Whiplash is one of those things very few of us expect to be discussing in an accident lawyer’s office. Sure, Hollywood would have us believe that getting whiplash in a car accident is a common occurrence, but the reality is that when people suffer from this kind of an accident, they rarely know what to do! The first thing to understand is what accident related whiplash is.
Understanding Whiplash Caused by an Accident
Whiplash occurs when your body is jarred in one direction, causing your head to move in that direction and then suddenly be pulled in the opposite direction with a great deal of force. In a car accident, the sudden stop of a car causes your head to jerk back and forth, often leading to whiplash. When you have this condition, the soft tissue in your neck, typically the muscles and ligaments, stretch beyond their normal range of motion. This can lead to tearing of the tendons and muscle, which can cause pain and discomfort that lasts a long time.
What Can I Expect if I am in an Accident and Have Whiplash?
Whiplash is one of those conditions, as your lawyer and doctor will tell you, that do not have immediate apparent symptoms. Often, the symptoms from whiplash induced by a car accident can appear 24 hours after the accident has occurred. It is for this reason that we as car accident attorneys tell you not to make any statements about your health at the scene of the collision. Common symptoms of whiplash include neck pain and stiffness, dizziness, blurred vision, headaches that start at the base of the skull, and fatigue.
How Can My Accident Lawyer Tell if I Have Whiplash?
The answer is simply that your accident lawyer cannot tell if you have whiplash, and neither can anyone else at the scene. Since whiplash symptoms can occur much later after the accident, it is important that you seek out medical attention if you have any of the symptoms described above. If you have an accident attorney, one of the first things we will have you do is seek medical attention to ensure that you do not have whiplash caused by the accident.
Your doctor is the only one who can diagnose you with whiplash. When you have been in a car accident, however minor it may seem to you at the time, you should strongly consider seeing a health care provider. From a legal perspective, it is important to get the medical diagnosis quickly, in the event that you want to pursue legal action against the other party.
How is a Case of Accident Related Whiplash Diagnosed?
Your accident attorney will tell you that whiplash cannot be diagnosed at the scene of the accident. The responding technicians, even emergency medical technicians (EMTs), do not have the capacity to diagnose whiplash. In order to diagnose this condition, the doctor whom your accident lawyer will refer you to will need to use special equipment, since regular x-rays cannot see the damage done to the discs in the neck, ligaments, and muscles. Specialized tests like CT Scans and MRIs may be necessary to get an accurate diagnosis.
Should I Talk About Potential Whiplash at the Scene?
As an accident attorney, we know that every court case starts at the scene of the incident. In the case of an accident, both parties have a vested interest in proving the other person wrong. If you are having pain and feel like you may have whiplash, your accident attorney will tell you to seek immediate medical attention. On the other hand, it is imperative that you never make a statement about being fully healthy because quite frankly, you do not know for sure yet. If it turns out that you have whiplash caused by your collision, then your accident attorney will be able to pursue damages. However, if you have made contrary statements at the scene, it may seem like the injuries are contrived, and the lawyer representing the other driver will likely make a big deal about it.
Is the Whiplash I Suffered in an Accident Treatable?
There are many ways doctors treat whiplash. In the past, doctors believed that you had to immobilize the neck after an accident. This is what led to various cervical collar scenes in many accident lawyer movies. While soft neck collars are still used to great effect, there is a current school of thought that believes that motion and movement are the best ways to treat whiplash. Pain medication, injections, ultrasound therapy, massage, traction, and physical therapy are all used, with varying degrees of effectiveness, to treat whiplash caused by an accident.
Can My Accident Attorney Help With the Costs of Treating Accident Related Whiplash?
Medication and medical treatments are expensive. As your car accident lawyer, we want to make sure that your accident related injuries are treated and to help you recover as much of the cost as you possibly can. This makes it imperative if you have been in a car accident that you contact us today.