Everyone has heard of whiplash. Most people know it as a neck injury that can happen after a traffic accident. But few people other than medical professionals know what whiplash really entails.
At our Wilmington personal injury law firm, we see a lot of clients suffering from whiplash after a car crash in New Hanover County. It’s surprising how little those clients’ doctors have told them about their injuries. We believe that the more information a client (or a patient!) has, the better she will be able to help herself with medical or legal developments.
“Whiplash” isn’t a medical diagnosis
What the layperson knows as “whiplash” is usually described by health care experts as a hyperflexion or hyperextension injury of the soft tissues in the neck. Sudden violent motion of the head can cause the muscles and bones of the neck to twist beyond their normal range (that’s the “hyperflexion” part) or to stretch out beyond their normal limits before snapping back into place (the “hyperextension” injury). The result is a package of strained muscles and sprained ligaments that can also include damage to joints or discs in the cervical spine.
Although whiplash can be caused by sports injuries, falls, and sudden blows to the head, the most frequent causes are motor vehicle accidents. Any incident that causes a car or motorcycle to come to an abrupt stop can snap the head forward and cause a whiplash injury. Side-impact collisions, front-end crashes, or collisions with stationary objects are most often associated with whiplash.
Symptoms of whiplash may not show up immediately, but typically reveal themselves within a few days of the traumatic event. The most common symptoms are:
- Pain in the neck, shoulders, or back of the head
- Weakness or tingling in the arm and hands
- Sleep disturbances
Less common symptoms can including ringing in the ears, vision disturbances, memory and concentration problems, and emotional changes (especially irritability or depression).
Treatment for whiplash
The majority of whiplash cases resolve themselves over time with gentle medical treatment. However, nearly 20 percent of cases still involve chronic pain two years after the triggering incident. Because whiplash is an umbrella term for a cluster of related injuries, there is no single standard course of treatment. Every patient will receive an individualized course of treatment, which may include:
- Medication, including pain relievers or steroid injections
- Wearing a cervical collar
- Physical therapy
- Surgery in rare cases
Getting compensation you need after a whiplash injury
If you or a member of your family has suffered a soft tissue neck injury during an accident attributable to someone else’s negligence, the recovery from that injury can take a long time—and cost a lot of money.
Under the law, you have the right to seek compensation from the person responsible for the injury. He should be held liable for your medical expenses, as well as other losses you have suffered.
The personal injury attorneys at Speaks Law Firm have represented hundreds of North Carolina traffic accident victims with neck and spine injuries. We have an extensive reputation in Wilmington and the surrounding areas for our aggressive pursuit of the maximum available recovery for our clients.
Please call us today at 910-341-7570 or toll-free at 877-593-4233 to schedule a FREE case conference with an experienced personal injury lawyer at our Wilmington office. Just for the call, we’d be glad to send you a copy of our guidebook for clients, The North Carolina Auto Injury Book.