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What To Do If You Think You Have Whiplash After an Auto Accident

Posted on Monday, August 12, 2013
Auto Accident Injuries, Blog

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries sustained in a rear-end car accident. It’s a class of neck sprain that occurs when the neck is hyperextended after the kind of abrupt stop typical of a rear-end collision. Pain can be mild and last for several days or much more severe, leading to prolonged issues with pain and restricted head and neck movement. Unfortunately, since the symptoms of whiplash can take time to manifest, it’s also an injury that is all too frequently overlooked.

Common signs and symptoms

It usually takes about 1-3 days for the symptoms of whiplash to appear. However, it could also be weeks before you realize that the pain and soreness you’re feeling can be attributed to whiplash. Symptoms may include the following:

  • Blurred vision
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Back pain
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness
  • Headaches
  • Pain and weakness that also affects the arm and shoulder
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Difficulty sleeping

How is whiplash diagnosed?

As always, seek medical attention immediately if you believe you’ve sustained any injuries in a car accident. The doctor usually begins with a basic physical examination to check for range of motion and unusual sensitivity to pressure. If required, he or she will order some tests. An x-ray will rule out the possibility of any dislocations or spinal fractures, while an MRI will determine the extent of damage to the soft tissues.

What are my treatment options?

Many people associate whiplash with foam cervical collars, but they should never be worn for an extended period of time, as they can cause the neck muscles to weaken. If your whiplash injury is severe, your doctor may suggest rehabilitative therapy with a physiotherapist. In most cases, however, the patient can perform simple exercises and gentle stretches in their own home to regain range of motion.

The best whiplash preventative is to make sure your head restraint is properly positioned directly behind your head. Head restraints that are positioned too low can actually force the head and neck back further and cause more damage.

Can I take legal action after my auto injury?

Yes. If your whiplash injury is the result of another driver’s reckless or negligent behavior, you have a right to compensation for your medical expenses. At DDB Law, we have experience in rear-end collisions and know how to put together a strong case that proves liability. Remember – the best thing you can do is act quickly. Don’t lose a case because of Florida’s new Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law, which only leaves accident victims with 14-day window to report their injuries and qualify for compensation.