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You may be familiar with the signs and posters of a person holding their neck and a statement at the bottom about whiplash. While whiplash is a common injury it often gets a bad reputation and tends to be the source of many jokes. However, whiplash injuries can be a serious medical emergency and may result in permanent damages. While insurance companies will try to reduce their costs by downplaying your injury you may be facing a mountain of bills from your accident and may not be sure how or why you should have to pay for them.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in an auto accident, you could be entitled to significant compensation for your pain, suffering, and medical expenses. To speak confidentially about your case with an experienced auto accident lawyer, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law right away at (479) 251-7767, or contact us online.
What are Whiplash Injuries?
Whiplash injuries generally result from a sudden or excessive hyperextension, hyperflexion, or rotation of the neck, which causes neck pain and other symptoms. These injuries often result from a traffic accident, particularly rear-end accidents. However, whiplash injuries can be caused by other accidents such as sports injuries, falls, or even when a person is assaulted. Whiplash injuries can be quite complex and may include a variety of related problems, such as:
- Bone fractures – Anytime there is a trauma to the body and the neck there is a chance that any one of the seven bones that make up the cervical vertebrae could break. There are seven cervical vertebrae that from the bones of the neck. Any injury to these bones can result in severe pain, paralysis, and even death. In addition to fractures in the neck, cervical dislocations can also occur wherein a ligament in the neck is injured causing instability.
- Joint dysfunction – Between each of the vertebrae, there are small structures called facet joints, which help stabilize the body from falling over or overextending. These joints can be injured and cause an incredible amount of pain and discomfort. Treating these injuries can be complex and may even require surgery.
Whenever the neck is subject to a sudden or excessive hyperextension, hyperflexion, or rotation of the neck there is the possibility that a person can develop whiplash. According to the article Course and prognostic factors for neck pain in whiplash-associated disorders (WAD): results of the Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2008 Feb 15;33(4 Suppl):S83-92. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181643eb8. Whiplash-associated disorders (WAD) can be classified by the severity of signs and symptoms:
- Grade 0: no complaints or physical signs.
- Grade 1: indicates neck complaints but no physical signs.
- Grade 2: indicates neck complaints and musculoskeletal signs.
- Grade 3: neck complaints and neurological signs.
- Grade 4: neck complaints and fracture/dislocation:
- Most cervical spine fractures occur predominantly at two levels – at the level of C2 or at C6 or C7.
- Most fatal cervical spine injuries occur in upper cervical levels, either at the craniocervical junction C1, or at C2.
However the symptoms of whiplash can be quite extensive and include the following:
- Neck pain, jaw pain, paraspinal muscle tightness, and spasm. Neck pain usually develops shortly after the accident and may worsen and peak 1-2 days after the event. Neck pain may refer to the shoulder or arm.
- Interscapular and low back pain.
- Muscle spasm.
- Reduced range of movements and neck tenderness.
- A headache, fatigue, dizziness, vertigo, blurring of vision, nausea.
- Numbness in shoulders and arms. Paraesthesia and weakness in the arms and legs – depending on presence and site of any cord contusion.
- There may be retropharyngeal swelling and dysphagia.
- Insomnia, anxiety (general anxiety and/or travel anxiety when in a car) or depression.
- Leg weakness, hyperactive tendon reflexes in the legs, upgoing plantar response, and/or sphincter disturbance, suggest damage to the spinal cord.
- Arm weakness or numbness suggests injury or entrapment to the nerve roots of the cervical spine.
As you can tell the symptoms of whiplash injuries are quite extensive and may surprise you. However, anyone who has ever slept on the neck wrong knows just how pivotal the neck is to daily motion. While many of these injuries are minor and can heal on their own in time, some of these injuries are more severe. As noted above in addition to the physical injuries, whiplash injuries have been associated with increased levels of anxiety, which may hinder a person from participating in activities that they once enjoyed.
What Damages can you Receive from a Whiplash Injury in Arkansas?
Going to the doctor can be an expensive experience and one that can leave you feeling frustrated. Listed as some of the tests that doctors should employ to diagnose whiplash include the following test:
- Cervical Spine X- Rays
- Cervical Spine CT scanning
- Cervical Spine MRI scanning
As you know, medical exams are very expensive, particularly when a doctor has to run multiple tests to determine the extent of an injury. If you have been injured you probably are curious about what types of damages and compensation you can recover. Generally speaking, in a personal injury action, the main category of damages or compensation that a person can receive are known as compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate you for the damages and injury you experienced. These can include:
- Wages lost due to you injury
- Reduced future earning potential because of the injury
- Damage to property
- Hospital bills
- Bill for medical devices
- Physical therapy bills
- Depending on the circumstances other types of damages may be available.
As noted above, insurance companies and even other people who are involved in the accident will try to downplay your injuries as if they are not a big deal. However, as you can see from the information provided above, whiplash injuries can cause severe and permanent injuries.
Experienced Springdale Whiplash Attorney, Ken Kieklak
If you or someone you love has been hurt in an auto accident and now is suffering from a whiplash injury, you could be entitled to significant compensation for your pain, suffering, and medical expenses. To speak confidentially about your case with an experienced auto accident lawyer, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law right away at (479) 251-7767, or contact us online.