Whiplash Lawyers & Whiplash Lawyer St. Louis
A neck injury resulting from a car accident is potentially serious. It can require costly surgery and long-term rehabilitation.
Neck injuries are an all-too-common result of St. Louis car accidents, ranging from mild soft tissue injuries to more severe nerve and spine damage. Whiplash is one of the most prevalent among these injuries and can cause debilitating pain and long-term consequences.
Shockingly, despite the severity of whiplash injuries, many victims mistakenly believe that their pain will simply go away on its own. Unfortunately, failing to seek proper medical attention immediately can result in chronic pain and other serious conditions that can last a lifetime.
If you have been involved in a car accident in St. Louis and suspect you may be suffering from whiplash, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. Prompt diagnosis and treatment can make a world of difference in your recovery and help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash injuries occur when your neck is subjected to sudden, violent motions that force it into extreme positions. While “whiplash” is commonly used, the actual medical term for the injury is cervical acceleration-deceleration, which refers to the hyperextension of the neck. This type of injury is frequently associated with car accidents, making it one of the primary injuries covered by insurance companies. We have experience helping those who have suffered a whiplash injury in all types of accidents, including:
Regardless of the type of accident you were involved in, seeking medical attention is critical to assessing the extent of your injuries and beginning the recovery process.
When your head is forced forward in flexion, the extended cervical spine can experience stretching, tearing, or sudden strain on your neck muscles, bones, and nerves. This movement of the head and body results in the brain hitting against the skull encasing the brain and leading to injury. The severity of a whiplash injury varies depending on the extent of the symptoms and damage sustained by the victim.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Some individuals who suffer from whiplash feel a little discomfort, while others may be in constant pain and experience many other symptoms including:
- Neck pain – This is often a result of swelling. When ligaments, tendons, and muscles are over-extended, swelling often results. In the case of some, neck pain may only be apparent when they try to move their head or neck.
- Headache – A mild headache after a car accident may be expected. However, a persistent headache may be a result of damage to an upper cervical disc. Medically this is referred to as a cervicogenic headache, and its symptoms are similar to a migraine.
- Shoulder pain – Recent estimates claim that 26% of those suffering from whiplash also suffer pain in their shoulder or between their shoulder blades. Of these, 5% suffer from impingement syndrome. This painful condition affects muscles in the rotator cuff of a person’s shoulder.
- Dizziness – This symptom could range from lightheadedness to vertigo, where you feel like the room is spinning. This may result from an interruption of normal blood flow through the neck.
- Fatigue – This may be caused by chronic pain disturbing your sleep.
- Arm pain – The pain or weakness in a whiplash patient’s arm may be caused by a nerve compression resulting from a herniated disc or a muscle spasm that occurred in the neck after the impact may cause referred pain and tingling to the arms.
- Visual and Hearing Problems – Some car accident victims suffering from whiplash report having sensitivity to light or seeing spots of light. Ringing in the ears is also commonly reported.
- Lower Back pain – If a disc or the facet joint is injured, it can radiate down to the lower back.
Diagnosing and Treating Whiplash
After a car accident, the first stop for many victims is the emergency room, where a physician will conduct a thorough examination to assess any injuries requiring immediate attention. If you were rear-ended, the physician might pay particular attention to your neck area, as whiplash is a common soft tissue injury associated with this type of collision.
An MRI may be used in addition to a physical examination to determine the extent of the injury. The neck may be immobilized using a cervical collar to prevent further damage and encourage proper healing. Pain medication may also be prescribed, along with a physical therapy regimen designed to alleviate pain, reduce swelling, and restore mobility. The severity of the whiplash injury will generally dictate the length and extent of the required therapy.
Stages of Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD)
Whiplash-associated disorder (WAD) is a condition that can be categorized into four stages of severity.
- At WAD I, the condition is the least severe and typically responds well to treatment, with a short recovery period.
- WAD II is characterized by musculoskeletal damage, which can limit the range of motion and cause tenderness at specific points. Patients often see significant improvements within four to six weeks with proper treatment, including physiotherapy, massage therapy, or chiropractic care.
- In WAD III, the injury is more serious, and additional complications may arise. Some symptoms can be long-lasting and may hinder the victim’s ability to return to normal activities.
- WAD IV is the most severe stage, involving fractures or dislocations of the neck. This condition almost always causes permanent damage, despite the best medical care and physical therapy.
It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you suspect you may have WAD, as early intervention can make a significant difference in recovery.
Recovering from Whiplash Associated Disorder
The prognosis for WAD I and II is generally excellent, with proper therapy and medical care. Most victims will recover within four to six weeks. However, certain factors, such as age and physical health, can affect recovery. In some cases, the injury may not resolve completely.
In contrast, WAD III is a more complex condition with a longer and more complicated recovery period, often involving additional complications such as neurological issues and headaches that can become permanent.
WAD IV is the most severe form of the condition, and victims may experience ongoing restrictions and lifelong limitations. In these cases, even with extensive medical care and physical therapy, complete recovery is not guaranteed. It is crucial to seek proper medical attention as soon as possible following a whiplash injury, as early intervention can significantly improve the chances of a full recovery.
Other Types of Neck Injuries
Whiplash is not the only type of neck injury that can occur in a car accident. Many components of the neck can become damaged. However, some of these injuries may not show up for a few days or weeks after an accident. Also, some neck injuries can manifest in other areas of the body, like in your arms or hands. Some of these other neck injuries include:
After an accident, you may experience neck pain (cervicalgia), headaches, and pain in your shoulders, arms, or hands. Numbness and weakness may also occur. Some of these injuries may be minor but may require therapy and other pain management. Even with minor neck injuries, medical costs can still be expensive.
When Delayed Symptoms Occur
Delayed symptoms after an accident, like whiplash, can lead to adverse health consequences. They can also have an impact on insurance coverage. It’s common for people to end up paying medical expenses out-of-pocket if they settle with the insurance company before delayed injuries surface. That’s why it’s important to avoid rushing into signing a release of liability form. Allowing time to observe and seek medical attention can increase the chances of identifying delayed symptoms and ensure adequate insurance coverage. Seeking prompt medical attention also improves the chance of a complete and speedy recovery.
Why Hire a Whiplash Lawyer After an Accident?
Whiplash injuries can be painful and debilitating, resulting in significant medical expenses and lost income. If you’ve been involved in a St. Louis car accident and suffered a whiplash injury, it’s essential to consider hiring a whiplash lawyer to help you navigate the legal process and get the compensation you deserve.
A qualified St. Louis whiplash lawyer will have the legal knowledge and experience to help you file a claim and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. They understand Missouri personal injury laws and can help ensure you receive a fair settlement for your injuries.
Hiring a whiplash lawyer can also increase your chances of a successful claim and provide peace of mind during a stressful time. They can handle the legal aspects of your claim, allowing you to focus on your recovery without the added stress of dealing with insurance companies and legal proceedings.
Contact a St. Louis Whiplash Attorney
If you have been involved in an accident and have sustained whiplash injuries, contact The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. for assistance at (314) 361-4242. We offer free consultations in all personal injury cases, and you never pay attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you.
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