Car accidents are a leading cause of injury in the United States. Every year, there are approximately 6 million car crashes in the US alone. That’s more than 16,000 accidents each and every day. These wrecks can cause a great deal of property damage, injuries and even death. One of the most common types of injuries sustained in an automobile accident is called whiplash. Soft tissue injuries like whiplash can seriously impact a person’s day-to-day life in many ways, so it is important to understand what this type of injury entails from causes, symptoms to medical and chiropractic forms of treatment.
What is whiplash?
To be specific, whiplash refers to a condition where the head and neck have been quickly and violently snapped back and forth in a rapid succession. The force involved in a car accident can force your neck to move beyond it’s normal range of motion, resulting in a painful, debilitating injury. It is called whiplash because your neck cracks back and forth like a whip. Front, head-on collisions and rear-end collisions are the types of accidents which usually can result in these types of injuries.
Whiplash can also be called a neck sprain or neck strain. In these types of injuries, your spine, the discs between the bones in your back, muscles, ligaments and soft tissues can all become injured.
Although the effects of a whiplash injury may not be noticeable right away, the symptoms that follow in the coming days, weeks and months following the accident are likely to cause you a great deal of pain. If you’ve been involved in an automobile accident and you suspect, or you have been formally diagnosed by a doctor with whiplash, you would benefit from understanding as much as you can about your injury.
Seeking medical treatment for a whiplash injury.
If you believe you have sustained this type of injury, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Seeking medical treatment and following your doctor’s orders is absolutely crucial in achieving a full recovery from your injury. It is estimated that roughly 2 million people suffer from whiplash injuries each year in the United States alone.
While car accidents are the leading cause of whiplash in the United States, there are certainly other ways to develop this type of injury. High-impact sports such as gymnastics, football, snowboarding, skiing or boxing can also lead to these types of injuries. Sports injuries are actually the second leading cause of whiplash cases in the US. Other causes for these types of injuries are from slips and falls and physical abuse. For instance, if you’ve been punched or thrown to the ground by another person, you could sustain a whiplash injury under those circumstances as well.
Don’t ignore the symptoms after you’ve been involved in an auto accident.
After you experience a car wreck, your body typically is flooded with adrenaline, which can make symptoms of an injury seem non-existent. Some people won’t experience pain symptoms until hours, days or even weeks after the incident. A later onset of pain shouldn’t indicate a more serious injury, but if you start feeling pain, you absolutely should not ignore it.
Many people who are involved in a minor fender-bender can think they just are a little sore and that the pain will simply just go away after a little time. Unfortunately with a whiplash injury, it doesn’t take a lot of force to overstretch the muscles, ligaments, joints and bones in your neck.
Whiplash injuries can happen from vehicle wrecks at speeds as low as five or ten miles per hour.
The severity of whiplash injuries usually depends on many factors, such as: if you were properly restrained with a seat belt, the direction of the impact, the speed of the impact, your posture at the time of impact and even the position of your seat’s head rest.
Even your awareness of the impact can come into play if you didn’t have the time for your body to tense up as you braced for the impact. People who see the collision coming and brace themselves appropriately, can reduce the risk of an injury considerably. This is partially why passengers are more likely to sustain whiplash injuries, as the driver is generally more likely to be aware of the road and the impending collision.
How long will my whiplash injury take to heal?
With the appropriate medical treatment, most mild whiplash injuries can heal within four to nine months. Unfortunately, more than 20% of more severe cases, patients will continue to suffer from pain, restricted movement and general weakness for up to two years after their accident. A severe whiplash injury can cause some people to suffer with some level of disability for the rest of their lives.
These types of sprains and strains can greatly diminish a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks, until their injury has had the proper level of treatment and time to heal. Many people who suffer from invisible injuries, like whiplash are more likely to attempt to get back to their normal routine faster than those who end up having surgery or are placed in a cast. Ignoring your symptoms in this fashion could make matters worse, so it is extremely important to follow all advice given to you by your doctor. Follow your individualized treatment plan as closely as possible to avoid prolonging your injury. This is an important step that will help improve your chances of a speedy recovery.
How can a personal injury lawyer help me with a whiplash claim?
When you’ve been injured in an auto accident in Idaho, no matter how severe, you will need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to build a claim and help you pay for your immediate medical needs. Since treatment for a whiplash injury can take a long time, it is important to ensure that your needs are going to be met.
We understand how difficult it can be to cope with the physical pain of whiplash and the trauma associated with a car crash. This is why it is essential to get the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, like the ones at Caldwell Law Group. We will help you determine what your claim is worth and we will fight the insurance companies to help you get that amount. We offer a free initial consultation.
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