By far, the most common injury resulting from car accidents is whiplash. In fact, 80% of car crash injuries involve whiplash. It’s a neck injury that’s caused when the head is unexpectedly thrown either backward by acceleration or forward by deceleration. The acceleration/deceleration in car accidents is typically abrupt, which will cause the head to jerk and be stretched beyond its normal range of motion, thereby straining the muscles and ligaments of the neck. Extreme whiplash symptoms can even cause fractures to the neck vertebrae.
No matter how fast or how slow you were going, a whiplash injury can happen in any type of car accident. Although a full recovery is likely, these injuries are incredibly painful and may necessitate prolonged time off work in order to recover. This means you’ll need to rely on insurance to pay your bills. What happens if your insurance company refuses to pay your claim? Then you’re going to need an experienced Houston car accident lawyer to help you get the compensation that you deserve. That’s when you need to turn to whiplash injury lawyers at de Lachica Law Firm, PLLC.
The Extent of Damage from a Whiplash Injury
Most commonly, a whiplash injury is the result of a rear-end traffic collision, rather than a side impact or head-on collision, although that is possible. In the event of a car accident, kinetic energy will keep the bodies in the car moving forward. Because of restraints such as seat belts, the body will stop while the head will continue to move. This unnatural movement of the neck commonly results in hypertension injuries. Depending on the severity of the impact and how fast both vehicles were traveling, the extent of the whiplash injury will differ.
The most serious whiplash injury can cause traumatic brain injuries. In some instances, the brain may swell or a bleed can form. Both can be potentially life-threatening.
Those who receive a whiplash injury will need expensive tests, such as an X-ray or CT scan, to learn the extent of the damage. In severe cases, doctors may examine and monitor brain function in order to ascertain whether there was damage.
Consequences of a Whiplash Injury
Whiplash symptoms are not always immediately recognized. If you are involved in a car accident, your natural physiological responses and the “heat of the moment” may not allow you to recognize the signs of injury. But over the days following the car accident, you might experience:
- Tightness and stiffness in the neck
- A dully and achy neck pain
- Problems with balance and equilibrium
- Back pain
- Memory problems
- Difficulty with concentration
If you are suffering from a whiplash injury, a car accident lawyer will most likely refer you to a medical specialist for treatment rather than a general physician. You may be referred to a back and neck expert, chiropractor or neurologist. Treatment for whiplash from such medical specialists can include immobilization of the neck (with a brace or cervical collar), range-of-motion and physical therapy, muscle relaxants, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and massage therapy. In a severe case of a whiplash injury, where muscle or ligament damage is extensive, cervical traction and even surgery may be necessary.
In some cases, recovery from a whiplash injury can take as little as two to three weeks, and in most instances it will take three months for whiplash victims to completely recover. More serious cases can last for a year or more, and in rare situations, a severe whiplash injury can result in a chronic pain condition that may last for decades.
Diagnosing a Cervical Acceleration / Deceleration (CAD) Injury
Cervical acceleration / deceleration injuries most commonly result in trauma to the deep anterior neck muscles. When a muscle is “strained,” it is slightly torn. When a ligament is “sprained,” it is stretched or torn. This can be incredibly painful, as the ligaments in the neck are responsible for maintaining a comfortable curve of the neck. Most neck injuries of this nature will simply involve micro-tears, but more serious hypertension will result in larger tears or even fractures. Many car accident victims, even after healing, will experience what is known as “myospasm.” This symptom involves the sudden contraction of the neck muscles which can often be painful.
Whiplash Sustained in a Front Impact Crash
Front impact crashes have a higher risk of serious injury and death. Whiplash resulting from a head-on collision can cause injury to the upper cervical spine and hyperextension. Severe strain of this nature can leave a victim suffering from tension headaches, migraines and even vision problems for some time after the neck has healed. The extent of the injuries can also depend on what type of vehicle the individual was traveling in. The size of both vehicles can have a tremendous impact on both the nature and severity of the injuries. Airbags are required in vehicles for safety purposes, but they can actually cause additional injuries due to their impact when deployed.
Get the Help of a Compassionate Houston Whiplash Injury Lawyer
If you have been involved in an automobile accident or other incident that caused you to suffer a whiplash injury, it is crucial you receive medical attention immediately. Make sure to also contact an experienced personal injury lawyer shortly after to guarantee that your legal rights are protected. Houston whiplash injury lawyer Erica de Lachica will be able to tell you whether someone was negligent or reckless in causing harm to you, and whether you might be able to collect damages to cover your losses. If you think someone was at fault in an accident you were involved in, you should have the facts of your claim reviewed by a car accident lawyer at de Lachica Law Firm, PLLC, for free as soon as possible.