If you've been in a car or bike accident, there's a good chance that you have whiplash. This injury occurs when your head and neck are suddenly jerked backward and forward. Whiplash can be extremely painful and have a negative effect on your health and quality of life.
How Do I Know If I Have Whiplash After A Car Crash?
Sometimes, car crash victims know immediately that there's something wrong. You may get out of the car with intense pain and tenderness in your neck or upper back, difficulty turning your head from side to side. or headaches that begin at the back of your head.
However, if you've been in a car crash, you may not feel any injury for up to twelve hours afterward. Your body produces adrenaline and endorphins to help protect you after the sudden shock. You might even go to sleep that night feeling fine and wake up in the morning feeling like you can't move your neck.
Because your body can send you mixed signals, it's a good idea to get checked out by a doctor after surviving a car accident. Doctors are able to take X-rays, CT scans or MRIs to understand what's going on in your body. They may also discover more serious physical injuries, such as a concussion.
Related article; Common injuries from a head-on collision
How Can I Treat My Whiplash?
The good news is that whiplash, although painful, will heal on its own over time. There are some steps you can take to help speed recovery, ease the symptoms, and improve the quality of your life.
Your doctor may prescribe medication or suggest specific over-the-counter (OTC) medicine to manage the pain. Muscle relaxants can help loosen tight muscles, which will increase recovery and help manage your pain as well. Intermittently applying heating or cooling pads at home may also help with relaxing your muscles and managing your pain.
After the accident, you might work with a physical therapist to help increase your range of motion and build up your muscles to avoid reinjury. Massage therapists, acupuncturists, and chiropractors can also help you treat sore muscles and manage pain caused by whiplash.
Your PT and doctor may suggest head and shoulder exercises for you to do at home, such as rolling your shoulders forward and backward, rotating your neck, and tilting your head side to side.
With TLC (tender loving care), you should be able to manage and treat your whiplash symptoms so that you can resume your normal lifestyle.
What Are My Legal Options, If I Have Whiplash After A Car Accident?
You may be entitled to compensation for your whiplash injury. California allows plaintiffs to file a personal injury lawsuit up to two years after the date of the injury. However, even if you don't want to go to court, you can still reach a settlement with the other driver's insurance company.
People with whiplash injuries are normally able to recover expenses related to:
- Medical care and treatment, including tests, medication, doctor's visits, or therapist appointments,
- Lost wages due to time off work recovering from and treating the whiplash injury,
- Expenses directly incurred due to the injury or treatment of the injury, such as paying or parking at your doctor's office or childcare expenses while you are at physical therapy, and
- Non-economic damages stemming from your decreased quality of life while recovering from your physical injuries. Commonly referred to as “pain and suffering,” this type of damage is meant to compensate you for sleepless nights, aches, and the hassle of dealing with your whiplash injury.
Car accident victims are also generally able to recover expenses related to repairing or replacing personal property damaged or destroyed during a car accident.
There are some steps you can take to increase your potential settlement amount. First, you should visit a doctor soon after the car accident. In addition to receiving a proper diagnosis and being able to start treatment right away, you will create a medical record of your whiplash injury near the time of the accident.
Second, keep copies of all expenses from your doctor, pharmacist, and therapist while recovering from your whiplash injury. The more money you can prove you spent on recovering from the car crash, the more money you can request from the insurance company to compensate you for the accident.
Contact a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney
Finally, consider having an experienced California personal injury attorney in your corner to guide you through the settlement process. At the Law Offices of Freeman & Freeman, we have spent the past 50 years helping people get compensated for their whiplash injuries. If you are suffering from whiplash and want to know what your legal options are, please contact us by calling (707) 575-7141 to set up an initial consultation today.