Neck injuries can be both painful in the short term and debilitating over the long run. Very often, people who are involved in car crashes experience a neck injury commonly known as “whiplash.” Whiplash injuries occur when a person’s head and neck are pushed forward and then very quickly snapped back – similar to the motion of a cracking whip.
While rear-end collisions frequently are the cause of whiplash injuries, a side impact or T-bone collision can also leave victims with painful neck injuries (see also: spinal injury). Because whiplash damage is to soft tissue and isn’t visible to the naked eye, a victim’s complaints may be met with skepticism – especially from insurance company adjusters who are trying to minimize their pay-out. If you have been in a car accident in Baltimore or elsewhere in Maryland, you may need the experience and determination of Steve Heisler, The Injury Lawyer, to obtain the compensation you need and deserve. Don’t just assume the pain will go away – call (410) 625-4878 today and schedule a no-cost consultation to discuss your accident.
The symptoms of whiplash
Because the application of force is to the neck, as you would expect the most typical symptom of whiplash is pain and spasms of the neck muscles. However, victims of motor vehicle accidents should also be watchful for the following symptoms which may follow a whiplash injury:
- Numbness of the hands, arms or legs
- Headaches that won’t go away or that recur
- Back pain and stiffness
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty concentrating and focusing
- Memory lapses
- Balance issues
- Irritability and moodiness.
Categories of whiplash injuries
Whiplash injuries can be very painful. Even what appears to be a minor fender bender with little vehicle damage can result in neck and back damage or can exacerbate a pre-existing condition. Minor whiplash injuries are considered to be those which cause discomfort but relatively little disruption in a person’s daily life. They usually respond to the application of ice and over-the-counter analgesics and resolve in a matter of hours or months.
Moderate whiplash injuries are those which bother a victim for more than a year and up to two years after the accident. Those who experience this level of whiplash may have to miss work and some family activities and are likely to have bills for doctor’s visits, medication, and physical therapy.
Some motor vehicle accidents cause severe whiplash injuries — those causing problems for more than two full years. Some are permanent injuries from which the victim will never totally recover. Even though whiplash injuries are rarely fatal, they can nevertheless have catastrophic consequences for the injured individual as well as for his or her family. There may be paralysis, a need for continuing medical attention and in-home assistance, loss of income and a reduced quality of life.
Although some car accident victims know right away that they have sustained whiplash, many don’t develop symptoms for days or weeks. Therefore, it is imperative that anyone involved in a collision should seek medical evaluation – even if the accident seems to be minor one because there is no serious damage to the vehicles. A medical professional will know how to test your reflexes and range of motion, to prescribe medication or physical therapy, and to monitor your progress over time.
Because whiplash is a soft-tissue injury, it won’t show up on an X-ray so a physician will look to other techniques to diagnose it. A CT scan and/or MRI may be ordered to provide detailed images of the organs and soft tissue structures of the body. If the doctor suspects a spinal fracture or dislocation, an X-ray may be performed to make this diagnosis.
Any time you have been in a car accident and the responders offer medical transport, you should take them up on it. At the very least, contact your own doctor and make an appointment for an evaluation before you attempt to come to a settlement with the insurance company.
Whiplash treatment typically begins with over-the-counter pain relievers and ice packs. If these measures do not provide relief, prescription muscle relaxants and pain medications may be necessary. The doctor may suggest temporary immobilization of the neck with a cervical collar or prescribe a period of physical therapy or specific exercises. Some people find relief through acupuncture treatments and chiropractic therapy.
Help from The Injury Lawyer
Call Steve Heisler after a motor vehicle crash in Maryland or the District of Columbia. But don’t wait too long! Not only is there a statute of limitations (or deadline) for personal injury claims, the sooner you consult with Steve about your accident, the sooner you will feel relief from the anxiety of dealing with insurance adjusters and financial pressures. Use your energies to recover from your injuries and let Steve Heisler, The Injury Lawyer, shoulder the rest of the burden. Call (410) 625-4878 today.