Whiplash Compensation Lawyers - Personal Injury Claims - Accident Law


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Our whiplash compensation lawyers offer advice at no cost on all matters relating to car accident personal injury claims. In most cases our accident lawyers are able to deal with all of the legal work involved in a whiplash compensation claim at no cost to you. If you would like free advice on whiplash injury damages with no further obligation, use the contract form or email our offices and a whiplash compensation lawyer will discuss your claim over the telephone and tell you how best to proceed to protect your right to claim compensation for personal injury.

Whiplash Injury

Whiplash is also called “acceleration deceleration syndrome” which may include torn muscles, ligaments, tendons and disrupted discs in the back and neck. The end result is a painful neck associated with a headache, dizziness and loss of sleep. Whiplash usually results from a forward or backward movement but can occur from a sideways impact particularly in a motor vehicle accident.

Whiplash is a not always a sudden symptom and is often delayed for days or even weeks before the full range of symptoms are felt. It takes about 24 to 48 hours from the time of injury to the development of maximum symptoms.

Whiplash involves a soft tissue injury and injuries to the discs of the back but does not include bony injury or fractures to the spine. There is generally no paralysis, although some people feel a temporary numbness or tingling of their hands and arms. Surgery is rarely required because of a whiplash injury but it is common to need physical therapy, chiropractics, acupuncture or occupational therapy as means to relieve the pain and improve function.

As soon as you know you have a whiplash injury, you need to see a specialist personal injury lawyer who will work on a contingency fee basis in order to file a claim against the negligent person who was to blame for the accident that caused the whiplash injury. In a contingency fee situation, the plaintiff only pays the personal injury lawyer if the claim is successful. If the lawyer loses the claim, no payment for legal fees is made.

A whiplash claim is made against the negligent person who was to blame for the accident. It is most likely to be another motorist but can be another participant in a sporting activity. If you think you might have a claim, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. An early decision will be made on whether or not there are factors indicating that the accident was caused by negligence. Your whiplash compensation lawyer will then file a personal injury compensation claim in a court of law on your behalf.

Symptoms

It’s important to remember that many victims of whiplash don’t feel their symptoms until about 12-24 hours after the injury. It can take even longer—up to two weeks following the injury. The main symptoms are pain and stiffness of the neck and shoulders. It can be so painful so that you can’t move your neck. You can also get nausea, headaches, blurry vision and spasm of the neck and shoulders. These can be present all the time or only when you are out and about. Sleep tends to relax the symptoms to varying degrees. The symptoms can be variable in nature or can be unrelenting. The nature of the pain shouldn’t affect the treatment or the medications you take. The main whiplash symptoms include :-

  • neck pain
  • headache pain
  • pain in the Jaw, face, back or shoulders
  • nausea
  • blurry vision
  • vertigo
  • difficulty swallowing
  • limited range of motion
  • tingling

Diagnosis

It takes a qualified doctor who is skilled in orthopedics, physiatry, chiropractics or internal medicine to be able to make a proper diagnosis of whiplash. The first part of the diagnosis is to pay attention to the initial symptoms. The main initial symptoms include the flexion and extension of the neck, along with pain in the neck and shoulder injury. You can also experience a flash of sudden pain down the arm that lasts for just seconds.

The doctor can palpate the neck and back for tenderness, which usually occurs in both of these areas. There may be local swelling in the neck and upper back that only gets better with ice and rest. Other conditions can mimic whiplash injury, such as the tenderness of the neck and back so other tests may need to be done to rule out which diagnosis is going on.

Often, plain film x-rays can be done to rule out a fracture of the bones of the neck. This is often a negative finding and is never positive in whiplash injuries. Other tests that can be done include a CT scan of the neck and upper back or an MRI scan of the neck and upper back. These are more sensitive tests that can show torn tendons, torn ligaments and discs that have ruptured or have gotten out of place. Swelling of the tendons can indicate a whiplash injury. If these findings exist on an MRI or CT scan of the neck or upper back, they are indicative of a possible whiplash injury. Sometimes no test will be helpful in identifying the presence of whiplash and the doctor must go on the history of the injury, ongoing symptoms and the physical examination of the neck.

