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What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a soft-tissue injury to the neck or cervical spine caused by a sudden impact that alters the normal range of motion. It is one of the most common types of injuries in auto accidents affecting up to 83% of victims — most often, in rear-end collisions. For example, while seatbelts are a wonderful invention to keep your full body safe, they cannot prevent your head from being thrown forward and then backward during a sudden impact. This causes severe strain to the muscles, ligaments, and bones in the upper body.
While the severity of whiplash injuries can range, the treatment is often expensive and ongoing. In some cases, pain associated with injuries could persist and develop into a chronic condition even after treatment. The overall economic burden of whiplash injuries is estimated at $3.9 billion annually and, if litigation is included, the cost is greater than $29 billion.
Whiplash is most common in these types of auto accidents:
Aside from vehicular accidents, whiplash injury can also be caused by playing sports, roller coaster rides, or even in violent assaults. If you were involved in any type of accident that caused a sudden impact to your head, you should get checked out by a doctor immediately and then contact a whiplash lawyer in St. Louis, MO, to look into your options.
What To Do If You Have a Whiplash Injury
After any accident ranging from minor to severe, you may think that your injuries were not “bad enough” to warrant medical attention. However, be aware that some symptoms do not show up right away and the wear and tear of everyday life could cause symptoms to develop.
Be on the lookout for these symptoms after an accident:
- Neck pain or stiffness
- Limited range of motion in your neck
- Headaches, commonly near the base of the skull
- Pain or sensitivity in the back, shoulders, or upper arms
- Tingling or numbness in your arms
- Blurry vision
Most commonly, you may feel gradually increasing pain near the base of the skull or radiating down the posterior part of the neck, shoulders, and arms. If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, you may have suffered a whiplash injury and the first thing you should do is seek a health evaluation from a medical professional.
If left untreated, symptoms could get worse; not only that, if your doctor can verify that your injury was the result of an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Get in touch with a St. Louis whiplash lawyer at The Hayden Law Firm. While you get the care you need from a doctor, we will take care of you.
We handle everything, including the files needed to support your claim. It’s a good idea to keep diligent records of your medical expenses, which provides tangible evidence of how much compensation you deserve.
Long-Term Effects of Whiplash
The symptoms of whiplash can last for days, weeks, months, or even years. While some symptoms can be minor, those lasting for more than six months can have severe long-term impacts. These include:
- Chronic pain to the neck, shoulders, upper back, lower back, and jaw
- Reduced range of motion
- Consistent severe headaches
- Concentration and memory problems
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Difficulty sleeping and fatigue
- Irritability and anxiety
- Numbness or weakness in the arms or legs
- A variety of non-painful neurological symptoms
- Spinal stenosis
- General ill health
A study published in Neurology, a peer-reviewed medical journal, found that the risk of developing “chronic disability and handicap” after whiplash was as high as 50%. Furthermore, nearly 8% of study participants were unable to return to their “usual level of activity or work” one year after suffering a whiplash injury that caused pain and stiffness.
If you suffered a whiplash injury and are unable to return to a level of activity or work that you once enjoyed before, you deserve compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. You deserve justice. You deserve a caring attorney at the Hayden Law Firm.
No one should have to suffer these long-term effects due to the careless actions of another person. Get in touch with a St. Louis whiplash lawyer today.