Whiplash is a common result of car accidents, especially if you are rear-ended by another vehicle. If you have suffered whiplash as a result of a motor vehicle accident, you need to talk to car accident attorney Jim Leach. Jim and his team have years of experience getting results for people whose insurance companies have denied claims or offered inadequate coverage for car accident expenses and damages.
Call our offices today and let Jim Leach personal injury attorneys walk you through your options. There is no charge to talk to Jim about your case, and we don’t charge attorney’s fees unless and until we recover compensation for you. If all you need is a little advice, we are happy to provide that for no charge. If your case requires assistance from a lawyer, we are prepared to put our experience, resources and persistence to work for you.
If you have a serious case, here is why you need a serious lawyer like Jim Leach:
- He tailors his service to your needs, whether in consultations, at the negotiating table, or in the courtroom.
- He has a lot of courtroom experience and is not afraid to take a case to trial.
- Jim is a former prosecutor and has strong community ties, and plenty of experience taking on big insurance companies.
- Our advanced case management system keeps your case moving forward so that nothing falls between the cracks.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a colloquial term for an injury to the soft tissue of the neck, caused by a force that pushes the neck beyond its normal range of motion. Doctors call this injury a neck sprain or neck strain. Spinal vertebrae, intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, cervical muscles and nerve roots may be damaged by the impact.
Whiplash can be very painful and disabling. Usually the symptoms last for weeks or months, and the range of motion and flexibility of your neck and shoulders may be limited during that time. In some cases, whiplash causes permanent or long-lasting damage.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Symptoms of whiplash may include the following:
- Neck swelling
- Pain or tenderness in neck and shoulders or between shoulder blades
- Pain in lower back
- Pain or numbness in arm or hand
- Muscle spasms in back, shoulders or neck
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep disturbances
- Vision disturbances or tinnitus (ringing in the ears) in severe cases
- Jaw tightness or difficulty chewing
Causes of Whiplash in Car Accidents
Whiplash is caused by an abnormal motion or force to the neck, such as that involved in the abrupt stop of a car accident, which can cause neck movement beyond the normal range of motion. This movement can cause a flexion-extension motion of the neck, straining the muscles and ligaments in the neck and shoulders.
Whiplash injuries may occur even if the speeds of the cars involved in the accident are very low and the occupants wear seat belts.
Some studies have found that there is decreased likelihood of whiplash in cases where the person affected is aware of the impending impact beforehand, and therefore can mentally or physically prepare for the crash. For example, some studies have shown that a passenger in a struck vehicle is likely to sustain a greater whiplash injury than the driver, who is more likely to see the coming impact moments before in the rearview mirror.
How Whiplash is Treated
Whiplash does not have an easy fix, but some options for treating the resulting pain and swelling are:
- Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). For example, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium.
- Gentle exercise. Whiplash used to be treated with a cervical collar to immobilize the neck in the past, but that has been found to be less effective than allowing gentle movement not long after the injury.
- Ice. Applying ice to the injury during the first 24 hours helps reduce swelling.
Long-Term Consequences of Whiplash
After a whiplash injury, most people recover within a few months. However, some people never totally recover from the whiplash, and experience chronic neck and/or shoulder pain as well as other potential complications.
Complications that may occur in the long term as a result of whiplash include:
- Chronic pain. If a whiplash or neck strain injury does not completely heal, the result may be chronic pain in the affected area.
- Cognitive dysfunction. In some cases, whiplash may cause a permanent problem with working memory, attention or concentration.
- Joint dysfunction. Joints in the spine or limbs may lose their normal ability to absorb shock, which could lead to joint pain or a restricted range of movement.
- Disc herniation. A whiplash accident may injure the discs between the vertebrae, which can irritate a spinal nerve root, causing a herniated disc. Herniated discs can be accompanied by sharp pains in the arm, numbness, and muscle weakness.
- Changes in muscle coordination. In some whiplash cases, the nervous system may undergo an adaption in the coordinated function of muscles.
Types of Compensation Available for People Who Suffer Whiplash in Crashes
Whiplash injuries from car accidents can lead to extensive medical expenses and loss of income and quality of life, depending on the severity of the injury and its long-term effects. Compensation may be available for your medical expenses and change in quality of life or earning potential through a settlement with the insurance company of the person who caused the car accident that resulted in your injuries.
Most settlements that insurance companies initially offer to accident victims do too little to cover the financial hardship that they face. When car accidents are caused by the negligence of another person, that person can and should be held responsible for your damages.
If you or a loved one has suffered whiplash in a car accident in Parkersburg or the surrounding areas of West Virginia and Ohio, please contact experienced car accident attorney Jim Leach today to schedule a free initial consultation. Jim has served the people of Parkersburg and surrounding communities for many years, and he is a serious lawyer who gets serious results.