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Car Accident Whiplash Injury Lawyer in Jackson, MS
Knowing how to respond after a car accident can be the difference between having a claim approved or a claim denied by your auto insurance company. Addressing the many issues that arise after a car crash also plays a pivotal role in determining whether you have a persuasive enough case to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.
The first thing for you to do involves getting medical care. If you sustained one or more serious injuries, you should seek emergency medical care. On the other hand, you can wait for medical attention if you sustained less serious injuries. However, for you to get an insurance claim approved and to win a civil lawsuit, you have to get medical care whether you sustained minor, moderate, or serious injuries. The most substantial expense you have to take care of after a car accident is medical bills.
One of the most common injuries that result from an auto collision is called whiplash. Although most injuries, such as cuts, fractures, and lacerations, develop visible signs of physical harm, whiplash injuries do not present visible signs of physical harm. In addition to a lack of visible signs, some whiplash injuries do not develop symptoms right away. You might get involved in a car accident and not feel the pain that typically defines whiplash injuries.
The second and equally important thing to do after a car accident is to contact a whiplash lawyer. Specializing in personal injury law, a whiplash attorney helps you gather and organize evidence, as well as devise a strategy that gets you the compensation you deserve. Your whiplash lawyer helps you file an auto insurance claim, and if the other party committed an act of negligence, helps you file a convincing civil lawsuit as well.
Since 1988, the personal injury attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have recovered more than $14 billion in monetary damages for our clients. Schedule a free case evaluation to learn how one of our highly rated whiplash lawyers can help you recover from the financial losses caused by a car accident.
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What Is Whiplash?
As the best example of a whiplash injury, a rear-end car accident forces the neck to move backward and then forward. The result is the muscles and ligaments that allow your neck to turn from side to side stretch well beyond the typical range. Damaged neck muscles and ligaments trigger incredible pain, although in some cases, the pain does not hit a victim until hours after a car accident. Another sign of a whiplash injury is the neck loses its full range of motion. For the most serious whiplash injuries, victims either cannot move their necks at all or just a little bit from side to side.
The seriousness of whiplash injuries depends on the force of impact between two or more automobiles. Rear-end car accidents represent the most frequent cause of whiplash injuries, but you also can experience extremely painful whiplash symptoms if another vehicle hits the side or the front of your car.
What Are the Signs That Indicate Whiplash?
The most significant sign of whiplash injuries is excruciating pain from the top of the neck to the collarbone. For the most serious cases of whiplash, the pain can shoot through both shoulders and down both arms. You also might feel a tingling sensation in one or both arms. The intense pain makes it difficult, if not impossible to take care of ordinary daily tasks such as brushing your teeth and taking the dog for a walk. Even if you work a desk job, the extreme pain caused by whiplash prevents you from working.
Stretching the muscles and ligaments in your neck can leave you with limited or no range of motion. You cannot turn your head in either direction, which means you no longer can operate a motor vehicle. In addition, you might feel stiffness in the neck and upper back that gets worse the longer you remain stationary. Damage to the nerves located in and around the neck can lead to blurred vision and a ringing sensation in the ears. The response your body has to the intense pain can make you feel fatigued.
How Do Healthcare Workers Diagnose Whiplash Injuries?
Your healthcare provider completes a three-step process for diagnosing whiplash: Asking questions, conducting a physical examination, and completing one or more imaging tests.
The questions asked by your physician provide insight into the seriousness of your whiplash injuries.
- How long ago did the car accident occur?
- How strong was the impact?
- Where did your vehicle get hit?
- How intense is the pain?
- Where does it hurt the most?
- Is your neck stiff?
After answering your doctor’s questions, the second step of the diagnostic process involves going through a physical examination. The extent of the physical examination depends on the information you provided during the question and answer session. Your physician will determine the range of motion for your neck, as well as discover the intensity of the pain by manipulating different areas in the neck and along both shoulders.
The physical examination should give your physician enough information to decide which type or types of imaging tests to run. You might undergo a CT scan, x-ray, and/or MRI scan. Any one of three imaging tests detects where your neck suffered the worst damage. Imaging tests also rule out the presence of a degenerative disease such as arthritis.
