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When many people think of car accident-related injuries, whiplash often comes to mind first. The Mayo Clinic defines whiplash as “a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.” It also states that whiplash is commonly caused by rear-end car accidents, and that while it heals within a few weeks for most victims, some people develop chronic neck pain and long-lasting complications.
If you or someone you love suffered whiplash during a car accident, it’s important to know as much as possible about the condition, including what causes it, what complications are associated with it, how to treat it, and whether you can receive compensation for it. In this blog post, we answer those questions and provide important information for anyone who suffered whiplash during a crash.
Whiplash occurs when the head is forcefully jerked backward and then forward, akin to the motion of a cracking whip. This commonly occurs when a vehicle is brought to a sudden stop after impacting something, such as a road barrier or another vehicle, in a collision.
This sudden and rapid movement can strain the neck's muscles, tendons, ligaments, and even the spinal discs. It's essential to recognize that whiplash can happen even at relatively low speeds, and even minor accidents can result in this injury due to the abrupt motion because by the collision.
Symptoms of whiplash can vary in severity, and they may not always show up immediately after an accident. Common signs of whiplash include:
It's crucial to seek medical attention promptly if you experience any of these symptoms following a car accident, as early diagnosis and treatment can lead to better outcomes.
When you visit a healthcare professional for whiplash symptoms, they will typically conduct a thorough evaluation. This may include a physical examination, imaging tests like X-rays or MRI scans, and a detailed medical history review. These diagnostic tools help determine the extent of the injury and rule out any other potential issues.
The management of whiplash depends on the severity of the injury and individual factors. Common treatment options include:
It's important to follow your doctor’s recommendations for treatment and attend any follow-up appointments for a successful recovery.
The recovery time for whiplash varies from person to person and depends on the injury's severity. While many people experience significant improvement within a few weeks to a few months, others may continue to have symptoms for a more extended period. While symptoms persist, pain and mobility issues may affect victims’ ability to work.
In rare cases, chronic pain and long-term complications may arise. Early intervention and compliance with treatment recommendations can contribute to a more favorable prognosis.
Whiplash victims can receive economic and non-economic damages as compensation for their injuries after car accidents. Common types of damages that whiplash victims may be eligible to receive include:
Victims may receive compensation for past and future medical bills related to their whiplash injuries, including doctor visits, hospital stays, surgery, prescription medications, physical therapy, and diagnostic tests.
Compensation for whiplash often includes any wages or income lost due to the injury, including missed workdays, reduced work hours, or the inability to perform the same job or duties as before the accident.
These non-economic damages are awarded to compensate victims for physical pain, emotional distress, and psychological trauma caused by their whiplash injuries and their effects.
In cases where the at-fault party's conduct was particularly reckless or egregious and the case goes to trial, a jury may award punitive damages as a form of punishment and deterrent. However, punitive damages are relatively rare and usually reserved for extreme cases.
The fact that whiplash is so common after crashes can actually make it more difficult for victims to get compensation for these injuries. That’s because insurance adjusters often believe victims are making up their injuries or exaggerating them, especially if whiplash is their only significant injury. Fortunately, whiplash can be proven with the right evidence and documentation.
If you or someone you love is suffering from whiplash after a crash, you don’t have to accept that the insurance company will be skeptical of your claim or unfairly deny it. The Ohio auto accident attorneys at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy want to help you get the money you deserve, and we know how to build and win your claim. Contact us anytime for a free case review to learn how we can help.
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