What Is Whiplash and How Can It Affect Me?

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If you have ever been involved in a car accident before, you probably already know what whiplash is. If you do not, you have probably still heard of it. Whiplash is one of the most common types of personal injuries people sustain in an auto accident.

Believe it or not, “whiplash” is actually not the correct medical term. In fact, the proper terminology is Whiplash Associated Disorder, or WAD. Because it is so common, most people believe that WAD is never more than a minor injury. In reality, it is often much more than a simple, temporary pain.

WAD even has the potential to result in lifelong issues if it does not get properly treated in time. These issues can negatively affect your quality of life and even your ability to work before your automobile accident.

The longer they go untreated, the worse whiplash-related injuries get. This is something to take especially seriously when considering that not all WAD injuries are made immediately apparent. Because of this, it is vitally important to get to a medical professional as soon as possible following a car accident.

If you have suffered whiplash injuries as a result of another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to seek out legal help and collect compensation for your damages. In this blog post, we will give a brief overview of how to spot whiplash and how to go about filing a personal injury claim.

The Symptoms of Whiplash

Whiplash refers to the impact the body experiences when there is a quick jolt to the neck and shoulders, particularly when the head is continuing to move forward while the rest of the body remains still. The severity of a whiplash injury is greatly influenced by the speed and force involved. Almost all WAD incidents will result in sprains or tears to the ligaments, muscles, and/or tendons of the neck and shoulders.

It may sound contradictory, but seatbelts are actually the reason why whiplash is such a common result of auto accidents. While the passenger’s body is restrained by the seatbelt, the head and neck are free to move around. Most car accidents involve sudden stops, wherein the body stops quickly but the head and neck do not. Whiplash is especially common when you are the victim of a rear-end accident.

What Is Whiplash and How Can It Affect Me?You may not notice any immediate symptoms following a whiplash injury. This is especially true because car accidents tend to make the body produce hormones like cortisol and adrenaline in order to compensate for any pain and shock your body is experiencing. However, this is no reason to skip the doctor. In fact, this makes it even more important to seek out medical help immediately. You want to make sure that you have not suffered any injury, as they may get worse in time.

Once the cortisol and adrenaline subside, you may find yourself finding a variety of whiplash symptoms. These symptoms may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Back, neck, and/or shoulder pain
  • Dizziness and vomiting
  • Ear ringing
  • Impaired vision
  • Jaw pain and soreness

Because WAD involves such critical parts of the body, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident. There is a possibility that you may need an MRI and/or a CT scan in order to fully assess the injuries you have incurred.

Here is the good news: for most people, the worst symptoms do not last more than a few weeks. However, it is not unheard of for victims to feel the effects of whiplash for months or even years after the accident.

According to Mayo Clinic, you may be more likely to experience long-term whiplash pain if your initial symptoms were extreme and onset quickly. Initial symptoms, such as headaches, pain that spread to the arms, and severe neck pain, may also be warning signs of long-term pain to come. Certain demographics are also at risk of being more severely impacted by whiplash. These groups include those who are older in age, those who have pre-existing low back or neck pain, and those who have suffered from whiplash before.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Help With My Whiplash Injury?

If you have suffered whiplash as a result of someone else’s negligence, then you may be entitled to seek out legal help and collect compensation for your damages. Almost all car accidents, especially rear-end accidents, are based upon some form of negligence or unreasonable actions.

According to the case of Northern Pacific Railway v. Adams, negligence is “the omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided upon those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do.” In other words, if the other driver did not take all the proper precautions to prevent the accident, then they have acted negligently towards you.

You may not need to hire a lawyer in order to resolve your personal injury case. Opening a legal case can be demanding of both your time and energy, and you may decide that it is not altogether worth it in the end. However, if your damages are severe, then the choice to pursue may be obvious.

Whether or not you decide to pursue legal action, you should be aware that insurance companies have every reason to minimize your settlement. Regardless of whether or not you were at fault for the accident, every payment to you is a loss to them. For that reason, they will likely initially offer you the smallest possible settlement amount.

Do not feel pressured to take the first settlement offer, but be reasonable with your expectations. It can be difficult to get the true valuation of a personal injury case on your own. There are many deciding factors in flux at any given time, and damages can be both economic and non-economic. For example, how do you quantify emotional pain and suffering? In such a case, a trustworthy attorney may be able to help.

Seeking Legal Help

At Injury Victim Law, we know that recovering from any sort of car accident is difficult. It is even more difficult if you are also recovering from personal injury. That is why we are here to help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to help victims all across the country. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced nationwide car accident attorneys. Let us fight for you.

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