One of the most common injuries resulting from a car accident is “whiplash.” The term is used to describe a soft tissue injury that results when a person’s head swiftly and forcefully snaps back and forth. Whiplash will often cause misalignment of the bones of the neck. This will sometimes put pressure on spinal nerves.
Whiplash can easily go undiagnosed because the original injury may not hurt a great deal. Sometimes whiplash will cause a person to feel their neck become stiff and/or experience loss in range of motion of the neck. These symptoms, as well as pain in the neck area and/or headaches, will often provide enough warning that there could be a problem.
However, whiplash does not always cause obvious symptoms. Neck injuries from whiplash often cause diffuse symptoms that have nothing to do with the neck. These diffuse and less obvious symptoms can easily be misinterpreted as simply “feeling under the weather” or feel like coming down with a cold. Examples include:
Some other non-obvious symptoms of whiplash include difficulty sleeping, memory loss, ringing in the ears, numbness in the arms, legs, hands, feet, fingers, or toes, and difficulty concentrating. Beware – the severity of symptoms does not necessarily reflect the degree of injury. Even mild symptoms could be a signal of a serious neck injury.
Whiplash can impinge on spinal nerves enough to cause nerve damage. It can be diagnosed by either a CT scan or MRI. Whiplash cannot be diagnosed by an x-ray, which is primarily used to evaluate broken bones. Once diagnosed it is possible to treat the condition using one or a combination of therapies including anti-inflammatory drugs, immobilizing the area with a neck brace, physical therapy, chiropractic adjustment, and acupuncture.
The ultimate prognosis may depend on how quickly the damage was diagnosed and treated. Sometimes whiplash will resolve on its own. Other times it can cause lasting damage to spinal nerves. This damage can impair the function of the organs to which the nerves are attached.
To successfully recover damages from a car accident, details of the accident must be recorded and preserved. This includes obtaining swift and adequate medical care and treatment after the accident. Failing to seek prompt medical attention can jeopardize an effort to seek damages. Documentation of medical examinations, diagnoses, and medical bills are all evidence that will be need to be gathered to support a case.
Insurance companies always attempt to settle a car accident injury. They will often start negotiations at a very low offer to see how sophisticated and knowledgeable the plaintiff is about their right to recover damages. Being represented by a skilled personal injury lawyer can help protect your interests.
If you experienced whiplash or other injury in a car accident caused by another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Call AlpernSchubert P.C. at 412-765-1888 or 800-243-6095 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Pittsburgh car accident lawyer. From our offices in Pittsburgh, we proudly represent clients across western Pennsylvania, including the areas of Allegheny County, Lawrence County, and Washington County.