Whiplash injuries are so common in car accidents that it’s practically a stereotype. However, this serious injury is far from a joke. During a collision, the head may “whip” back and forth violently causing damage to the soft tissue that surrounds the neck and upper spinal region. Whiplash symptoms include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, vision problems, pain, insomnia and even depression.
Whiplash Injuries Result in Long-Term Problems for Some
For most, these troubling symptoms go away within a few weeks or months, but some cases result in chronic pain and other long-term problems. Research has shown that any issues remaining at the two-year point will probably be ongoing. Unfortunately, about 18 percent of all patients are still experiencing a high level of pain at the end of that same timeframe.
The Legal Ramifications of this Common Injury
Because whiplash is extremely common and no X-ray or lab test can prove soft-tissue damage beyond a doubt, many feel that accident victims exaggerate their injuries either on purpose or subconsciously to inflate any potential insurance claims. This makes adequate and just recovery a challenge. However, the current research is showing that most patients have the same outcome regardless of pending litigation.
In one study conducted in 1983, 61 whiplash cases were reviewed. Forty-one patients had a pending lawsuit while the other 20 did not. No significant changes in symptoms were found in either group after the claims were resolved. After 10 years, 48 percent continued to have serious chronic pain.
In 1993, another study followed a set of patients who were referred for treatment for whiplash injuries by their lawyers because they weren’t getting better eight years after they first sought a legal opinion. After treatment with physical conditioning, medications, injections and psychotherapy, most patients were able to function with much less pain than before. Because all of the patients were still attempting to settle their pending lawsuits, the study concluded that the lawsuits had little to no impact on the outcome.
Because many people believe that anyone who claims whiplash and wears a support collar is trying to work the system, accident victims are very reluctant to seek legal help for this issue. However, whiplash is a very serious condition that can alter the course of your life. If you or someone you care about is recovering from whiplash, don’t hesitate to call an experienced accident attorney to learn more about your rights and what kind of financial compensation you could be entitled to receive.