Whiplash is a sprain or strain of the neck. The word ‘whiplash,” coined by Dr. Harold Crowe in 1928, aptly describes the nature of the injury. Hyperextension and hyperflexion are the medical terms for what happens to the head and neck at the point of impact during an auto accident. The neck muscles naturally contract in an attempt to protect itself, while the head "whips" back, causing soft tissue injury that can severely damage the discs, ligaments, nerves, muscles and joints of the delicate neck structure.
Individuals suffering a whiplash injury after an auto accident may not feel any symptoms for 24 hours or more. This is one reason why auto accident victims should wait a few days before openly discussing whether any injury has occurred.
Symptoms that may occur later can include:
If you have suffered a whiplash auto injury, speak with a knowledgeable auto accident attorney. Laws known as the “statute of limitations” govern the filing of auto injury claims. Your claim must be filed within a specific time limit, so do not delay.
The statute of limitations varies among states. In general, personal injury or wrongful death claims may be filed within one year of the initial auto injury. If this window of opportunity is missed, it is unlikely you will be able to make your claim.
Whiplash: Diagnosis and Treatment
Whiplash is usually diagnosed with a CT scan (Computed Tomography) or an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). Currently, there is no specific treatment for whiplash injuries. In times past, physicians recommended wearing a cervical collar to immobilize the neck. Today, physicians encourage gentle movement to facilitate healing. Over the counter pain relievers, gentle exercises, various therapies, massage, and injections are also used to manage the painful symptoms of whiplash.
What You Should Know about Whiplash
Whiplash can occur during a head-on collision. But even a low speed “fender bender” or fairly gentle rear collision can cause soft tissue injury rigorous enough to bring about great discomfort. Numerous scientific studies show whiplash injuries caused by low-speed auto accidents can occur in just two-tenths of one second.
Why does this happen at low speeds? During a rear-end auto injury, the driver or passenger seat moves. When the auto is hit from behind, the seat moves forward. The passenger’s natural reaction is to push back. Because most passengers weigh more than the seat, the seat bends backward all the more as the body pushes to remain still. As the seat reaches the maximum bend, it pushes forward, jerking the head as described and causing whiplash.
Each year, approximately one million people suffer from whiplash auto injuries that occur during auto accidents. Treatment of whiplash injuries tops $30 billion, not to mention the ongoing painful health problems sufferers must manage, often for a lifetime.
Have you or a loved one been injured in an auto accident and suffered whiplash auto injury? Please contact The Cochran Firm to learn more about receiving the compensation you deserve; we have offices nationwide to serve you.
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