Whiplash is a nightmare to live with. As an an Auto accident lawyer Colorado road traffic accidents provide our firm with a lot of business!
Of course, it isn’t the most serious after-effects of having been in an auto accident. Whiplash is far preferable to loss of life or limb. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to live with, either. Read on to find out why you should take whiplash seriously.
Auto accident lawyer Colorado: What causes whiplash?
Whiplash is caused by sudden, unexpected and violent motion of the head. This motion can be in any direction in which the neck can move. Because of the nature of auto accidents, they are a common cause of whiplash, but you don’t need to be behind the wheel (or a passenger in a car, for that matter) to get whiplash. Other examples include from riding a roller coaster, or knocking your head particularly hard!
The problem with jerking your head backwards, forwards or to the side is that the muscles stretch and sprain. Like any sprain, it takes time to heal. But it’s more difficult to immobilise the head, and allow the neck to heal, than it is to immobilise (say) a foot. So after the initial whiplash is caused, the problem can actually be aggravated over time.
Auto accident lawyer Colorado: What are the symptoms of whiplash?
If you’ve never actually experienced whiplash, you may think that it’s ‘all in the mind’. Alternatively, you might think that it was invented purely for people who want to pursue a personal injury case! Well, the reality is anything but that.
The main symptom of whiplash is genuine, severe and debilitating pain! Your neck will hurt whenever you try to turn it, to the side or up and down. The pain in your neck can also spread to your upper back, shoulders and arms. And over time, like many kinds of pain, it can lead to headaches too.
What you might not know is that the symptoms of whiplash actually take some time to appear. Immediately after your injury, you may feel no pain at all. But over the following hours, your neck will start to ache. Over the few days following on from your accident, the pain will become far worse.
Other symptoms of whiplash include the following:
- Jaw pain, as the pain spreads from your neck
- Swelling in your neck and shoulders
- Pain from the upper to mid and lower back
- Uncontrollable muscle spasms, which aggravate your sore neck
- A gradual onset of numbness in your upper body, particularly your arms
- Dizziness, memory loss and fatigue
- Insomnia, as you can’t get comfortable enough to sleep
Auto accident lawyer Colorado: What’s the prognosis of whiplash?
This might not be what you’d like to hear, but the prognosis of whiplash is unpredictable. The vast majority of people who experience whiplash will see their symptoms subside over the course of a month or two. Over this time, the pain in your neck will gradually stop bothering you so much. It’s not a sudden shift from pain to comfort, but a gradual recovery.
For others, though, recovery might take longer. In fact, it could take years. Studies indicate that a person’s responses to both physiological and psychological stressors are a significant predictor of how long recovery from whiplash might take.
The time that recovery takes depends on a number of factors. First, it depends on how long it took you to report your symptoms to your doctor. If you tried to bear the pain for a week or so before finally asking for help, then you may have made your injury worse. But if you told your doctor that you were suffering with whiplash, and they provided a neck brace for you to wear, then your recovery time should be drastically cut down.
Auto accident lawyer Colorado: How does whiplash aid my case?
Whether or not you suffered from serious whiplash can affect how much you’re able to claim in a car accident settlement. Your insurance company will want to downplay the seriousness of your injuries. That’s because the better you feel, the less they’ll have to give you! That’s why so many people turn to personal injury attorneys rather than rely on insurance.
A personal injury lawyer can tell you that the value of your claim depends at least in part on the amount of medical treatment you receive. That’s because the person who caused your injuries made you need treatment that you wouldn’t otherwise have needed- and they should foot the bill, because that’s only fair. So the amount of money you receive in a personal injury claim because of your whiplash will reflect the amount of money that you spent to treat it.
But it isn’t just a simple reflection, where you spent $3,000 on medical bills, and get $3,000 from your claim. Rather, the medical expenses will work as multipliers on the amount you’ll be able to settle for, because they boost your negotiating position. If all you suffered was a sore thumb, then you can hardly ask for a cent; but if you suffered extensive injuries, including whiplash, then you’ll be able to ask for far more.
In short, there isn’t one easy answer as to how much whiplash might be ‘worth’ in a personal injury case. But you’ll receive more if you suffered through it, than if you didn’t!