One of the most common soft tissue injuries arising from a motor vehicle accident is whiplash.
It is not uncommon to leave the scene of a motor vehicle accident with soreness, maybe some aches and pains. Sometimes, however, it takes a day or two for the physical effects to show up. Soft tissue damage, such as muscular strains, is what many accident victims suffer. When your car is hit hard enough from behind to impact the spine, you may injure your neck when it is bent forward and backward or backward then forward by force. The extent of the whiplash may depend on the impact location, directly in the center rear or angled left rear or right rear. But any activity that violently forces the head forward and back or vice versa, like sports injuries, slip and falls, physical beatings, and roller coaster type rides, can cause the condition. All causes considered, whiplash affects the muscles, nerves, tendons, and discs in the neck.
Most Common Whiplash Symptoms in Ewing, NJ
Typical whiplash symptoms involve the neck but can also affect other body parts when pain radiates from the neck to your extremities or up to your brain. For example, you may experience neck or shoulder pain and stiffness that causes or occurs with low back pain. In addition, an injury in the cervical spine can affect the lower regions of the spine, such as the thoracic (middle) or lumbar (lower) spine. Other symptoms include pain or numbness in the arms or hands when connecting nerves reaching the neck and shoulder and impinge on blood flow to the extremities. You may also experience neck and brain-related symptoms, such as headache, dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), blurred vision, irritability, fatigue, and trouble sleeping and concentrating. Moreover, your memory may fail you. These symptoms appear like other conditions, so examining physicians must run tests for a correct diagnosis.
When you suffer a collision on the road or other accident, you probably want to visit your physician right away for a complete physical exam and review of your medical history. Your physician may want to rule out other causes for your aches and pains, especially involving the neck and spine. For example, similar symptoms appear in arthritic patients. Running tests like x-rays to check for bone fractures or tissue problems is a common first step. But an x-ray may not show soft tissue injury, so your doctor may order MRI, DTI, PET, and CT scans for a more detailed look at the soft tissue (muscles and ligaments), bones, brain, and other organs. Ruling out other cervical and other pain sources, a radiologist and physician can review the scans for any significant damage, such as fractures, tears, or breaks. If not, whiplash may be the diagnosis.
Whiplash treatment and recovery process, East Windsor
While many whiplash patients feel better after a few weeks, more severe whiplashes may need more treatment. If your pain is intense, the neck stiffness comes and goes, tingling, weakness, or numbness in the shoulders or limbs appear, or loss of bladder or bowel control arises, you may require various treatments. Depending on your medical history, age, and health, your doctor may prescribe multiple treatments at specific times in the healing process. So, considering the severity of the injury, medication allergies, sensitivity to pain, and preferences, your doctor may first prescribe ice to relieve pain in the first day or two after injury. Then, to stabilize the neck and decrease the incidence of pain, they could send you home with a neck brace. And once healing begins and the pain lessens, gentle exercise with anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxation exercises, physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, electronic nerve stimulation, or chiropractic adjustment may be next in the healing process.
Whiplash injuries typically resolve over a few days to weeks or months unless complications arise. Unfortunately, some violent collision survivors suffer headaches and intermittent or chronic pain for years after an incident. When stretched ligaments, displaced discs, and injured neck joints are the source of the pain, doctors may treat the symptoms with pain management, physical therapy, or surgery. But some continued pain after whiplash is inexplicable. Some suffer for years long after an accident. And living with whiplash complications may deeply diminish a person’s quality of life.
Importance of Whiplash Medical Reports in NJ Negligence Cases
If you need whiplash treatment due to another’s negligence, you want to make sure your doctor concludes in their reports that the accident caused or likely caused your injury. Negligence may be inattentive driving, failing to clean up a spill on supermarket floors, physical assault, abuse, or unnecessary violent play in sports. Insurance companies that typically pay for personal injury claims against drivers, businesses, or other organizations need medical verification and proof that the injury the claimant suffers is from an accident caused by the insured. In addition, insurance companies may raise defenses to payment on claims that the injured party had other injuries, pre-existing conditions, or causes of their pain and injury. For this reason, a personal injury victim must see their doctor soon after an accident and narrate what occurred in the accident, and chronicle the symptoms. All of this is highly valuable information for your personal injury lawyer who is handling your claim.
Keep track of your Medical Expenses after Whiplash Injury
It is also essential to keep track of the out-of-pocket expenses you have paid since the accident. For example, you may pay co-pays for doctors, radiologists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, physical therapists, and lab technicians if you have insurance. If you do not have insurance, those costs are all out of pocket. And attending the various doctor and therapy appointments may result in days off work that are either unpaid or paid sick days. In addition, you may pay for pain medications and a cervical collar. And through the healing and treatment, you may suffer pain in living your daily life. With whiplash, the simplest actions you take for granted, like turning your head to see over your shoulder when you back out of a driveway, are painful and prevent you from doing your normal activities.
All of the information you track, including a journal of your pain and difficulties performing daily tasks, is vital to your attorney. And you will need an attorney to represent you since without one; the insurance company will attempt not compensating you for your damages, including your medical, therapeutic, and pharmaceutical costs, as well as your economic losses from days off and sick days or vacation pay lost due to the accident.
Have you suffered whiplash injuries due to an accident? Contact the Personal Injury Team at CR for a free initial consultation at our Hamilton office.
At Cohen & Riechelson our dedicated personal injury attorneys use the medical expenses, property damage, financial losses, and pain and suffering from the accident to demand compensation for your injuries. If the insurance company refuses to pay or does not agree to compensate you fully, making you as close to whole as you were before the accident, we make proceed with the lawsuit in court, beyond settlement negotiations, and take your case to trial if necessary.
Be sure to find an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you with your whiplash claim. If you reside or have suffered an accident in or nearby Hamilton, Hightstown, Hopewell, Princeton, or Lawrence, call 609-528-2596 at our local Trenton office for a free consultation and to discuss your case today.