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Whiplash Injury Compensation After a Tennessee Car Accident

When to talk to a whiplash injury lawyer about compensation following a car crash

After a serious car accident, most people count themselves lucky if they emerge with only a few cuts and scrapes. You might even feel relieved that you don’t experience too much pain in the first few hours after a crash.

Unfortunately, the relief you might initially feel after a car accident may only be short-lived since one type of neck injury can take up to 24 hours to emerge. In some cases, you might even notice that the pain goes away and then comes back with a vengeance.

Whiplash is one of the most common types of car accident injuries. While most people associate it with the neck, you can also experience symptoms in your shoulders and back if the trauma extends far enough down your spine.

Cases of whiplash vary in severity, and it’s possible for your symptoms to become chronic if the soft tissue injury is severe enough. Being more aware of how whiplash affects your body helps you know when you need to seek the advice of medical and legal professionals.

How does whiplash happen?

Whiplash occurs most often during car accidents where one vehicle is rear-ended by another, but it can also happen in other types of collision. This is due to the powerful forces that occur when 2 or more vehicles collide.

In a crash, your body may immediately come to a stop because it’s held by the seatbelt while your head and neck continue traveling forward at the speed the vehicle was going upon impact. This motion, which results in a whip-like motion, causes the bones, tendons and muscles in your neck to experience a severe form of hyperextension and strain.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

Whiplash injury symptoms can range from mild to severe. The most common symptom in mild cases is soreness or stiffness around the neck area. You might also experience a headache, back pain or shoulder stiffness. These mild cases usually heal in time with rest.

In more severe whiplash cases, however, you might also experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Muscle spasms
  • Back and spinal cord injuries
 

How is whiplash diagnosed?

Whiplash usually involves injury to the soft tissues in your body, which can pose some challenges for an accurate diagnosis since soft-tissue injuries don’t appear on x-rays. Your physician may use imaging tests such as an MRI, but this doesn’t always provide definite answers. Doctors often must rely upon patient testimony about their symptoms, along with general signs that they can pick up on a physical exam, such as abnormal reflexes, to make a diagnosis.

Whiplash cases are often difficult to prove, and working with an experienced whiplash injury lawyer is your best option for receiving fair compensation.

What are the different types of whiplash?

There are several categories of whiplash that can indicate your likelihood of experiencing long-term injuries. Doctors typically classify cases of whiplash according to a scale of 4 grades:

Grade 1 whiplash. With grade 1, a person experiencing whiplash typically complains of pain, stiffness or tenderness of their neck with no positive signs on the physical exam.

Grade 2 whiplash. Grade 2 shows that you have some musculoskeletal damage, such as a decreased range of motion.

Grade 3 whiplash. Grade 3 shows neurological symptoms, such as sensory deficits and muscular weakness.

Grade 4 whiplash. Grade 4 shows fractures within your neck or upper spine.

As you might expect, a case of grade 4 whiplash generally takes much longer to heal than a grade 1 whiplash injury. If you experience neurological or musculoskeletal symptoms that extend beyond general neck soreness, then you could face a longer recovery compared to someone who has only mild symptoms.

How do you treat soft-tissue neck injuries?

Some mild cases of whiplash can be treated with over-the-counter pain medication or prescription muscle relaxers. Moderate to severe cases could require you to undergo physical therapy to improve pain, stiffness and poor reflexes. In the most severe cases, surgery might be required. This usually occurs when the whiplash injury causes a spinal cord injury, such as a herniated disc or pinched nerve.

Whiplash treatment may require you to wear a special neck brace, although this tends to be replaced more with physical therapy and rest nowadays.

Another important part of your treatment plan may also include doing what you can to avoid further traumatizing the injured area. This could require you to take time off of work or even switch to a different type of career to protect the soft tissues in your neck. As a result, whiplash injury compensation may need to cover things such as physical therapy and lost work time so that you can focus on healing.

What is the long-term prognosis?

One of the biggest problems with delayed whiplash symptoms is that you might feel fine immediately after the injury. People have been known to go straight to work after a car accident during rush hour, only to feel the pain by the next day. This phenomenon can cause you to accidentally make your whiplash injury worse, or it could make it seem as though your injury is not severe.

The truth is that no one knows how their recovery will go with whiplash.

Even with mild cases of whiplash, you could face a recovery that spans several weeks to months. Severe cases could cause chronic pain and inability to work. For this reason, it’s particularly important to receive a comprehensive medical exam in the event of a whiplash injury and continue to talk to your treatment team about your progress so that every challenge you face is properly documented.

Whiplash is difficult to diagnose and challenging to treat. If you or a loved one suffered a severe car accident injury, don’t assume that everything is fine. Seeking prompt medical attention can reveal the full extent of your injuries.

If you experienced severe whiplash, consult with our Tennessee car accident attorneys immediately. We will walk you through the process of seeking fair compensation for your full recovery.

 

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