People often worry about sustaining debilitating injuries after a car crash. Obviously, amputations and spinal cord injuries are real concerns for those hurt in a wreck, so this fear is not unfounded. However, less severe injuries – that are nonetheless consequential – are more common than catastrophic ones are.
For example, whiplash is far more likely to affect someone after a wreck than most other injury types are. Whiplash could lead to a lengthy leave of absence from work and major medical expenses. Sometimes, people even need help handling matters in their own homes because of the debilitating pain that they experience.
Whiplash can lead to complicated and disputed insurance claims because people may not recognize how debilitating the condition can be. Those who spot warning signs of whiplash quickly after a crash generally have an easier time securing benefits.
Symptoms vary but often involve localized pain
Whiplash is different for every person who suffers a soft tissue injury after a collision. In mild cases, whiplash primarily presents as muscle tightness and inflammation in the neck and shoulders. The pain will usually worsen when people turn their necks.
Mild whiplash symptoms may show up immediately after the crash or the next day. They will usually resolve after a few weeks. People with whiplash will notice pain or tenderness in the shoulders, upper back and arms along with pain in their necks and heads. People sometimes experience tingling or numbness in their arms, an overall sense of fatigue as their body tries to heal their wounds and even dizziness.
For some people, the pain will be worse, more extensive and longer-lasting. People may report headaches in the base of their skull and a significant reduction in their range of motion. In more severe cases, people may report blurry vision, ringing in their ears, changes in mood or personality, issues with memory, depression and problems sleeping.
Whiplash costs more than people realize
Despite the frequently dismissive attitude that people have toward whiplash and other soft tissue injuries, they can be very expensive and have dramatic consequences for people’s careers and their personal relationships.
Those who downplay their symptoms or fail to get medical treatment eventually have a harder time obtaining compensation for their injuries and lost wages. Those who are able to identify signs of whiplash in themselves and other passengers in the vehicle will have an easier time claiming compensation and seeking treatment as appropriate.
Learning more about how to screen for common injuries after a car crash will benefit anyone who regularly rides in or drives a motor vehicle. Knowing when you’ve sustained an injury will empower you to seek medical attention and legal guidance accordingly.