• News
  • Whiplash Injuries: Understanding Symptoms and Ways to Get the Compensation You Deserve

Whiplash Injuries: Understanding Symptoms and Ways to Get the Compensation You Deserve

Whiplash Injuries: Understanding Symptoms and Ways to Get the Compensation You Deserve

Whiplash injuries are more than just a mere “pain in the neck.” They can linger for years, and often result in chronic, debilitating suffering. As we noted in a previous article discussing whiplash, doctors call this type of injury a cervical acceleration/deceleration (CAD) trauma. This injury oftentimes results from the impact of an accident, forcing one’s head and neck to crack forward and almost immediately rebound backward with tremendous force. The sheer force potentially results in damage to one’s neck vertebrae, tearing vital muscles supporting the skull. It’s even possible that the whiplash motion can cause brain bleeding or lead to symptoms similar to those of a concussion. (We discussed traumatic brain injuries of this type, also known as TBIs, in another article you might wish to check out sometime.)

More than 2 million Americans annually suffer from this injury, and the most common cause is rear-end car accidents. Tragically, it’s been reported that up to 40 percent of people who’ve had whiplash injuries suffer from them for the rest of their lives. Because whiplash is so common, let’s take a few moments to answer a few questions our clients frequently ask us about this type of injury.

How is Whiplash Diagnosed?

Whiplash victims usually experience severe pain in the neck, shoulders, upper back, and can also suffer headaches, blurred vision, and other neurological symptoms. However, the root causes of their pain can be hard to pinpoint. That’s because whiplash injury symptoms mostly appear in damage to the neck’s soft tissues, such as nerves and muscles. Diagnostic experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine suggest that typical X-ray examinations don’t often reveal much about a whiplash since they focus on damage that occurs in hard tissue, such as broken or fractured bones. Instead, diagnosticians note that CT scans or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can be more effective tools in documenting the extent of whiplash injuries to soft tissue. A study by the National Library of Medicine supports that opinion, offering several case studies which demonstrate that “whiplash injuries can be visible by functional magnetic resonance imaging.” So, if you’re suffering from pain you suspect is caused by whiplash, insist that your health care providers consider performing these advanced tests. This can potentially make or break your case if you find it necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit.

When Do Whiplash Symptoms Appear… and How Long Do They Last?

Everyone is different. Some people immediately feel whiplash pain, while others don’t experience symptoms for varying periods of time after the incident. In the adrenaline rush that happens immediately following a car crash, even severe symptoms can be temporarily masked – only to emerge hours, days, or weeks later. Then, pain from whiplash injuries can persist for years or even decades afterward. A study reported by the National Institute of Health (NIH) showed that many people with symptoms from whiplash-associated disorders still had significantly higher residual arm pain, headaches, and shoulder stiffness 20 years after the original onset of their whiplash injuries.

What if Whiplash Symptoms Don’t Immediately Manifest?

If you’ve been in any kind of incident that might have caused you to experience a whiplash (or a Traumatic Brain Injury), it’s important to be tested and observed by medical professionals to properly diagnose your condition and ensure your safety. Because of the stress you’ve experienced, symptoms can initially be camouflaged, only to present themselves after you’ve had sufficient time to come down from the post-accident adrenaline rush. You should also know that whiplash symptoms can mimic those you might experience from a concussion (and vice versa), which makes it even more crucial to be checked out by health care professionals who can accurately diagnosis and treat your injuries.

Does Michigan Law Consider Whiplash a “Threshold Injury?”

It certainly can. Under Michigan law, an injury must meet a so-called “threshold” to determine if an injured person can recover against a negligent driver. Specifically, the law says any injury resulting in “serious impairment of body function, or permanent serious disfigurement” meets that standard. The insurance code goes on to define “serious impairment of body function” as any injury that “affects the injured person’s general ability to lead their normal life, meaning it has had an influence on some of the person’s capacity to live in their normal manner of living.” Whiplash injuries can absolutely satisfy those criteria, and our dedicated team can help you prove it in court.

Can I Make a Whiplash Claim if I’m a Passenger in Someone Else’s Car?

Of course. Anyone riding in a vehicle during a collision is subject to the physical forces that can result in whiplash injuries. You may be surprised to learn that whiplash can even happen at very low speeds – Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center reports that whiplash has been diagnosed in victims involved in crashes as slow as 5-10 miles per hour. Don’t fall victim to the misbelief that a low-speed collision isn’t dangerous and potentially traumatic. If you have mild symptoms – or even if you have none at all –it’s in your best interest to get checked out by a medical professional. Many people who suffer from whiplash or concussions have minimized or ignored their initial symptoms because they’ve been in shock but have paid the price later when their injuries manifest in more extreme ways.

How Long Should I Wait Before Filing a Whiplash Claim?

Not long. You’ll need sufficient time to determine the extent of your injuries – and to assess their impact on your ability to live a normal life and make a living wage. Waiting too long to act too long can lead to missing the Statute of Limitations on personal injury claims. This means it’s essential to seek medical attention quickly, and to contact a reliable personal injury attorney as soon as possible. You do not want to run into any legal barriers that could prohibit you from receiving the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

What Should I Do to Prepare for a Legal Filing for Whiplash?

Gather information about the costs you’ve incurred and any income you’ve lost following your whiplash injury. Those costs and losses can include criteria such as medical bills, prescription charges, fees for specialist visits and diagnostic testing, unpaid time due to missed work, insurance deductibles for health care and car repairs, travel costs to seek medical treatment, and more. You’ll also want to be sure to have medical records on hand showing the results of any professional assessments of your condition, in addition to test results evidencing the extent of your injuries. If law enforcement officers were present at the accident scene, their official police report can also be an essential piece of evidence to help make your legal case. We’re able to help you gather all that paperwork, handle filing requirements, and assemble documentation to get the legal ball rolling. We can also find expert witnesses to testify on your behalf in court. And it’s all done without costing you a penny — after all, we don’t get paid until you win your case!

You May Face Challenges When Making a Claim – That’s Where We Step In

Since so many Americans suffer from whiplash every year, some folks who have experienced legitimate injuries find their pain and suffering are downplayed or even dismissed by insurance companies. They may tell you to simply endure the pain and it will eventually go away. They may dismiss the severity of your symptoms or even try to tell you they’re psychosomaticDon’t let that happen to you. We’ll be happy to help you avoid the insurance company brush-off, so you’ll be taken seriously and can receive all the compensation you deserve to aid your recovery. Join thousands of smart Michiganders who’ve made the call to 855-MIKE-WINS (855-645-3946) to defend you from insurance company or contact us online 24/7.

Whiplash Injuries: Understanding Symptoms and Ways to Get the Compensation You Deserve

Content checked by Mike Morse, personal injury attorney with Mike Morse Injury Law Firm. Mike Morse is the founder of Mike Morse Law Firm, the largest personal injury law firm in Michigan. Since being founded in 1995, Mike Morse Law Firm has grown to 150 employees, served 25,000 clients, and collected more than $1 billion for victims of auto, truck and motorcycle accidents. The main office is in Southfield, MI but you can also find us in Detroit, Sterling Heights and many other locations.