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Whiplash is the butt of many jokes – stories are replete of accident victims exaggerating the extent of their injuries by claiming they have neck pain stemming from whiplash. Some of the time though, they’re claiming a minor fender bender was the cause of their difficulties.
Although there are always those who are trying to get a quick buck at someone else’s expense, whiplash can be the source of long-term pain and can even develop into a disorder known as Degenerative Disc Disease.
First a definition – whiplash can be defined as a soft tissue injury that occurs when the head and neck are violently thrown forward and back again outside the normal range of motion. Besides neck tissue, whiplash can also cause damage to joints, discs, muscles and nerve roots. The vast majority of these injuries are caused by rear-end collisions but can occur due to any sudden impact.
One more important point to understand – many mistakenly view whiplash as the injury when in fact it’s the cause of an injury. The injuries themselves have several names, including neck strain and neck sprain.
Whatever you call it, whiplash can have both physical and psychological impacts, including:
While most injuries caused by whiplash heal quickly, some incidents can cause more serious conditions like fracture/dislocation of the vertebra (…which can cause temporary paralysis and nerve damage) or Degenerative Disc Disease.
Treatments for injuries caused by whiplash depend on the severity and other individual factors. Pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants and even anti-depressants may be prescribed. Doctors may also provide you with a cervical collar to limit how much you can move your neck.
Depending on your situation, they may order you to undergo range-of-motion exercises and physical therapy.
Filing a lawsuit and collecting damages
If you’ve sustained an injury caused by whiplash and someone else’s negligence, you should seek legal advice immediately. The statute of limitations (…how long you have to file a case) for car accident cases in Colorado is 3 years.
Like we said earlier, many injuries caused by whiplash are relatively minor and heal quickly.
But there are some instances where the full impacts of the injury will not appear for months or even years.
This is why documentation matters so much.
If you’re in a car accident and sustain an injury caused by whiplash, you should see a doctor immediately and keep careful records. These records will be instrumental in demonstrating your costs and lost time from work among other things.
What if I had neck pain prior to my car accident? Will I qualify for additional compensation due to my pre-existing condition?
It’s possible but in a general sense, a person who is negligent is only liable for the damages they caused. If you can prove the accident aggravated the old injury and caused pain to return, you can seek compensation. For example, if you had a previous neck injury but were free of pain but any new incidents could permanently disable you, the defendant (…negligent party) will be fully liable.
Of course, records from any prior injuries will be instrumental in proving this should you decide to pursue a claim.
The best way to determine if you have grounds for a claim is to contact a car accident attorney in Colorado to discuss your case. R. Mack Babcock and associates at the Babcock Law Firm possess extensive experience in helping accident victims obtain compensation for medical expenses and property damage.
Don’t wait another day to discuss your case too. Each day that goes by is one day closer to the statute of limitations. Contact R. Mack Babcock and his team of Denver car accident attorneys at the Babcock Law Firm today for a free consultation.