A whiplash injury is one of the most likely outcomes of a California car accident. If you’re in a car crash, your whiplash injury could range from barely noticeable to extremely painful.
It happens when your head whips back and forth in the impact of a crash, causing your neck to endure a hard, fast snap. Rear-end collisions are a common cause, but almost any car accident can lead to whiplash.
How Common is Whiplash?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have found that up to 75% of car accidents involve some level of whiplash injuries. Notably, this includes slow-moving accidents of less than 15 miles per hour.
There’s often a delayed effect, so you might not even realize at first that you are injured. Your whiplash could take days or even weeks after the accident to be noticeable. This is why a doctor’s thorough evaluation is so important.
Many of the whiplash injuries in the NIH study mentioned above were detected up to 5 weeks after the accident. The physical structure of the neck, spine, and back is such that injuries can happen deep within the body and take time to arise, ultimately causing painful and debilitating symptoms.
Symptoms of Whiplash From Car Accidents
Whiplash has a set of characteristic symptoms that are usually present in people who have endured forceful impacts in car accidents. These symptoms include:
- Limited range of motion
- Worsening pain with movement
- Difficulty turning the head
- Numbness and tingling
In the most severe cases, whiplash also involves persistent arm numbness, neck and shoulder immobility, and migraine-level headaches that interfere with the person’s ability to function. A doctor needs to determine whether a person with severe whiplash might also have other conditions like a concussion or a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Treatment for Whiplash After a Car Accident
The treatment you need for whiplash depends on several factors: the severity of your injury, any other injuries you may have, and your health background. It’s common for a doctor to order diagnostic scans that help them determine your level of injury and course of treatment.
Common medical scans for whiplash are:
- X-rays to find bone fractures and dislocations in the neck
- Computerized tomography (CT) scans to show deep bone damage
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) testing to see soft tissue damage and any deeper damage to the body’s spinal cord, discs in the back, and ligaments.
Your doctor might prescribe painkillers or muscle relaxants that help you deal with the pain. Rest and relaxation are extremely important for whiplash. The neck needs time to heal from the injury without being exposed to overuse that could damage it during the vulnerable healing period.
Physical therapy is sometimes recommended for whiplash, especially when someone is facing a reduced range of motion. If you work at a physical job that requires twisting or heavy lifting, physical therapy could be required to get you back to the physical condition you need for work.
Your whiplash treatment could be covered by your health insurance and/or handled through car accident compensation. If the other person in the crash is at fault, they and their insurance company may owe for part or all of your bills.
How is Fault Determined in a Whiplash Case?
California is a comparative negligence state, which means each person’s fault in the crash will be evaluated and assigned a percentage. The responsibility for the crash, and thus the costs, could be divided between you and the other person or among several people.
Your car accident lawyer can help you establish your case and present the losses you’ve suffered. To secure maximum compensation, you’ll need plenty of convincing evidence including medical bills, witness accounts, photos, videos, debris from the crash, and the police report.
Potential sources of compensation include:
- Existing medical bills for whiplash and other injuries
- Cost of future medical treatment
- Lost wages and earning capacity
- Property losses
- Pain and suffering
Here at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we have compassion for people like you who have been injured in traffic accidents. Contact us for a free consultation about your whiplash injury and we’ll help you understand your options.
We Handle Your Personal Injury Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After an injury, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including car accidents with whiplash. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.
We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.