Whiplash is generally classified as soft tissue damage to the neck that causes stiffness or pain; however, symptoms can be quite severe and cause long-term pain.
According to Dr. Robert Bolash, who was interviewed in 2017 by the Cleveland Clinic, while most neck pain associated with whiplash lessens or stops within 3 days (and is usually completely gone within 3 months), studies suggest that somewhere between 12 and 50 percent of people still have persistent neck pain after a year.
If you have a car accident, it’s a good idea to report it to your insurance company so that any car accident claims filed later are less likely to be denied. But there are a few other things to do to ensure that cases of whiplash are being properly taken care of.
Check out these 3 things you must know about whiplash:
1) Know the symptoms and see a doctor
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH), symptoms of whiplash can be present directly after an auto accident; however, in some cases, neck pain is not present until days later. Therefore, it is always a good idea to see a health care provider to rule out serious injury. This way, if you later require legal action (to fill out a car accident claim to help cover your medical treatment), then you have medical support for your symptoms.
Symptoms of whiplash include:
· Neck pain or stiffness
· Injuries to the muscles/ligaments
· “Abnormal sensations” (like burning or prickling)
· Shoulder or back pain
· Memory loss
· Trouble concentrating
For the best medical treatment, don’t trust review sites that cover a wide range of services such as Yelp. Instead, try doctor ratings and reviews where you can see online ratings and reviews from actual patients. This way you can know where to get the best possible treatment for your health care needs.
Disclaimer: If you believe you’re experiencing a serious injury, ask your doctor about performing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). According to the Mayo Clinic, an MRI can detect bone injuries and certain soft-tissue injuries such as damage to the spinal cord, discs, and ligaments (damages that could cause long-term pain). Plus, this can help your attorney with your personal injury lawsuit.
2) See if you can receive financial compensation
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be able to get your medical bills covered by hiring a personal injury attorney whose specialty is helping people get the costs of their property damage, medical bills, and, in some cases, punitive damages covered through a personal injury lawsuit.
By checking out websites like lawsuitinfocenter.com you can find the best personal injury attorney to discuss your options with. The Lawsuit Info Center is a great place to find out if you’re entitled to a fair settlement for any type of damages you’re suffering from (including if you qualify for financial issues resulting from missing work time because of your injury or if future medical costs will be necessary from the car accident).
After a car accident, it is best to file a car accident claim as soon as possible so that any other claims you put through for medical purposes have validity and so the statute of limitations doesn’t run out. Generally, the statute of limitations takes somewhere between 1-5 years to run out depending on state laws and your auto insurance company.
Bonus tip: If you experienced any injuries that required you to see a dentist (such as a chipped, loose, or lost tooth) be sure to also file for compensation for these damages.
Once the health care and legal issues are resolved following an auto accident that causes whiplash, the only other thing we can do is to prevent it from happening again. According to Consumer Reports, due to federal standards for seat height not being in place yet, many cars made before 2009 don’t offer the proper protection from whiplash injuries. They note how neck sprains and strain are the most common reported auto accident every year and that taller women are at the highest risk for being affected.
They also note that we can prevent whiplash by taking these precautions:
· Always have a head restraint in the car.
· Head restraints should reach as close to the back of your head as possible (at least to the tops of your ears) and should be no more than 3 inches away from touching the back of the head.
· Don’t tailgate.
· Always sit upright.
· If you hear the squeal of tires, brace for impact by putting your head against the head restraint and looking straight ahead.