, eliminating more urgent medical diagnoses. The wide variety of symptoms, delay in onset of symptoms, and elimination of other possible diagnoses means that people with whiplash injuries may find it more difficult and time-consuming to receive the correct medical treatment.
Treatments for Whiplash Injuries
The majority of whiplash injuries are minor injuries that will resolve over time, and treatment consists of managing pain while the body heals itself. For most whiplash caused by an auto accident, the best course of treatment is:
- Immobilization. The cervical spine should be supported and kept immobile while inflammation reduces and tissues heal. Patients are often advised to wear a neck brace or supportive device and to avoid exertion during the recovery period.
- Mild pain medications. Over-the-counter pain medications are often used to decrease pain and increase comfort.
- Application of cold and/or heat. Ice packs are often used to cool the neck and spine for the first days after injury. Heat packs may be recommended after that.
Symptoms of whiplash pain and inflammation may often last for up to three months while these moderate remedies are used. However, if whiplash symptoms are not eased and continue for several months, a person is at risk of developing chronic whiplash-associated disorders. Chronic whiplash symptoms may need more intensive treatments, including:
- Physical therapy. Physical and occupational therapy can help restore comfort and range of motion.
- Medications. A physician may recommend injections or oral or topical medications to reduce pain and/or inflammation.
- Surgery. In some whiplash cases, there may be surgical solutions to help repair spinal damage and reduce pain.
Whiplash and its associated symptoms can be complex to diagnose and treat. The specific injuries may be very different, and a patient’s symptoms may present very differently. Most cases of whiplash resolve on their own over time, while some become chronic illnesses. Recovery from whiplash can be a long journey.
Many people suffering from the pain and discomfort of whiplash-associated disorders not only have to advocate for themselves in order to get the treatment they need, but they must also struggle against the stigma of whiplash. Many people find that their whiplash injuries are not taken seriously and are treated as though they are exaggerating their symptoms.
The common misconceptions around whiplash and whiplash-associated disorders can lead to people receiving inadequate medical care and insufficient insurance payments to compensate them for their damages. These factors make whiplash an exceptionally difficult injury to recover from, as it causes psychological as well as physical stress.
How Can Bretz Injury Law Help?
If you or a loved one are suffering from crash-related whiplash, you need experienced whiplash car accident lawyers fighting on your side. Whiplash-associated disorders can be life-changing and take years to recover from. Before accepting a quick settlement, contact Bretz Injury Law for a free case review to make sure that your rights are protected.
Bretz Injury Law has an incredible track record of success, winning more than 98% of our cases and recovering over $300 million for our clients. Whiplash is a complex injury, and you need a Kansas car accident attorney who understands the condition and will look out for your needs. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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