Whiplash injuries are one of the most common injuries sustained by drivers and passengers involved in car accidents on Kentucky roadways. Whiplash injuries are painful and debilitating and require as much as six months or more to recover. Making them even more dangerous is the fact that whiplash injuries often do not display any initial symptoms until days or weeks after the accident occurs.
What is a Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash is a type of soft-tissue injury that occurs when a driver or passenger’s head moves forward or backward in a rapid and violent motion, like the cracking of a whip. This sudden and forceful movement causes damage to the ligaments, tendons, and surrounding tissues of the neck and spine. Whiplash injuries occur upon vehicle impact, and are most often seen in rear-end and head-on collisions.
What are the Symptoms of Whiplash Injury?
Symptoms of whiplash can take many days to appear. During a car crash our bodies pump large amounts of adrenaline into our bloodstream as a defense mechanism to protect itself against shock and pain. The effects of adrenaline do not immediately wear off, and it can be difficult to determine initially what injuries have occurred.
If you experience any symptoms of whiplash in the days after a crash, it is important to see your doctor immediately for evaluation and treatment. Your doctor may need to perform x-rays or scans to rule out fractures or other tissue damage that may be contributing to symptoms.
The Mayo Clinic lists these common symptoms of whiplash injury:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Worsening of pain with neck movement
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull
- Tenderness or pain in shoulder, upper back or arms
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
Some people also experience:
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Sleep disturbances
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
Most people who suffer a whiplash injury will recover within a few months. However, some will continue to suffer from chronic pain that lasts for several months or even years after an accident occurs. The healing time of a whiplash injury is difficult to predict, but chronic pain is more likely for people whose initial symptoms include rapid onset of severe neck pain, headaches, and radiating pain to the arms.
What is the Treatment for Whiplash Injury?
Treatment of a whiplash injury depends on the extent to which you were injured. Most people are instructed to treat their injury with rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medication until their symptoms subside. For others with more severe injuries, doctors may need to prescribe muscle relaxers, pain medication, and physical therapy to reach full recovery.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, neck sprains and strains are the most commonly reported car accident injury reported in the United States. Their recent reports show that more than 65 percent of bodily injury claims filed to auto insurance companies included injuries to a driver or passenger’s neck.
Can I Seek Damages for My Whiplash Injury?
In the state of Kentucky, injured persons are entitled to file a no-fault claim for damages with their auto insurance company to recover financial losses associated with a whiplash injury. Kentucky’s no-fault claim damages threshold is $1000. Due to the lengthy healing time required for recovery from whiplash injuries, many who suffer from whiplash injury pain will accumulate medical bills and other expenses that are far greater than the threshold amount. If this occurs, you may be entitled file a civil suit against the at-fault driver.
A Louisville car accident lawyer can help you manage the complicated process of recovering financial damages for your whiplash injury. Thomas Law Offices is experienced in handling claims for victims of whiplash injury in the state of Kentucky and will fight to see that you receive the financial help you need return to a life that is healthy and pain free. Contact our legal team today for a free, no-obligation consultation of your case.