Whiplash is an unfortunately common neck injury after a motor vehicle accident. In mild cases, it damages the neck’s soft tissues and may cause discomfort for a few weeks. A severe whiplash injury may not lessen with initial treatment and can actually affect discs, ligaments, muscles and even nerve roots in your neck.
What causes whiplash?
Whiplash occurs when the neck is forced to extend backward and then forward, often very suddenly and with some degree of force. While any number of causes could result in this often damaging whipping movement, whiplash is most associated with a motor vehicle accident in which your vehicle is rear-ended.
What are some symptoms of whiplash?
After a motor vehicle accident, you may notice some discomfort or unusual symptoms in your neck in as little as a couple hours. But as every victim and injury are different, it may take a few days for others to experience whiplash symptoms.
In any case, some telltale signs of whiplash include:
- Shoulder and back pain
- Hoarseness of the voice
- Burning or prickling
- Chewing and swallowing problems
How is the severity of whiplash determined?
Even if you immediately notice whiplash symptoms after a motor vehicle accident, you may not be able to figure out your injury’s severity with general observation alone. Touching or looking at your neck won’t tell you if you may only need a cervical collar for a few weeks or if extensive surgery is necessary.
In order to determine the true severity of your whiplash, doctors may perform the following:
- Physical exam
- Neurological exam
- X-ray (to see if fracture has occurred)
- CT scan (to see if muscle, disc or joint damage has occurred)
Diagnosing the severity of your whiplash injury can be an expensive undertaking. When a motor vehicle accident in Indiana leads to a whiplash injury, whether in a rear-end accident or some other mishap, it may help to know that you may not have to shoulder these costs alone. Contacting an Indianapolis personal injury attorney is the first step to finding out the compensation that may be available to you.
Treatment for a Whiplash Injury
The extent of medical attention needed for a whiplash injury varies from patient to patient.
In most cases, treatment for a whiplash injury may include:
- A soft cervical collar
- Pain medications and muscle relaxants
- Physical rehabilitation.
When physical therapy doesn’t help to decrease muscle spasms and increase circulation, doctors may employ electrical stimulation, ultrasound and alternating use of heat and ice to encourage healing. When necessary, traction devices may be used or a combination of anesthetic injections and trigger point massage may be employed.
Only when all other options have been exhausted and the threat of permanent damage from a whiplash injury is present will doctors consider surgery. When surgery is needed, surgeons may completely remove a disc in the neck and fuse other discs together through rods and screws, among other techniques.
The Impact of a Whiplash Injury on Your Life
A whiplash injury can present varying degrees of pain, from mild pain and stiffness that may last a couple weeks to persistent, debilitating pain in the neck and shoulders. If the latter is the case after your motor vehicle accident, you may be able to file an Indiana personal injury claim to seek compensation for how your life has been affected.
An Indianapolis personal injury attorney can guide you through all the steps of your Indiana personal injury claim and can analyze what damages you may claim. For instance, if your whiplash injury has required surgery and you have been out of work for weeks or even months, your Indianapolis personal injury attorney can help you fight for damages to account for lost income.
In addition, your Indiana personal injury claim may account for any medical expenses with which you have had to contend. To determine who may be liable for your accident, your Indianapolis personal injury attorney can study the facts surrounding your crash, while you focus your energy on recovery.
Contacting an Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorney
When you have complications with your personal injury claim, an Indianapolis personal injury attorney can help you to alleviate some of the stress and anxiety associated with filing a claim. In order to get back on track with your personal injury claim, download a FREE copy of our book, Consumer’s Guide for Injured Victims. You can then contact a personal injury attorney at Hensley Legal Group for a free consultation.