According to the CDC, in the United States, about three million people are non-fatally injured from car accidents annually. One of the most common auto accident injuries is neck injuries– mainly, whiplash.
If you experience whiplash after a car accident, it’s important to know what steps to take to protect yourself from further injury and to build a strong insurance claim.
What is Whiplash?
If you were in a car accident and experiencing some neck pain, it could be whiplash. According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash is a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, when the soft tissues (muscles and ligaments) of your neck extend beyond their typical range of motion. Whiplash can also injure bones in the cervical spine, discs between the vertebrae, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and other soft tissues in your neck and back.
Even though whiplash can result from sports accidents, horseback riding, cycling accidents, physical abuse, or amusement park rides, the most common cause is rear-ended auto accidents. Almost any kind of collision can cause whiplash, too.
Although whiplash is considered a mild condition, and sometimes symptoms won’t even appear until much later, it can still cause long-term pain and discomfort.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Typically, whiplash symptoms will appear within 24 hours of the injury. Some symptoms might include:
- Back pain in the upper back
- Blurred vision
- Burning or itching sensation in the neck, shoulders, or arms
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing
- Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Memory problems
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Sleep disturbances
- Shoulder pain or stiffness
- Stiffness in the neck or upper back
- Tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back or arms
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Worsening of pain with neck movement
Now that you know what whiplash is, it’s important that you understand the consequences of dealing with insurance companies when you have whiplash (or any injury) sustained in a car accident. Our advice is that you should call a Las Vegas personal injury attorney as soon as possible (our office specializes in cases like this; please call us at (702) 857-6000). Don’t talk to insurance companies or anyone about your injuries; that is what your attorney is for – let your personal injury lawyers handle this for you. You don’t want to potentially jeopardize any settlement or another award you might receive by signing anything or providing information that could be potentially used to minimize or dismiss your case. Call Anthem Injury Lawyers now for experienced legal representation when you’ve suffered whiplash or other injuries in a car accident. Call (702) 857-6000.
Steps to Take After Whiplash
If your whiplash injury results from another driver’s negligence, you may qualify to receive compensation through your insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
Unfortunately, whiplash can be hard to prove and therefore problematic from the insurance company’s perspective. Like most soft tissue injuries, whiplash does not show up on X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and other diagnostic tests. If you are experiencing any whiplash symptoms it’s crucial to seek medical care—not just for your physical well-being, but also for your injury-related insurance claim.
Call 911 and Report the Accident
This will ensure an official accident report, which will help your claim. Do not tell the dispatcher, police, or the other driver that you are fine or you’ll be okay or any other comments that could be held against you when you’re filing your injury claim.
Seek Medical Treatment
Even if you are not experiencing signs of whiplash right away, it is important to seek medical attention. The sooner you receive medical care, the sooner you can address any injuries that might appear after the accident.
If you don’t receive medical treatment at the scene of the accident, you should visit an emergency room or schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. If you let your doctor know that you were involved in a rear-end collision, they will know to look for injuries such as whiplash.
Seeking medical treatment is critical in your injury-related insurance claim. You will have medical records, medical bills, and other documents to help prove that your whiplash was due to the car accident and not to a pre-existing condition.
Follow Your Treatment Plan
Follow the treatment plan as prescribed by your doctor or medical professionals. This will show an insurance adjuster that you have a severe injury. Treatment plans may include:
- Range of Motion Exercises. Rotational exercises for your neck to help lessen stiffness and increase mobility. If you limit your motion you might continue to experience stiffness in your neck muscles and joints, which can lead to chronic pain.
- Physical Therapy. It helps reduce pain, strengthen your muscles, and increase stability through manual stretching and massage. A physical therapist might also check your cervical alignment.
- Administer Home Care. Your doctor might advise you to rest, ice the injury, take over-the-counter pain medication, or wear a soft cervical neck collar to prevent further injuries.
- Chiropractic Care. Spinal manipulation, trigger point therapy, electronic nerve stimulation, epidural spinal injections, to help your neck move normally and without pain.
- Soft Tissue Rehabilitation. Massage therapy, electro-stimulation, trigger point therapy, strength-training exercises and stretches to treat your muscles, tendons, ligaments, spinal discs, and internal organs.
- Surgical Treatment. If your whiplash caused a herniated disc or spinal fracture, you may require surgery to readjust your spine and restore your joint movement.
File an Insurance Claim
File your personal injury claim as soon as possible.
Check the back of your insurance card for contact information if you’re not sure who to call. Once you’ve contacted your insurance company, an insurance agent will help you with the next steps including filing a claim if that is necessary. If your car is non-operational, they can help you with transportation like getting a rental car.
When speaking with the insurance adjuster, stick to the facts like the date, time, and place of accident, don’t admit fault and don’t undergo an independent medical exam. If the insurer tells you to see their doctor—don’t. That doctor is looking out for the insurer’s best interests, not yours.
Collect evidence to support your injury claim, like:
- Medical records after the accident. This will show the severity of your injury. Since whiplash is common and harder to prove, any and all medical records of treatments you received after the car accident is critical in your personal injury claim.
- Medical records before the accident. Medical records prior to the accident will show the physical state you were in before getting whiplash. These reports are crucial in proving that your neck injury is not due to a preexisting condition.
- Test results. Any medical imaging or diagnostic tests that show your injury and recovery progress.
- Documentation of expenses. This includes medical bills and receipts for medical treatments related to your neck injury.
As you can see, a great deal of time and effort goes into establishing a whiplash case, and a successful outcome is based on working with an experienced Las Vegas personal injury law firm. Anthem Injury Lawyers [(702) 857-6000] knows how to proceed with whiplash cases so you have the best opportunity for receiving the compensation due to you. Get the expert representation you need to win your whiplash case – call Anthem Injury Lawyers now!
Seek Legal Advice
To increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries, consult a professional personal injury lawyer.
An experienced personal injury can help you evaluate your claim, arrange for medical treatments, obtain necessary experts, file a personal injury lawsuit, and negotiate with insurers so you get the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Experienced Las Vegas Car Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been in an auto accident and suffered whiplash in the State of Nevada, you should speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who is licensed in Nevada as soon as possible. The law firm of Anthem Injury Lawyers has a dedicated team of car accident lawyers and staff who are ready to help you with your car accident case.
We offer free case evaluations. Our office is conveniently located in Henderson, but we work with clients all over the Las Vegas Valley, including North Las Vegas, Summerlin, Spring Valley, Anthem, and the Strip. Contact us today for a free consultation at (702) 857-6000.