Do you think whiplash is not a serious injury? If so, you would not be alone. However, you may change your mind if you suffer a whiplash injury in an auto accident caused by a negligent driver. You could need months or longer of treatments and may suffer with chronic, long-term pain. In Georgia, you may have a legal right to compensation for your injuries from the negligent driver, but you will need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to obtain what you deserve.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a neck injury caused by the forceful and rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck in a blow or impact to the head and neck. When an accident victim suffers a whiplash injury, the force of the impact or blow causes the neck muscles and tendons to stretch and tear. This can result in the victim experiencing pain and limitations in moving his neck—sometimes for years after the crash.
Whiplash is most commonly caused in car accidents and often occurs in a rear-end collision. However, a sports accident, physical assault, or other trauma can also cause whiplash.
What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?
You may not experience any symptoms of whiplash until days or longer after your accident. However, you should still see a doctor within a few days of your crash. This will help document the causal connection between your injury and the car or truck accident and avoid at least some disputes with the insurance adjuster—common in cases where the victim suffers whiplash. Symptoms of whiplash include:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Increased pain when the neck is moved
- Limitations in range of motion
- Headaches that often start at the base of the skull
- Tenderness or pain in the upper arms, back, or shoulders, or numbness in the arms
Treatments You May Need If You Suffer a Whiplash Injury
While some people will recover from a whiplash injury relatively quickly, other accident victims will suffer with pain and limitations for months or years after the crash. The goal of treatment for this condition is to control the pain and to strengthen the tendons and muscles in the neck so that the person can resume his normal activities. Treatments can include the following:
- Ice or heat. Ice or heat may be applied to the injured muscles up to six times a week. This, along with rest, may be sufficient to treat a very mild case of whiplash.
- Medications. While over-the-counter medications may be sufficient for some injuries, some victims could need a prescription painkiller to manage the pain.
- Muscle relaxants. Muscle relaxants can help a person suffering with whiplash to control the pain and to enable him to sleep—a common problem when accident victims suffer whiplash.
- Injections. An injection of lidocaine can be given to enable a person to participate in physical therapy if the discomfort is preventing him from doing so.
- Physical therapy. Physical therapy and exercises to strengthen and stretch the injured muscles and tendons are essential parts of the treatment for whiplash.
- Foam collar. A foam collar can help stabilize a person’s neck, but it is not recommended that a collar be used for more than a few hours a day.
Why You May Have to Fight for the Compensation That You Deserve for a Whiplash Injury
Whiplash is a soft tissue injury, which is harder than other injuries to document. Many insurance adjusters in auto accident cases will discount the level of pain and limitations of activities that whiplash can cause. How can this affect settlement of your claim? You may need to fight longer and harder for the compensation you deserve. Compensation that you may have a right to receive includes past and future medical bills, lost wages and other perks of your job, and pain and suffering.
An experienced car accident attorney can conduct a thorough investigation of your accident and obtain the evidence that you need to prove the seriousness of your injuries. You can also increase the likelihood of obtaining a fair settlement by seeking prompt medical care and following your doctor’s instructions concerning your treatment. This means going to all of your doctor and physical therapy appointments and doing any prescribed exercises at home.
The experienced car accident attorneys at Chris Hudson & Associates are here to answer your questions and explain your legal options if you were the victim of a car accident. To get started contact us online or call us directly at 706.863.6600 to schedule your free consultation.