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Car Accident Whiplash Injury Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Every major city in Florida has experienced an increase in the annual number of car accidents. In fact, a rapidly growing population combined with an increase in the number of tourists that visit Broward County, Florida have contributed to the rise in the number of car accidents. In 2018, Broward County led the state in the number of car accidents, with the county taking up more than 10 percent of all crashes in the Sunshine State. Broward County experienced an increase in auto collisions of nearly nine percent over the previous year’s number of car accidents.
Car accidents cause a wide variety of injuries, ranging from minor cuts and bruises to long-lasting brain trauma. As one of the most common outcomes of auto collisions, whiplash injuries can linger for months, even years depending on the power of an auto crash. Whiplash represents a neck injury that develops when a strong impact forces the neck to move in a back-and-forth motion. The nerves, muscles, and ligaments that allow the neck to move stretch beyond the normal limit, which causes intense pain. Whiplash injuries typically result from rear-end collisions, but any type of impact can cause the nerves, muscles, and ligaments in the neck area to stretch too far.
If you were involved in a car accident that produced whiplash injuries, you might be eligible to receive compensation to pay for medical bills, as well as the income lost because you cannot work. At Morgan & Morgan, we have spent more than 30 years recovering monetary damages for our clients that exceed $14 billion. Many of our personal injury cases involve auto collisions, with whiplash injuries a common painful result in which medical bills pile up quickly. When you meet with one of our whiplash lawyers for a free case evaluation, you should come away from the meeting with a much better understanding of the strength of your case.
Schedule a free case evaluation to determine whether you have a strong enough case to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.
Morgan & Morgan
What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?
Whiplash symptoms can develop at the moment of impact or up to 24 hours after an auto collision. Even if you do not feel pain in the neck area after a car accident, you should seek medical attention to ensure you did not sustain a serious whiplash injury.
The most frequent whiplash symptom is pain in the neck area, which is triggered by damaged nerves. Whiplash pain can become excruciating enough to generate headaches, some of which turn into migraines. Neck stiffness is another common symptom of whiplash injuries, as the muscles and ligaments that allow you to turn your head lose their resiliency. The lack of neck motion can be severe enough to prevent you from moving your head at all.
The most serious whiplash injuries shoot intense pain through the upper back, as well as through both arms and shoulders. Your arms might turn numb or tingle when you move them. The damage to nerves also might lead to blurred vision and ringing in one or both ears. Your body’s response to the injury can cause you to become fatigued, which might hinder your ability to concentrate. Researchers have studied the link between whiplash injuries and a diminished capacity to remember things.
How Will My Doctor Diagnose Whiplash?
Unlike many other types of injuries that result from an auto collision, whiplash does not present any visible signs of trauma. Your physician follows a diagnostic routine that starts by asking questions.
- When did the car accident happen?
- How did the car accident happen?
- Where do you feel the worst pain?
- Is the pain a dull, throbbing pain or a piercing pain that caused you to grimace?
- Did your neck move violently upon impact?
- Can you move your neck?
After getting a preliminary idea of the extent of your whiplash injuries, your doctor conducts a routine physical examination to measure your neck’s range of motion. The physical examination helps your healthcare provider determine which of the following imaging tests should be used to discover the severity of your whiplash injuries.
- MRI scan
- CT scan
Your doctor runs imaging tests not only to discover the seriousness of your injuries, but also to rule out degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis.
How Do Healthcare Providers Treat Whiplash Injuries?
Healthcare providers that treat whiplash injuries try to accomplish three primary goals. First, the most important goal is to control pain, if not eliminate it. Stretching the neck’s muscles and ligaments too far can produce debilitating pain that makes it impossible to sleep or even sit with the correct posture in a chair. Subtle movements can create such intense pain that the patient requires an immediate prescription for a pain medication.
After getting pain under control, your doctor tries to restore the normal range of motion for your neck. Being unable to turn your head just a little bit can prevent you from driving or participating in recreational activities that require a 360-degree range of vision. When your doctor has mitigated or eliminated your pain, as well as restored your neck’s typical range of motion, the final primary goal involves helping you make the transition back to your normal daily routine.
What Are the Options for Managing Whiplash Pain?