What Treatment Options Do I Have?
The treatment options implemented by your doctor depend on the severity of pain and the extent of the stiffness in your neck and surrounding areas. Your physician tries to control the pain or even eliminate it by using one or more strategies. Stretching the neck muscles and ligaments beyond the limit can produce severe pain in the neck, upper back, and both shoulders. Debilitating pain can prevent you from getting adequate sleep, as well as sitting in a chair.
After managing your pain, your physician’s next goal involves restoring the normal range of motion to your neck. Eventually, you want to be able to move your neck from side to side, as well as turn your head without feeling any stiffness. When the pain subsides and you start to move your neck, the time has come for your doctor to help you transition back into a normal daily routine that includes at least part-time work.
What Are My Choices for Managing Whiplash Pain?
Managing the pain generated by whiplash injuries calls for a multi-step strategy. Resting for a couple of days after a car accident can quiet active neck nerves. You want to limit the motion of your neck to encourage the muscles and ligaments to start the healing process. However, you should not rest for more than 72 hours after a car accident because eventually, you need to move your neck to alleviate the pain and stiffness. Resting your neck too long prevents the muscles and ligaments from regaining strength.
Apply Heat or Cold Packs
Apply heat or cold packs on the area of the neck that received the worst damage. Every three hours, you should apply heat or cold packs for 15 minutes at a time. Deciding which type of pack to apply depends on how serious the pain is and the extent of the stiffness. A heat pack does a good job of loosening tight muscles and ligaments. Applying a cold heat pack attacks the source of the pain.
The intensity of the pain you feel determines the type of pain medication you should take. If you suffer from mild or moderate whiplash injuries, you might be able to mitigate the pain by ingesting over-the-counter- pain pills like Tylenol and Motrin IB. For extreme pain, your physician might prescribe a pain medication.
When Does Exercise Become a Part of My Treatment
Before you can follow a consistent exercise regimen your physician first has to reduce the pain and loosen the muscles and ligaments that keep your neck strong and flexible. You want to start with simple exercises that do not place much pressure on the neck before gradually ramping up the intensity of your workouts.
After the mobility of your neck improves, you can start tilting your head from side to side. Your doctor should provide you with the details of this type of exercise that include how many repetitions you should do for each exercise interval. For example, you might start by completing 10 side-to-side tilts before increasing the repetition to 15 for each neck exercise interval. Bending your neck toward your chest is an exercise designed to strengthen your neck muscles. Rolling your shoulders loosen up the ligaments that run from the neck through both shoulders.
What Does Physical Therapy Involve?
Completing basic exercises is just the beginning of the road to your full recovery. After you regain most of the range of neck motion and the pain has decreased to a manageable level, your doctor might recommend you complete several physical therapy sessions. During the physical therapy sessions, you complete more rigorous exercises that build the strength of your neck, as well as restore your range of motion to 360 degrees.
One of the exercises performed during physical therapy for whiplash injuries involves resistance movements. Your physical therapist attaches a device that covers your head and then sets a weight for you to move by tilting your head from side to side. The key is to start with a lighter weight and slowly build strength by adding more weight. Some whiplash patients require a more aggressive form of physical therapy called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). The procedure shoots light electrical currents through the area of the skin where your neck muscles and ligaments have suffered the worst damage.
How Do I Recover My Financial Losses?
You have two ways to recover the financial losses that resulted from sustaining whiplash injuries. First, you should file a claim with your auto insurance company, which assigns a representative to investigate the car accident. You need to submit persuasive physical evidence that includes the result of diagnostic tests and a detailed description of your treatments. Your insurance company also wants to receive the copies of receipts from the auto repair shop that fixed the damage done to your car.
If the other party committed one or more acts of negligence your whiplash lawyer might file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. You might qualify for economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. Economic damages cover the cost of medical bills and the repair work done to your vehicle. Non-economic damages pay for non-tangible costs, such as the development of acute anxiety. Punitive damages penalize the defendant for causing the car accident.
Schedule a free case evaluation today to determine how to proceed with your car accident claim.