A whiplash injury is a painful soft tissue injury that often occurs in car accidents and other personal injury incidents.
Whiplash injuries are classified in various grades, based on the severity of the injury, with 0 being the least severe with no apparent symptoms to 3 being the most severe and showing signs of neurological impairment. These injuries should be carefully monitored and taken seriously.
Continue reading to learn more about whiplash and the types of compensation you can seek if another party contributes to your injuries.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is the colloquial term given for a soft tissue injury in the neck. It is characterized by the symptoms that occur after neck damage. Whiplash occurs because of the sudden extension and bending of the neck. For example, if a person is rear-ended, their neck may lurch forward and then backward while the rest of the body remains stationary.
Along with the neck, other body parts that can be injured in accidents that result in whiplash include:
- Intervertebral joints
- Cervical muscles
- Nerve roots
Because whiplash injuries are commonly sustained in car accidents, anyone who has been in a collision, even at low speeds, should be checked for this condition.
How Common Are Whiplash Injuries?
More than three million people suffer a new case of whiplash each year. Whiplash injuries are more common in:
- People aged 30 to 50
- Individuals with pre-existing health conditions, such as arthritis
Whiplash injuries are often more severe in women and children because of the smaller size of their necks.
What Causes Whiplash Injuries?
One of the leading causes of whiplash injuries is car accidents. Most whiplash injuries occur in car accidents below 12 mph. Rear-end collisions are more likely to result in cervical spine damage than head-on or sideswipe collisions. Approximately one in 100 people have sustained a whiplash injury in an auto accident.
Other common causes of whiplash injury include:
- Bicycle accidents
- Construction accidents
- Defective products
- Electric scooter accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
If you were involved in an accident and suspect you might have sustained a whiplash injury, the first step to recovering is to receive an accurate diagnosis.
How Are Whiplash Injuries Diagnosed?
Whiplash injuries are often diagnosed after a patient complains about related symptoms to their doctor after being involved in an accident. Mayo Clinic provides the following list of common symptoms to look out for if you suspect you or a loved one has sustained a whiplash injury:
- Neck pain
- Shoulder or back pain
- Stiffness in the neck
- Worsening of pain when you move your neck
- Loss of range of motion in your neck
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
- Tenderness in the upper extremities
Some less common symptoms that some people experience include:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Ringing in the ears
- Blurred vision
- Problems sleeping
- Feeling of depression
- Feelings of burning or prickling
Some of these symptoms do not appear immediately after an accident, so stay on the lookout for them. If you notice these symptoms after an accident, seek prompt medical treatment.
How Are Whiplash Injuries Treated?
Treatment often centers upon controlling pain, which may be possible through treatments such as:
- Pain medication
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Muscle relaxants
- Application of heat and ice
Additional treatment may be prescribed to help restore the normal range of motion, such as physical therapy, motion exercises, and/or cervical traction. A cervical collar may also be prescribed to stabilize the neck during recovery.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Whiplash Injuries?
Many injury victims are able to recover from whiplash after about three months. However, more than 50% of accident victims advance to some degree of chronic symptoms. It takes roughly 17 weeks to stabilize the neck after a severe whiplash injury, but 25% of patients continue to experience whiplash symptoms six months after sustaining the injury.
Whiplash injuries can increase the likelihood of victims suffering chronic shoulder and neck pain and developing an abnormal psychological profile.
The average time off work is about eight weeks. One study found that out of 586 employed patients, 7% did not return to work following a whiplash injury.
Who Can Be Liable for Whiplash Injuries?
If another person’s carelessness caused you to suffer a whiplash injury, they might be responsible for the damages you sustained.
Depending on the circumstances, this could be:
- A driver
- A business owner
- The manufacturer of a defective product
- A property owner
An experienced personal injury lawyer can investigate the accident and determine all potentially liable parties and the value of your claim.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Recover for a Whiplash Injury in Fort Walton Beach, Florida?
If you suffered a whiplash injury because of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to pursue compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Chiropractic care
- Anticipated future medical care
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
An experienced lawyer can give you a better idea about the potential compensation you can recover.
How Long Do I Have To File a Whiplash Injury Lawsuit in Florida?
Florida’s statute of limitations generally gives you two years after an accident to file a lawsuit against the negligent party.
Contact a Fort Walton Beach Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation To Discuss Your Whiplash Injury
Have you recently suffered a whiplash injury in Fort Walton Beach, Florida? Do you need help with your claim? You could have a right to compensation for the injuries you have suffered, and our Fort Walton Beach personal injury attorneys can help.
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys has over 60 years of combined legal experience. We can determine the value of your claim and advise you when an offer is fair.
You can learn more about your legal rights and options when you call us for a free consultation.