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According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash is a neck injury caused by rapid back-and-forth movement, like the crack of a whip. The shoulders and upper back can also be affected by this injury. Car accidents and falls are the most common causes of whiplash.
Whiplash typically affects soft tissues in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. In some instances, whiplash causes spinal damage. That’s why it’s so important to get medical care right away. Radiological imaging like x-rays or a CT scan helps determine the extent of damage to your body so your health team can treat you properly.
is the expected lifetime cost to care for someone with a severe spinal cord injury.
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Sometimes whiplash symptoms don’t show up right away. They can take hours or days after the accident to appear. You should tell your doctors about all your symptoms and write down how they progress.
Some common symptoms of whiplash include:
These symptoms may range from mild to severe. If you experience any of them, you should immediately talk to a medical provider.
Whiplash often occurs in motor vehicle accidents, especially in rear-end collisions. However, many accidents can cause whiplash, including:
Whiplash may occur after an injury or incident in which the head is forcefully slammed forward and backward.
Treatment for whiplash depends on the extent and severity of the injury. For minor whiplash symptoms, a doctor might recommend over-the-counter pain medications like Tylenol or Ibuprofen. They could also recommend applying ice to the muscles and soft tissues in the neck, shoulders, and back.
More severe whiplash injuries may need prescription medication for pain and inflammation. Physical therapy can also help address stiffness and the inability to move the head or neck.
In some cases, injections may be necessary to help with severe pain that does not respond to OTC or prescription pills. For whiplash with spinal damage, a doctor may prescribe a neck brace called a cervical collar to stabilize the neck as it heals. All treatment and medical expenses should be documented to increase the potential compensation you can recover.
Most whiplash symptoms subside within a few weeks. Other accident victims suffer from neck pain for months, while some never recover. They continue to have residual neck pain and headaches for the remainder of their lives.
When you suffer whiplash or any injury because of someone’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation. The amount of compensation you can recover depends on your damages.
Any actual money that you lose through medical bills and lost wages make up “economic damages.” Economic damages are documented with invoices and receipts. However, you might need a financial expert or medical professional to estimate damages for future medical treatment.
You are also entitled to compensation for non-monetary damages like pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, and more. These losses are more subjective and can be challenging to prove.
Some insurance companies use a formula involving economic damages to determine an amount of non-economic damages. Other times, experts can estimate the value of non-economic damages.
According to the Spine Research Institute of San Diego, there are three million new whiplash injuries every year in the United States. Nearly half of chronic neck pain experienced by Americans was the result of a car crash.
About 9% of all Americans suffer from ongoing neck pain due to whiplash. Nearly 300,000 of those people will become disabled due to the pain they experience.
Minor neck injuries like whiplash make up about 60% of the permanent impairment claims with insurance companies. That means the injuries aren’t minor after all. The symptoms may be considered mild; however, the continuous pain and inflammation often lead to permanent disability.