Whiplash is commonly associated with car accident victims wearing neck braces to gain sympathy in court. While whiplash does often result from car accidents, it is far from a ploy to gain attention or sympathy. In reality, whiplash can be a serious injury that should always be taken seriously.People who have suffered whiplash in any type of accident often have important legal rights to financial recovery for their medical bills and other losses. The law firm of Abels & Annes, P.C., understands how serious whiplash can be and how the extensive losses quickly can add up. We stand up for the rights of whiplash victims and help our injured clients recover the maximum amount of compensation they deserve. If you have questions or concerns after suffering whiplash, please contact our office to discuss your situation for free today.What Is Whiplash?Whiplash is a type of soft tissue injury in the neck, similar to a sprain or strain. This specific soft tissue injury occurs when the head forcefully and rapidly moves back and forth in different directions. This sharp snapping of the neck is often compared to a cracking whip—hence the term whiplash.Whiplash SymptomsSymptoms of whiplash may be immediately apparent or may take as long as 24 hours to develop. While symptoms can vary from case to case, the most common include:
- Headaches starting where the neck meets the skull
- Neck stiffness and pain
- Increased pain when the neck moves
- Restricted range of neck motion
- Pain in the shoulders, arms, or upper back
- Numbness or tingling sensations in the arms
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty focusing
- Ringing ears
- Depression or irritability
If you have experienced any motion that may lead to whiplash and notice any of the above symptoms or anything else out of the ordinary, you should always see a doctor or visit an emergency department as soon as possible.Diagnosis of WhiplashMedical professionals diagnose whiplash first by asking questions about your accident to determine if it could have caused whiplash. A doctor should also examine your range of motion, reflexes, sensation abilities, and pain levels with movement. Finally, you likely will need to undergo one or more imaging tests such as an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI to determine whether another type of injury may be causing your pain.Courses of TreatmentThe course of treatment recommended by your doctor will depend on the severity of your injury, pain, and other symptoms. Some people may use over-the-counter medications and do their own stretching exercises at home to recover. However, those individuals may still have to refrain from certain strenuous tasks such as sports or job-related physical labor.Whiplash victims with more serious pain levels may need prescription pain medication, muscle relaxers, or even numbing injections to relieve the pain. More intense cases may also require a course of physical therapy to regain full neck motion and strength. Some people may visit a chiropractor for help relieving whiplash symptoms. While the traditional image of a whiplash victim is someone wearing a foam neck brace, in recent years doctors rarely prescribe such collars for whiplash victims.While treatment may work to relieve pain and symptoms for most whiplash victims in weeks or months, some people may develop chronic pain as a result of whiplash. This constant state of pain may continue for years and cause limitations on activities as well as emotional issues.Common Causes of WhiplashThe most common causes of whiplash include:
- Auto accidents, especially rear-end accidents, when the force of an impact causes the head to snap back and forth on the neck.
- Contact sports such as football or hockey may involve tackles or hits that cause the body to stop while the head continues moving forward, then snaps back.
- Assaults can also cause whiplash, including sudden and forceful punches or shakes—such as shaken baby syndrome.
Legal Rights of Whiplash VictimsIf whiplash results from a purely accidental occurrence, victims unfortunately do not have the right to hold anyone else liable for their injuries. However, if the whiplash occurred because another party was negligent or intentionally harmful, the law gives victims the right to hold that party accountable. Acts of negligence that may lead to whiplash include:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Tailgating or aggressive driving
- Violating traffic laws
- Allowing or encouraging overly rough play in sports
- Pushing young athletes beyond their appropriate skill levels
- Physically assaulting another person
There are different ways to hold negligent parties liable following an accident that caused whiplash. For example, after a car accident, you may first want to seek compensation from the negligent driver’s insurance company. In some cases, it may be necessary to file a personal injury claim in civil court to recover the full damages you deserve.In either case, after you have suffered whiplash it is imperative to seek assistance from a personal injury attorney who understands Illinois laws. Both the insurance process and the legal claim process can be confusing and complex, and an attorney can handle every step of the process for you to ensure you have the best chance at full financial recovery.The legal team at Abels & Annes, P.C., in Chicago, can handle the process of negotiating with claims adjusters. We advise clients to reject lowball offers and let us advocate for fair settlement amounts. When adjusters ask us to allow you to give written or recorded statements about your claim before a lawsuit is filed, we refuse, because these statements can be used against you and used to reduce your compensation amount.The Chicago Whiplash Lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. are Here to HelpAt the Chicago law firm of Abels & Annes, P.C., we regularly help injured clients collect for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other injury-related damages. We regularly handle cases involving a wide range of injuries—from whiplash or broken bones to catastrophic brain or spinal cord injuries.Having the right attorney handling your insurance claim or personal injury case is critical to the success of your claim. If you would like more information about how our whiplash attorneys can help you, please call (312) 924-7575 or contact us online for a free consultation today.