Imagine driving your car through the city on an uneventful morning. You slowly approach an intersection when the traffic lights switch from yellow to red. But moments after you stop, the car behind you accelerates to run the red light. The other automobile slams your vehicle from behind, making your head violently rock forward and snap backward.
If that sounds painful, that’s because it’s how most whiplash injury cases happen. Whiplash injuries occur when the neck is hyperextended – such as when your head is thrown about by force. They are extremely painful, and in some cases, the symptoms can last for months.
Frequency of whiplash
Each year, about three million cases of whiplash happen in America. Most of the whiplash cases recorded were injuries from rear-end collisions, particularly collisions where the striking vehicle was moving at 14 miles per hour or less.
While neck pains following a rear-end accident are a dead giveaway for whiplash, there are other subtle hints that you’re suffering the injury. These include:
- Stiffness and difficulty in moving the neck
- Dizziness and headaches
- Pain in the back, shoulder and arms
- Blurry vision
- Memory loss
- Difficulty in sleeping
However, these symptoms can worsen depending on the following:
- Your age: Older individuals may have worse symptoms and could take longer to heal.
- Previous whiplash injuries: Consecutive whiplash incidents can lead to worse injuries.
- Pre-existing back pains and spinal issues: Any spinal issues will expose your neck to further medical complications following whiplash.
Because whiplash injuries affect soft tissues in the neck, these symptoms aren’t immediately apparent at first glance.
What to do after a whiplash injury
If you suspect you suffer from whiplash after an accident, you should immediately seek medical attention. You may also want proper medical documentation of your injuries since whiplash isn’t as visible as other traumatic injuries like cuts and fractures.
You can seek compensation for your whiplash injuries. Minnesota’s no-fault auto insurance system typically means your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage would pay for your bills. But if your medical bills exceed $4,000, or you’ve suffered from your injuries for at least 60 days, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Work with a lawyer to secure enough compensation to cover your medical expenses.