Managing whiplash pain can involve implementing one or more simple options that do not require prescription medications. However, for patients that suffer from intense pain, prescription medications might be the most impactful treatment option.
Rest is an effective treatment for a day or two after the car accident that caused your whiplash injuries. The objective is to limit the movement of your neck to foster the healing of overstretched muscles and ligaments. Although rest represents a viable treatment method in the short-term, too much rest can delay the recovery process. This is because you eventually need to exercise your neck to build back strength.
Applying cold or heat packs on the neck for 15 minutes at a time every three hours should reduce the amount of pain that you feel. Your healthcare provider decides which type of pack to apply based on the severity and the location of your whiplash injuries. Using cold or heat packs to mitigate pain might allow you to avoid taking prescription medications.
Over the Counter Painkillers
If you sustain mild to moderate whiplash injuries, you might be able to alleviate pain by taking over-the-counter medications such as Motrin IB. Your physician should be the one to decide whether you can control your pain through medications like Advil or that you should be more aggressive by taking a prescription medication.
Prescription Pain Medication
Suffering from severe whiplash pain can disrupt your sleep pattern, as well as significantly limit your daily activities. Since sleep represents a vital part of the body’s rejuvenation process, your doctor might prescribe a pain medication to help you get the daily sleep that you need. Certain antidepressant medications have proven to mitigate intense nerve pain.
When the neck muscles stretch out too far, the muscles remain tightened until physical therapy loosens them. Until physical therapy does the job, a short-term solution to loosen tight neck muscles involves taking muscle relaxers. Taken right before bedtime, a muscle relaxer should reduce pain to help you sleep.
Another muscle-numbing tactic is to inject lidocaine into the areas of the neck that triggers the most pain. Physical therapists use this strategy to help patients exercise, which eventually can restore the full range of motion to the neck.
How Does Exercise Help?
Your physical therapist designs a customized exercise program that depends on the severity of your whiplash injuries. Before you start a physical therapy regimen, your primary healthcare provider should recommend a series of exercises that can improve the range of motion for your neck. Rotating your neck in both directions is the first neck exercise to perform. You want to make sure to take small steps, which means rotating your neck slightly at the beginning and then slowly increasing the range of movement by performing the exercise daily.
Once you regain some of the mobility for the neck, you should start tilting your head from side to side, as well as bending your neck towards your chest. Both exercises strengthen the muscles and ligaments in the neck. Rolling your shoulders helps you build muscle strength, especially the muscles that run from the lower part of the neck to both shoulders.
Should I Wear a Foam Collar?
Although whiplash experts recommend not keeping your neck still for prolonged periods after a car accident, a soft foam cervical collar can reduce the piercing pain you feel. A soft foam cervical collar stabilizes the neck during the first 72 hours after a car accident caused severe whiplash injuries. You should follow the recommendation given by your physician to determine how long you should wear a foam collar, if you should wear one at all.
What Are the Alternative Treatments for Whiplash?
Alternative treatments have helped treat some whiplash injuries, but definitive research has not proven the effectiveness of the most alternative options for treating highly painful whiplash symptoms.
A licensed chiropractor implements techniques to manipulate joints, as well as muscles and ligaments. Chiropractic treatments when combined with neck exercises and physical therapy sessions might provide you with pain relief. Of all the alternative treatments for whiplash, chiropractic treatments have delivered the most positive results according to research studies.
Also a way to manipulate the muscles and ligaments in your neck, massages might provide you with temporary pain relief. Massages also can loosen tight neck muscles and ligaments to give you more range of motion. Your physician should be the one to recommend this type of alternative treatment.
By inserting super-thin needles through the skin located at specific areas of your neck, the procedure called acupuncture might bring you short-term pain relief. However, this form of alternative treatment for whiplash has received the least amount of dedicated research.
Techniques that incorporate breathing and mindfulness techniques like yoga and tai chi can help reduce neck pain and stiffness. This type of alternative whiplash treatment is most effective when used with more traditional programs for treating whiplash.
Contact a Whiplash Lawyer From Morgan & Morgan
If you sustained whiplash injuries, you might have a strong enough case to take the other party to court. A whiplash lawyer from Morgan & Morgan conducts an investigation to determine whether the other party should assume legal responsibility for causing your whiplash injuries.
Schedule a free case evaluation today to discover how to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.