What is a Whiplash?
Whiplash is mostly associated with car accidents in which the rear end of the car is impacted. It can also occur when a person falls from a distance, such as off a horse. Other ways that whiplash occurs are through roller coaster experiences or the playing of sports. This type of injury affects the neck and spine of the affected individual. When the impact occurs, the head and neck are thrown forward suddenly and then retract to its original position. This causes stresses to the neck of the individual, causing an injury to occur, which can have longer term effects than the immediate pain which is felt. The individual may experience dull or sharp pains in the back of the neck which are not caused by fractures. With the realization that whiplash is cited in a high percentage of car accidents, there have been initiatives to redesign the car seat to make whiplash less likely. None have shown significant improvements, however.
The consequences of whiplash depend largely on its severity. Whiplash that is mild can impair a person for a short period of time. More severe cases of whiplash indicate that the individual will experience a decreased range of motion of the head and neck with long-term pain associated with it. Currently there are few medicinal or therapeutic means available to alleviate whiplash beyond anti-inflammatory analgesics and short-term physical therapy which dictates that the individual get back to a regular physical activity level as soon as possible. This is to avoid limiting the individual’s range of motion, which can result in stiffness, which would be counter-indicative.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Whiplash can cause some of the following symptoms:
• Neck pain
• Swelling of the neck
• Impaired range of motion of the neck
• Muscle spasming
When is it important to get an attorney?
Because whiplash cannot be seen on an x-ray, since it does not involve fractures, and involves the soft tissue of the neck area, it can be difficult to prove that it exists aside from the person’s own account of the pain and discomfort that is felt. Therefore, if you are involved in a car accident, or another type of activity that causes neck strain or pain, it is important to get medical help immediately to begin documenting your case. Sometimes whiplash does not become obvious for several days or weeks following the precipitating event. When involved in a car accident, it is important to seek medical attention and the advice of a qualified attorney, who can help you understand your legal rights and the process to filing a lawsuit. Because you do not know the long-term effects of the injury at the time of the accident, it is essential to pursue a whiplash or back injury attorney’s advice as soon as possible.
What should I look for in an attorney?
When you suffer a medical injury, it makes sense to get in touch with an experienced attorney who has handled medical cases in the past. There is a lot of medical jargon which can be confusing to the layman, and an experienced attorney can decipher this information and determine if a lawsuit is merited. Not only can you collect money for your lost wages, you can also claim pain and suffering, as well as be compensated for a decreased quality of life. Some types of whiplash can be somewhat permanent and ongoing in nature. This can account for part of the claim made during the lawsuit.
A qualified attorney who has experience in back and neck injuries should be the only type of professional to help you with this kind of legal issue. This potential attorney should be professional, articulate, and assertive in dealing with your case. He should show his interest in representing you through the types of questions he asks you during your consultation.
To ensure you get the best possible attorney to represent you, you may want to do multiple consultations with more than one attorney to compare their personalities and qualifications. These consultations should be offered at no charge to you. During the consultation, you will want to ask questions regarding the attorney’s professional background, as well as for his professional opinion regarding your case. His fee schedule can also be discussed so that you know what to expect if you hire him.
Why do I need an attorney?
An attorney can guide you in making the decision to file a lawsuit against the injuring party as well as in the process of litigation, if it is warranted by your unique situation. Because of the enduring nature of whiplash, which can last for three months in many cases, it is essential to pursue your rights to compensation.
Some of the expenses you may be facing include the cost of medical treatment, prescription medications, and physical therapy. Also, a person who has been significantly impacted by whiplash may need special equipment, such as a cane or special hospital-like bed. Especially if you do not have adequate medical insurance to cover all of these unexpected expenses, you may feel that pursuing a lawsuit may be in your own best interest in meeting your medical needs.
Additionally, you may also miss work and suffer a loss of regularly expected income, which you and your family require in order to make ends meet. You may be asking yourself how you will pay your bills and your medical costs without the income from your job. These types of inconveniences can be accounted for through a lawsuit, which may be your only way to coup from these types of significant losses.
Also, the long-term consequences of a whiplash injury may be unknown initially, and working with an attorney at the time of the accident can ensure that all documentation to pursue a case later after the prognosis is more certain will be established. Only an established and reputable neck and back injury attorney can assist you in your legal needs if you have been the injured victim of a car accident.