What to know about Whiplash and Car Accident Injuries
Car accident victims often jeopardize their personal injury claims by not seeking medical attention. Soft tissue injuries like whiplash frequently present no symptoms immediately after an accident. Days or even weeks could pass before the severity of your injuries becomes obvious. Knowing the symptoms of whiplash could help you determine whether you should visit a doctor after your Asheville car accident.
What is whiplash?
Whiplash is a type of neck injury that occurs when the head and neck move rapidly backward and forward. Car accidents are the most common cause of whiplash, typically in the form of rear-end collisions. The force of these collisions results in severe strain to the muscles and tendons in the neck and spine, causing pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion in the neck and back.
What does whiplash feel like?
Whiplash symptoms can be mild or nonexistent immediately after your car accident. You may feel slight stiffness of the neck, shoulders, and upper or middle back in the hours or days following an accident, only for your pain to worsen over the next few weeks. Tingling or numbness may set in, sometimes radiating down into your arms and legs. Headaches are also common.
Many accident victims try to tough out these symptoms for a while, not wanting or feeling able to miss work or other commitments to visit a doctor. Once your symptoms get worse, you may consider finally getting treatment for your pain, and perhaps making a claim for your medical bills with the at-fault driver’s insurance. However, by now, too much time may have passed, and the insurance company will probably deny your claim. Their reasoning for this is usually that you cannot prove that the car accident caused your injuries and not some other incident that may have happened to you in the weeks after your accident. Consistent and prompt medical treatment is the best way to prove that your injuries are severe and related to the crash.
What are the treatments for whiplash?
Doctors typically prescribe medications such as muscle relaxers or anti-inflammatory drugs to treat whiplash pain. People with less severe injuries often feel relief just from taking medication.
Some people with severe whiplash symptoms, such as numbness, tingling, or dizziness, need ongoing therapy for their injuries. You may need a cervical collar or cervical traction. Physical therapy, chiropractic or massage therapy may help you improve your range of motion.
More intensive care such as treatment by a specialist and the use of in-home medical equipment imposes a major expense on accident victims. Chiropractic, massage therapy and medical devices often aren’t covered by health insurance, forcing accident victims to pay for these costs out-of-pocket.
Get treatment right away after an accident
Getting evaluated within a week of your accident is crucial to both your health and your personal injury claim. Whiplash victims who do not seek treatment within a week of their injuries often see their insurance claims denied, leaving them deep in debt with no chance of recovering for their medical bills.
Personal injury cases tend to be complex, and victims who try to handle at-fault insurers, medical payments coverage, or their medical debts on their own may shortchange themselves. An experienced Asheville personal injury attorney can help guide you through the process of getting compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, and lost wages.