How do I know if I have whiplash and what is it?

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Whiplash is a well known injury label, but how can you tell if the injury you sustained is indeed whiplash?

Diagnosing Whiplash

Just because you have been in a car accident (or any other accident that violently jolts you), it doesn’t necessarily follow that you will suffer from whiplash.  However, it is common for car accident victims to suffer symptoms that medical experts agree are best defined as whiplash.  Unfortunately, those who stand against the personal injury claim point of view and the rights of claimants to pursue their claim have worked hard to push their line that whiplash is a made up injury and helped fuel the ‘Compensation Culture‘ myth.  Those of us who have suffered with such injuries (I have personal experience of severe whiplash after a nasty non-fault car accident in 1998 from which I have never really recovered to my pre-accident health levels) know just how debilitating and uncomfortable it can be.

Of course, it is not the job of a claimant to diagnose an injury, that is where medical experts come in.  As with all claims, you will need to prove your injury and it’s cause to enable your Solicitor to succeed with your claim (your Solicitor will help with this!) and this is why it is vital that you seek medical attention following an injury.  There are standard tests that Doctors can use to diagnose whiplash and certain treatments and rehabilitation practices that can aide recovery.

What is Whiplash?

As common an injury as whiplash is thought to be, most people think of it is simply a pain in the neck, yet it can be much more than that.  Caused by the hyper extension of major and minor muscles within the spinal area (most commonly in the neck/shoulder region) after a sudden jolt or violet movement, whiplash is a phrase used to cover the injury to the muscles and soft tissues around the spine.  Such injuries could be the case following a car accident, sporting accident or even an accident at work.  Whiplash injuries can be minor through to extreme in severity.

In minor cases, a person suffering whiplash is likely to have stiffness in the neck, a feeling of weakness and pain from simply supporting their head and perhaps discomfort when turning their head in one particular direction.  These symptoms are painful and upsetting, but you should expect to recover within 4-8 weeks from the date of the accident.  In more severe cases, symptoms will include those just stated, but could also include pins and needles in the arms, a loss of sensation in the hands and fingers, severe headaches, loss of balance, lack of sleep, lower back and even leg pain.  In the more severe of cases, symptoms can last many months or indeed be permanent.  Of course, the more severe the symptoms, the greater the value of a settlement, should you be successful with a claim for personal injury compensation.

If you think that you are suffering from whiplash injuries or you know someone suffering with ongoing weakness, pain and discomfort following an accident, seek medical expert attention.  If your GP concludes whiplash, then you should not be ashamed to seek compensation for the pain and distress.  You could also get some additional rehabilitation therapy and recover more quickly than you otherwise may have.

In all cases, we advise that you find an expert Solicitor to assist you with a claim for personal injury compensation.

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