Whiplash is one of the most common injuries in rear-end car crash. However, individuals suffer whiplash in other types of car accidents, including head-on collisions and side-impact collisions. The dynamics of whiplash do not change even though the type of car crash might be different. The sudden impact from the collision forces the body into a specific motion that can cause severe and traumatic injury to the neck.
How Does Whiplash Occur in a Car Accident?
Whiplash is often dismissed as an over-exaggerated car accident injury used by some individuals to get money after a car crash. However, whiplash is a serious neck injury that can cause chronic pain and limited range of motion. While most cases of whiplash heal within a few weeks or months, some accident victims suffer permanent disabilities from the neck injuries sustained in a car crash.
When a car is struck by another vehicle or collides with a fixed object, the force of the impact can force a passenger’s head to move backward and then forward violently. The sudden, violent motion causes a hyperextension and hyperflexion injury. The hyperextension injury is caused by the backward movement of the neck and head. The hyperflexion injury is caused by the forward “whip” of the head.
As the head is “whipping” backward and forward, the components of the cervical spine can be injured. Tears in the tendons, muscles, and ligaments that support and stabilize the cervical spine are caused by the hyperextension and hyperflexion. Also, damage to the facet joints in the neck may also result from the whiplash movement.
Symptoms of Whiplash
The symptoms of whiplash vary and are closely related to the severity of the whiplash injury. Neck pain and reduced range of motion of the neck are two of the most common symptoms of whiplash. However, individuals may experience other whiplash symptoms including but not limited to:
- Pain that radiates down the arms
- Shoulder and back pain
- Neck stiffness
- Tenderness or pain in the upper back, shoulders, and arms
- Numbness or tingling in the arms
- Blurred vision
- Memory problems
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty with concentration
- Sleep disturbances
In addition to the above symptoms, some individuals with severe whiplash can suffer one or more complications ranging from chronic pain to partial paralysis.
Treatments for Whiplash Caused by a Car Accident
In many cases, whiplash can be treated successfully with time and rest. Applying cold and heat to the neck can also help with the healing process. The goal is to reduce pain and restore full range of motion. Over-the-counter pain medications can help with the pain while a person is healing from a whiplash injury.
However, some cases of whiplash do not heal without additional medical treatment. If whiplash symptoms do not dissipate within a few weeks or grow worse, you should see a physician immediately. Your doctor may perform one or more diagnostic tests to determine the severity of the whiplash injury. X-rays, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and Computerized Tomography (CT) Scans can be used to rule out other injuries that could be causing the neck pain and other symptoms.
Based on the diagnostic tests and a physical examination, your doctor may recommend one or more treatments for whiplash. Treatments may include injections to decrease pain, muscle relaxants, physical therapy, prescription pain medications, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), or a neck brace. In extreme cases, surgical options might be explored if other forms of treatment are unsuccessful.
Filing An Injury Claim for Whiplash Injuries After a Car Accident
Whiplash injuries can result in substantial financial, physical, and emotional damages. Filing an injury claim with the other driver’s insurance provider is the first step in recovering compensation for a whiplash injury. However, some insurance companies tend to dismiss whiplash injury claims as fraudulent or over-exaggerated claims. It is crucial that you document your injury, symptoms, and damages very carefully to increase your chance of recovering a fair settlement for your claim.
A Maryland whiplash injury attorney can help you file an insurance claim seeking compensation for your injury, losses, and damages. It is usually in your best interest to consult with an attorney before talking to the insurance adjuster for the other driver. Insurance companies will use any evidence they can gather to deny or undervalue your whiplash injury claim.
Damages associated with a whiplash injury claim typically include:
- Cost of medical care, including diagnostic tests, medications, physical therapy, and doctor’s bills
- Loss of income, including a loss of earning capacity if you suffer a permanent impairment
- Physical suffering and pain
- Emotional and mental suffering
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
The amount of compensation you may receive for a whiplash injury claim depends on several factors. Our Maryland whiplash injury attorney discusses the value of your claim and other important steps you need to take to protect your legal rights during a free consultation.
Contact a Maryland Whiplash Injury Attorney Now for a Free Case Review
Contact Pinder Plotkin LLC at 410-661-9440 for a free consultation with a Parkville whiplash attorney.