One of the most common medical issues arising from automobile accidents – including rear end collisions or “fender-benders” – is referred to as “whiplash.” This is the layman’s term for the injuries that can be caused by a sudden, violent extension and retraction (flexion) of the neck. A number of different medical terms may be used to describe the physical presentation of whiplash, including “hyperextension / hyperflexion injury”, “myofascial injury”, “neck sprain or strain”, and “cervical strain or sprain”. These soft-tissue injuries may cause serious physical problems, and can impair your ability to perform work duties or daily activities.
Symptoms of Whiplash
If you have been involved in a rear-end collision or some other incident that could cause whiplash, you should be on the lookout for any signs of a neck injury. Some symptoms that may develop include:
• Neck pain • Neck and shoulder stiffness • Decreased range of motion • Blurry vision • Pain in the shoulders, upper arms, or upper back • Prickling or tingling feelings in arms or hands • Unusual fatigue • Loss of concentration • Headache and/or dizziness
Whiplash is a Valid Medical Condition
Although many people view whiplash as a “fake” injury used by disreputable plaintiffs to obtain more compensation for an accident, in actuality it can result in excruciating pain, stiffness, soreness, and sometimes debilitation. The severity of whiplash symptoms may not be immediately apparent following an accident, so it is imperative that you seek medical treatment immediately if you feel any pain or discomfort, or if you know your neck has been subject to a sharp or sudden flexion. Your physician should look specifically for signs of whiplash during your examination, and note these clearly in your medical records.
In some situations, filing a lawsuit for compensation for a whiplash injury may be the best way to ensure all of your medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages due to your injuries are paid for. In most cases in no-fault states such as Florida, you will have to deal with your own insurance carrier for compensation. In either case, medical documentation of your whiplash symptoms immediately after your accident will be your best ammunition for the legal or bureaucratic battle ahead of you. In fact, it is important that the first disclosure of whiplash indicators come from a physician, because insurance adjusters and juries alike are prone to look at whiplash cases with suspicion.
Receiving Compensation for Your Injuries
You may incur many expenses and losses due to whiplash injuries, and you can obtain reimbursement for most of them from your insurance company if you clearly and thoroughly document every expense related to both treatment and rehabilitation. This list may include prescriptions, mileage to and from appointments, lost wages, medical bills, x-rays, and even insurance co-pays. If you keep complete records for all of these expenses, your insurance adjuster will be able to get more money for you, and get it to you more quickly. You may want to engage the services of an attorney to help you record and organize your medical and expense information and deal with the often confusing and frustrating paperwork required.