The findings of a whiplash injury can vary over time. The swelling can worsen and can become more obvious; the spasm of the muscles can become worse over time. The range of motion of the neck can become worse so the patient can’t move their neck from side to side or from forward to back. If you need advice from a whiplash compensation lawyer just call the helpline.

Treatment

Whiplash treatment can happen through the use of chiropractors, orthopedic surgeons, acupuncturists or physical therapists. All can be used together to make the pain improve and to improve the function of the patient who suffers from the condition. Some good treatments include therapeutic massage to the neck and upper back or shoulders, rest to the affected area, cervical collar which protects the neck and keeps it comfortable, the use of ice in the beginning of the treatment, followed by heat treatment to spasmed muscles, the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain and inflammation, physical therapy, pain medications and muscle relaxant medications. It can take a few weeks to treat whiplash or it can take months. Some people need early chronic physical therapy and other therapy for their whiplash because it just isn’t getting better.

Most of the time, it takes no more than a few months to recover from whiplash. A few patients will recover after several years. Some people will never recover thoroughly and will have chronic neck pain and stiffness indefinitely.

Not all treatment is appropriate at the same time. Some treatment is more appropriate early and others are better done later. For example, ice is an appropriate immediate treatment. It lessens the swelling and eases the pain; it is usually used for ten to twenty minutes at a time with a ten to twenty minute rest in between. Heat is not appropriate in the beginning because it increases swelling and inflammation. After a week or so, heat for prolonged periods of time reduce the spasm and make the pain much better. Some doctors alter ice and heat after a few days to be able to have the best of both worlds.

Medications are appropriate at all stages of the process. You can take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications at any time because they reduce inflammation and help reduce the pain. Stronger pain medications are used in the beginning, such as narcotic pain medication and anti-spasmodics are used to break the spasm of the muscles, particularly in the beginning. Later on, medications like aspirin can be used to treat the pain without necessarily blocking the inflammation. Doctors can inject the affected area with corticosteroid medications or lidocaine. The corticosteroid medications work to decrease the inflammation of the affected area and these medications tend to work faster and better than oral pills. The corticosteroid injections tend to last up to a month’s time, after which they can be repeated. There are some side effects of taking these medications so you should talk to your doctor about whether or not these are appropriate for you.

Many doctors recommend physical therapy. This involves therapeutic massage to the affected area and gentle range of motion to keep the neck from getting stiff. Acupuncture can be used to reduce the pain of the neck in a technique that involves the use of an ancient Chinese technique.

Recovery

Recovery from whiplash can take a few days to many months. Some patients have chronic whiplash that lasts indefinitely. Recovery can just be a matter of watching and waiting. You can put ice or heat to the affected area and rest the neck with a cervical collar and you can expect gradually. Cervical traction is a physical therapy technique that involves traction on the neck for a period of time. This straightens out the back and neck, releasing the stress on the ligaments and tendons.

If you seek the advice of a physical therapist, you will receive massage therapy, traction therapy, sometimes acupuncture and trigger point release. These are common physical therapy techniques that are used to speed up the recovery process and allow for more accurate healing. Pain medications, such as anti-inflammatory medications, ibruprofen and narcotic medications can be used to ease the pain during treatment or during the daytime or night time hours.

In rare cases, patients need surgery to correct the whiplash problem. This is especially true if there is a disc injury as part of the whiplash injury. Surgery is to be a last case resort as it doesn’t work all of the time.

Medical Examination

Before going through whiplash recovery, you need to be examined by a doctor. You also need to be examined by a qualified doctor in order to support your claim of having whiplash. The doctor will examine the neck, shoulders and upper back for pain and spasm. The range of motion is assessed and will be diminished in whiplash injuries. Muscle and nerve function are assessed to make sure they are functioning normally. An X-ray or CT scan of the neck can show disc disease and other areas of ruptured tendons.

The doctor will examine the whiplash area over time to see if the symptoms are increasing or decreasing. A condition of decreasing symptoms is a good sign, indicating that the whiplash is improving.

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