There’s no such thing as a good car accident, but some people are lucky to walk away from a collision with only minor injuries. At least, that may be what they think. Whiplash, which is caused when your spine and neck are jerked back and forth suddenly, may not appear right away. When it does, some accident victims figure their aches and pains are normal for any accident victim. However, if left untreated, whiplash can lead to chronic neck pain, vertigo, or even degenerative disc disease.
Aside from the medical concerns linked to whiplash, it’s also important to receive a proper diagnosis for your insurance claim. Treatment costs can quickly pile up depending on the severity of your injury and symptoms. Additionally, whiplash can cause serious pain and interfere with your ability to work. These are damages you can and should include in your claim. Here’s what car accident victims should know about this common injury.
Whiplash Can Happen in Any Type of Accident
Because it’s caused by rapid forward-and-backward motion of the neck, whiplash is seen most often in rear-end and head-on car accidents. However, the forces present in most any accident could cause this type of injury if certain circumstances align.
If you are experiencing symptoms you think might be whiplash, don’t count out the possibility just because you weren’t in a rear-end collision. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to head and neck injuries. Additionally, even if the final diagnosis isn’t whiplash, assessment and diagnosis are the first steps in pursuing the treatment you need to heal fully.
Symptoms Go Beyond Neck Pain
Most of us associate whiplash with pain and stiffness in the neck—and these are 2 of the condition’s major symptoms. However, the pain rarely stays confined to one area. Whiplash victims might also experience:
- Pain that worsens with neck movement
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Headaches, specifically ones that start at the base of the skull
- Tenderness or pain in shoulders, upper back, and/or arms
- Tingling and/or numbness down the arms
After a whiplash injury, you are likely experiencing minor nerve damage, which can account for unpleasant sensations in the injured area and the body parts the damaged nerves lead to.
On the other hand, some patients have symptoms that don’t have much to do with the neck, arms, or shoulders at all. Whiplash can also cause:
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Difficulty sleeping
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Moodiness and irritability
These symptoms might also be the sign of a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). Needless to say, you should reach out to a doctor if you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms after a car accident.
Whiplash Doesn’t Always Show Up Right Away
Some patients may start to feel soreness associated with whiplash the day of their accident. For others, days or even weeks may pass before symptoms appear. Therefore, even if you’ve put the collision in your rearview mirror, you should stay vigilant for the signs of injury.
As much as you might like to resolve your accident case right away, it’s important to give your body time to react to the trauma so you know your settlement will account for all the damages you’re facing, not just those you noticed at the scene. Instead of accepting a quick settlement offer, we advise you to reach out to an attorney for advice on how to make sure your needs are met.
If You’ve Been in an Accident, You Should See a Doctor
This is one of the top pieces of advice our team gives accident victims who reach out to us for help, and it will always be true. Whiplash isn’t the only condition that may have a delayed onset. A clinician who works with car accident victims will be able to test for a variety of common injuries. Additionally, symptoms you think are from whiplash could actually indicate a dislocation or fracture in your spine. The more serious an injury, the more important it is to catch it quickly.
Having a proper diagnosis and complete medical record is essential to a successful accident claim. An insurance adjuster won’t award money to someone who comes to them with a vague complaint of headaches; they’ll argue your pain is connected to some other factor in your life. When you have a professional diagnosis and/or tests proving you were injured in a certain way and therefore will need certain treatment, an insurance adjuster will find it much harder to deny you the settlement you deserve.
Make the Most of Your Whiplash Claim with Our Help
If you’ve sustained whiplash in an accident, having financial support for missed work, treatment, and other challenges can help you find stability in a difficult time. After being injured by a negligent driver, you are legally entitled to recover compensation for your damages. Our team can help you understand your rights and get the process started.
We’ve helped thousands of injury victims maximize their claims so they could access the help they needed to get back on their feet. If you’ve been in an accident, we are here to help you as well. Whether you’re facing whiplash, herniated disks, brain injury, or other painful injuries, reach out to Simeone & Miller, LLP for a free consultation.