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 a common injury associated with car accidents. They can range in severity from soft tissue injuries to more serious nerve and spine damage. Whiplash is one of the most common types of neck trauma.
Thousands of individuals suffer from whiplash injuries every year. Many individuals believe their pain will go away and fail to seek proper medical attention immediately. This can lead to a lifetime of pain and other chronic conditions. If you have been in a St. Louis car accident, it is critical that you obtain medical attention to ensure your whiplash injury is properly treated.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash injuries occur when violent motions force your neck into extreme positions. The word whiplash is not a medical term. Cervical acceleration-deceleration actually describes the injury. It is a hyperextension of the neck and is associated most commonly with auto accidents. In fact, it is one of the main injuries that are covered by insurance companies. We have experience helping those who have suffered a whiplash injury in all types of accidents, including:
No matter what type of car accident you were involved in, you should seek medical attention in order to determine the extent of the damage done to your body. We can help you get in touch with the right doctors as well as begin building your case for recovery immediately.
The head, supported by the neck, bounces ahead in flexion, causing the extended cervical spine to stretch, tear, or cause sudden strain on the muscles, bones, and nerves situated in the neck. This movement of the head and body results in the brain hitting against the skull encasing the brain, leading to injury. The seriousness of a whiplash injury depends on the severity of the symptoms and damage caused to the accident 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 obvious 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 it’s symptoms are similar to that of a migraine.
- Should 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 persons shoulder.
- Dizziness – This symptom could range from a feeling of lightheadedness to vertigo, where you feel like the room is spinning. This may be a result of 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 patients 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
Upon arriving at an emergency room after a car accident, you will be examined by a physician for any injury needing immediate treatment. You will be asked for the details of the accident, and once hearing that you were struck from behind, the physician may focus attention on the neck area. Since whiplash is a soft tissue injury, an MRI may be used to determine the extent of the injury.
You will likely have the neck immobilized using a cervical collar in order to prevent further damage and to force the tissue to stay in its rightful position. Pain medications may also be administered along with a course of physical therapy designed to reduce the swelling, ease the pain, and restore mobility. How severe the whiplash injury is will determine the extent and length of the therapy needed.
Stages of Whiplash Associated Disorder
WAD is categorized into 4 stages of severity.
- WAD I – The least serious condition and has the potential to resolve in a short period of time with treatment.
- WAD II – Injuries include signs of musculoskeletal damage, affecting a person’s range of motion and point tenderness. Recovery can be seen within four to six weeks with physio and massage therapy or chiropractic care.
- WAD III – This stage of whiplash is considered more serious because of additional complications. Some symptoms can be permanent, leaving a victim’s ability to return to normalcy compromised.
- WAD IV – Injuries are distinguished by a fracture or dislocation of the neck and is an extremely serious condition that almost always causes permanent damage. Even with lengthy medical care and physical therapy, there is no guarantee of complete recovery.
Recovering from Whiplash Associated Disorder
Prognosis of WAD I and II with proper therapy and medical care is excellent and victims usually recover within 4 to 6 weeks. However, there are some cases that do not resolve at all, due to factors such as age and physical health.
In the case of WAD III, the recovery period is lengthier and more complicated due to additional complications. Damages and disorders such as neurological issues or headaches can become permanent. WAD IV victims often have to live with ongoing restrictions and lifelong limitations.
Other Types of Neck Injuries
Whiplash is not the only type of neck injury that can occur in a car accident. There are many components of the neck that 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:
- Neck Sprain
- Pinched Nerve
- Herniated Disc
- Neck Strain
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 types of pain management. Even with minor neck injuries, the medical costs can still be expensive.
When Delayed Symptoms Occur
In addition to the negative health consequences that can occur from delayed symptoms, there is also the insurance aspect to take into consideration. Many people end up paying out-of-pocket for their medical expenses when accident-related injuries, like delayed whiplash, don’t show up right away. This is especially true if a person settles with the insurance company right away.
Therefore, it is wise not to be in a hurry to sign any kind of release of liability forms. Instead, there needs to be time allotted to see if any delayed symptoms reveal themselves. This is why seeking appropriate medical attention right after being in an accident is such a good idea. Not only does this help from an insurance aspect, but a person will have an improved chance of a more complete and rapid recovery.
Contact a 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.