You’re sitting at a traffic light when you hear the screeching of brakes behind you. Before you can even brace yourself or glance in the rearview mirror, you feel the impact. Your head snaps violently backward and then rapidly forward. You have just been the victim of a rear-end crash and if you are lucky, you are not noticeably injured. However, you may not be out of the woods yet.
Incidents like the one just described can cause a condition called whiplash. The impact of a car accident can force your head back and forward, creating a whip-like motion through your neck. As a result, a strain occurs in the ligaments and muscles of the neck. Symptoms typically appear within a 24-hour period after the injury. This means that you may not be immediately aware you are suffering from the condition.
Stiffness and pain in the neck are common symptoms suffered by victims of whiplash. Other symptoms can include nausea, blurred vision and dizziness. Victims may find concentrating difficult. They could also experience fatigue, irritability or sleep difficulties.
Whiplash sufferers should immediately contact a physician if head movement causes pain or if they experience symptoms in the arms or shoulders. Weakness, tingling or numbness in the arms should also be addressed by a doctor.
The general prognosis of whiplash is actually very good. Typically only a few weeks are required for recovery. Regardless, symptoms of whiplash may require treatment. You may have to have image tests taken such as X-rays or an MRI. You could also need medications such as injections, prescription painkillers or muscle relaxants. The injury could also necessitate the wearing of a foam collar to keep the neck immobilized and to promote healing. And, chronic pain is a possibility.
Comparatively, whiplash is far from the worst kind of injury you could suffer from a car accident and treatment costs can add up. In addition, if the symptoms are severe enough, a victim may have to take time off from work to heal. If you are ever hurt in a car accident, remember that just because you feel fine in the immediate aftermath does not mean you did not suffer a whiplash injury.
If you are suffering from the symptoms of whiplash, you may be eligible for a level of compensation that can help offset your expenses. A Pennsylvania accident attorney may be able to look at your medical records and help you get the funds to aid in your recovery.