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What You Should Know About Whiplash

Posted on in Car Accidents

Rockford car accident attorneyOf all the car accident injuries, whiplash is, by far, the most commonly reported in the United States. In fact, recent statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicate that some 66 percent of all claimants file an injury related to the neck, and over 800,000 whiplash injuries have been reported over the last 12 years. What can accident victims with whiplash expect after a crash, and what kind of compensation might they be entitled to receive? It is important to understand the dangers of this condition and what can be done about it.

What is Whiplash?

A soft tissue injury that involves the tendons, ligaments, and surrounding tissues of the neck, whiplash occurs when the head is suddenly and violently thrust backward, and then forward. It might sound as though it takes a high-speed crash to create this type of motion. However, whiplash is often seen in even low-speed crashes (perhaps as little as six miles per hour, if going by the cut-off limits in the UK). There is also a common misconception that whiplash occurs only in rear-end crashes, but front-on collision victims are also at risk.

Recognizing the Symptoms

Though the pain of whiplash may not show up immediately after the accident, victims are likely to notice symptoms in the coming hours, days, or weeks after an accident. Often hard to ignore, and typically far more painful than just a simple ache, these symptoms can include:

  • Decreased range of motion;
  • Tightness, knotting, or hard areas in the neck;
  • Pain or stiffness when trying to move the head forward, backward, or side-to-side;
  • Pain or stiffness when trying to twist the head or look over the shoulder;
  • Tenderness in the neck and surrounding areas; and
  • Persistent, chronic, or recurring headaches that start at the base of the skull.

Prognosis and Treatment

Most often, symptoms of whiplash do heal on their own. However, some victims develop chronic or long-term whiplash, which can hinder their ability to work or complete certain daily tasks (i.e. caring for children). In these instances – as well as those that do not involve chronic whiplash – it is important to seek treatment and an official diagnosis, since these may be needed for effective healing and as proof in an insurance claim.

Treatment options may include:

  • Ice to the painful areas (15 minute intervals);
  • Pain medications prescribed or recommended by a doctor;
  • A neck brace or collar to limit movement during the early stages of the healing process;
  • Moist heat to the area after two to three days of icing;
  • Massage;
  • Physical therapy; and
  • Ultrasound.

Obtaining Compensation for Your Losses

If you or someone you love has suffered a whiplash injury in an automobile accident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, future treatments, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Just keep in mind that time is of the essence. As such, it is recommended that all victims contact a skilled attorney for help with their claim.

At Mannarino & Brasfield, A Division of KJS, our experienced Winnebago County personal injury attorneys are equipped to provide the guidance you need when you have been hurt in an auto accident. Call 815-215-7561 for a free consultation today.

 

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/neck-strain-whiplash#1-2

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/neck-injury/qanda

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/298630/6mph-the-whiplash-limit

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