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Did You Suffer From Whiplash?

If you have been involved in a rear-end collision, you may have suffered whiplash. Although whiplash is one of the most common accident injuries incurred in rear-end collisions, it can also be difficult to diagnose because it can take weeks or even months for symptoms to appear. But exactly what is whiplash and how can it be treated? Read on for information you may need to know.

What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash, which is medically known as cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD) syndrome, is a soft tissue injury to your neck and spine that is caused by being quickly jerked back and forth. It may also be referred to as a neck strain or neck sprain.
While it is most often associated with auto accidents, whiplash can be caused by any type of trauma to your neck or head. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of whiplash include:
  • Neck stiffness and pain
  • Shoulder stiffness and pain
  • Back stiffness and pain
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness and more
In addition to these obvious symptoms, you may experience symptoms in other parts of your body. This is because the nerves located in your neck and spine control sensations throughout your body.  You may also experience:
  • Arm pain, numbness, and weakness
  • Leg pain and weakness
  • Jaw pain and more
You may also experience eye problems and tinnitus, or ringing in your ears.

Most cases of whiplash are initially diagnosed based on imaging tests such as MRIs or CT scans, while other cases may be diagnosed based on your symptoms alone.

How Is Whiplash Treated?

Most minor cases of whiplash are simply treated by allowing the body to heal itself. Pain management is usually addressed by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as Naproxen. You may be offered these under the brand names of Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn, or others. NSAIDs help to address your pain, inflammation, and your stiffness.

You may also be offered various forms of physical therapy that range from gentle stretching exercises to immobilization and traction. Your doctor may also use heat, ice, massage, and injections of steroidal drugs. If your symptoms persist, you may be referred to a chiropractor for spinal alignment and/or readjustment.

How Long Does Whiplash Last?

Unfortunately, whiplash varies from person to person. Each case is unique and different, and while most people recover over time, people with severe cases can develop whiplash associated disorders in addition to their initial physical injuries.

Associated disorders include psychological symptoms such as insomnia, depression, anger, frustration, anxiety, and stress. With severe cases, you also run the risk of drug dependency and associated posttraumatic stress syndrome.

When Should I Settle My Whiplash Case?

If you are suffering from whiplash from an accident you didn't cause, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. In Nevada, you must file your personal injury lawsuit within two years of the accident taking place.

Once your lawsuit is filed, you should not agree to settle your whiplash case with the insurance company until you have either fully recovered or reached the point that your physician is willing to state that your injuries are not going to get any better with treatment. This is referred to as your maximum medical improvement. For some people this could be a few weeks, but in more severe cases it could literally be years. 

You will want to wait so that you can more accurately cover your medical costs. For example, if your physician determines you will never fully recover, you could receive more compensation for pain and suffering. Or if you have to continue treating your whiplash symptoms for years, you will want an accurate settlement to cover those costs.

However, if you fail to wait until you are at one of these points, you run the risk of releasing the responsible party from having to pay your future costs. This means that you will then be responsible for paying these costs and you will not be reimbursed for them.

Before you settle any personal injury case, you should have the advice of a personal injury attorney. Our attorneys at Erwin & Thompson LLP have handled numerous cases of whiplash and other injury related injuries. We will review your case and give you our expert opinion on how to proceed with your whiplash case. Give us a call today so we can help you.