The fact of the matter is that both minor and major car accidents can lead to injuries. Property damage is not indicative of the injuries occupants suffer. While many people attribute significant property damage to injuries, that is not always the result.
You can suffer a whiplash injury from a car accident with no damage.
How Do You Get Whiplash from a Car Accident?
According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash describes a neck injury caused by rapid and forceful back-and-forth neck movement where there is hyperflexion and hyperextension. The soft tissue around the cervical spine is affected. Most often, these injuries happen in rear-end collisions and minor fender benders.
Sudden stops can also contribute to whiplash injuries because they put pressure on the neck.
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What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?
Whiplash symptoms vary but often include headaches, neck pain, and stiffness. Victims will also experience fatigue, sharp pain when moving the neck, loss of range of neck motion, shoulder pain, and dizziness. Numbness and tingling in the arms are also prevalent in whiplash injuries.
Less common symptoms in severe whiplash cases are blurry vision, memory issues, poor sleep, concentration problems, and ringing in the ears. Whiplash sufferers can also experience anger, irritability, depression, and anxiety.
When Is It Time to See a Doctor After a Whiplash Injury?
Immediately upon the onset of neck pain or other whiplash symptoms, victims must seek medical attention. Since the symptoms delay appearing, it can take several days before victims get treatment, but it is vital to see a doctor when the first symptoms appear. Doctors must rule out other injuries that can make the condition worse.
It is also essential to get prompt medical attention to attribute the damage to the car accident through documentation.
How Are Whiplash Injuries Diagnosed?
Diagnosing whiplash is challenging, and many victims do not obtain a proper diagnosis because they think these are typical symptoms after a car accident. Medical professionals will order tests, including MRIs, X-rays, and CT scans. These images will help them come to a diagnosis for your injury.
How Long After a Car Accident Does Whiplash Occur?
Whiplash and soft tissue injuries can appear days after the accident when many victims feel pain-free. Some symptoms appear within 24 hours after the accident, while others take 72 hours. As days pass, the injury and pain will get worse.
What Treatments Are Available for Whiplash Injuries?
Treatment will vary by the severity of the whiplash but include pain medication, heat, ice, rest, and exercise. Treatment will last a few weeks or until symptoms subside unless complications lead to long-term pain. Physical therapy will help increase the range of motion in the neck, and if possible, whiplash victims should avoid straining their necks.
Whiplash victims must wear a neck brace to support and heal the neck. Massages are also an excellent treatment option.
Will the Lack of Property Damage Affect the Insurance Claim?
The insurance company will harp on the lack of property damage to argue that your injuries are minor or nonexistent. They will state that the force was so small it could not cause significant damage. The human body differs from a vehicle. Lack of property damage does not exempt victims from filing claims.
The extent of the injuries and how they impact the person’s life are indicators of what compensation victims can obtain.
What Compensation Is Available After a Minor Car Accident?
Compensation is contingent on injuries, not on whether the accident is major or minor. Accident victims can recover payment for medical expenses, lost income, vehicle damage, physical therapy and rehabilitation, emotional distress, pain, and suffering. Medication expenses and out-of-pocket costs are also included when requesting compensation.
If the whiplash injury has long-lasting impacts, a whiplash lawyer must consider future medical treatment.
What Complications Do Whiplash Injuries Have?
While many whiplash injuries resolve within a few weeks, some victims can suffer complications leading to months or years of pain. Some indicators of difficulty are pain that spreads to the arms, severe neck pain, and limited range of motion. Several risk factors can indicate the likelihood of complications, such as older age, existing back or neck pain, high-speed collisions, and having whiplash injuries in the past.
Do Low-Speed Collisions Cause Whiplash?
Yes, low-speed collisions can cause whiplash injuries. Car accidents that happen at 15 mph or less can lead to whiplash. When a car jumps in front of a vehicle, it makes the driver stop abruptly and can cause their neck to whip back and forth, leading to an injury.
Insurance companies are keen on ignoring low-speed or minor accidents and considering them inconsequential, but they are also life-altering.
How Long Do Whiplash Injuries Last?
With proper treatment, whiplash injuries can heal within a few weeks. However, some victims will have chronic neck pain and long-term difficulties. Severe whiplash injuries can also lead to brain damage like Chiari malformation, which impacts the brain tissue.
Researchers must continue to study the links between whiplash and brain injuries to provide information on how long these injuries can last.
How Does Having a Pre-Existing Condition Affect Your Whiplash Claim?
Spines are susceptible to injuries, and having pre-existing conditions does not prevent whiplash victims from seeking compensation. Many insurance companies will harp on preexisting conditions to deny or lower claims, but the law is not in their favor. Car accident victims can recover compensation for injuries they suffer or are exacerbated by a collision. Insurance companies must accept responsibility for an injury worsening from the negligent actions of their insurer.
Can Whiplash Result in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Yes, a whiplash injury can lead to a personal injury case following a car accident. A mistake to avoid is handling the claim independently instead of speaking with a whiplash injury lawyer. When another driver or entity is the cause of a whiplash injury, victims can seek compensation through a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
File an insurance claim, save all medical records associated with the whiplash injury, and consult with a local whiplash injury attorney. Call the office of John Foy & Associates to schedule a free consultation today.