Posted on Monday, June 18th, 2018 at 8:09 pm
Whiplash is one of the most common non-life threatening injuries caused by a vehicle accident. It is typically an injury that is caused by an abrupt rear-end or head-on crash. One of the features of whiplash is that symptoms may not surface for several days after the actual accident and some people who find that they are suffering from whiplash symptoms may not know that it is not too late for them to sue the driver who hit them.
Causes of whiplash
Whiplash is typically an injury that affects the ligaments, joints and muscles of the neck and upper back. The name comes from the way in which the injury is caused. When a vehicle, especially a smaller vehicle, is hit from the rear, the occupants’ heads are jerked forwards suddenly as a result of inertia. The sudden forward jerking is swiftly followed by a backwards movement. A head-on collision will reverse the direction of the movements, but the end result is similar. It may also be worth noting here that head-on collisions can often be far worse than rear end collisions because of the relative speeds of the two vehicles colliding. That means that whiplash after a head-on collision may be only one of a number of other potentially more serious injuries, while it may be the major injury in a rear end collision.
The actual muscles, ligaments and joints undergo extreme degrees of strain and this puts a lot of stress on these organs and tissues. Sprain and strain injuries of this type are often eventually very painful without medication and treatment because it is almost impossible to keep the neck completely still. It can sometimes feel that every movement of the body exacerbates the pain.
Diagnosis of whiplash
Personal injury attorneys always recommend getting yourself checked by a doctor after any kind of car accident, even if you don’t think you have been injured. Whiplash, as an injury, may not reveal the damage that has been done to your neck until well after the actual accident. Sometimes, the shock of the accident and concern and confusion over the damage to your vehicle and what might have happened can obscure the symptoms.
You should certainly see a doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms after a rear end or head on crash:
- neck, upper back, arm or shoulder pain;
- swelling of the neck muscles;
- difficulty in focusing;
- muscle spasms.
If the doctor is concerned and suspects whiplash, or more serious damage to your joints, such as a herniated disc, or nerves, he or she will recommend further tests. This may include CT scans, MRI scans, x-rays and EMG / neurological analysis to eliminate the possibility of anything more serious than whiplash itself. This all costs money, of course.
Treatment for whiplash
When whiplash is diagnosed early on and a treatment program devised, it is likely that there will be a full recovery. The length of time for recovery to take place depends on the initial severity of the impact and individual circumstances. In a small number of cases, the condition may become chronic and last for several months, but usually it lasts for days or weeks, not months. While being treated, the pain may prevent the person from going back to work normally and this may be a reason, besides the cost of treatment, for seeking compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
Typical treatment for whiplash includes injections, medication and physical therapy. Surgery is very rarely needed for whiplash. Injections are usually used to reduce inflammation and pain; medication is mostly of painkillers while pain persists; physical therapy is used to restore spinal posture and the range of motion by the injured party’s neck and upper back.
Suing a driver who has caused you to suffer whiplash
Texas personal injury laws allow you to file a personal injury lawsuit within three years of an injury caused by a negligent driver. However, because all personal injury claims depend on clear evidence of negligence to be proven for their success, the sooner you initiate a claim the better, as evidence of negligence will be easier to find. Whatever the circumstances, don’t hesitate after a rear end or head-on collision anywhere around or in McAllen. Make an appointment with a car accident attorney at the Patino Law Firm in McAllen, TX by ringing 956-631-3535.