Many people know that whiplash is an injury commonly suffered in car accidents. However, few people understand the serious effects of a whiplash injury until they suffer such an injury themselves. Whiplash can cause a wide range of problems, including debilitating pain and stiffness, dizziness, nausea, and even concentration and memory problems.
The violent, whiplike motion of the head in whiplash can also cause traumatic brain injuries (TBI), including coup-contrecoup injuries that occur when the brain slams back and forth into the hard inner surface of the skull.
Unfortunately, the debilitating pain and brain trauma caused by whiplash injuries is often discounted by insurance companies and defense lawyers. This is because symptoms of the injury may not appear for days or even weeks after an accident. This can make it incredibly difficult to secure the financial compensation you need for your recovery after a serious auto accident.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, turn to the St. Louis whiplash accident injury attorneys of Sumner Law Group, LLC.
- With over five decades of combined legal experience, our attorneys have the skills needed to fight for the full compensation you deserve.
- Our legal team has earned a reputation for aggressive negotiations and savvy courtroom skills. This reputation is backed up by our firm’s track record of results obtained on behalf of our clients.
- We strive to provide you with the personalized attention you and your case deserve.
- We limit the number of cases we take so that our attorneys can focus on giving your case the time it deserves.
- When you choose us to help with your whiplash claim, you will never owe us any upfront fees or costs.
- We only get paid if and when we win compensation for you.
Contact us now for a free initial case review with a whiplash accident injury lawyer in St. Louis. We’re here to help you demand the compensation you deserve and move forward with your life.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash refers to injuries that are suffered in the head, neck, and shoulder area. These injuries are caused by a violent, rapid back-and-forth movement of the head and neck that simulates the cracking of a whip. Whiplash is also sometimes called a neck sprain or neck strain, which may include other types of injuries that do not fall within the category of a whiplash injury.
In some cases, whiplash causes coup-contrecoup injuries. This form of TBI involves contusions on the brain that result from the brain slamming into one side of the skull, and then rebounding and hitting the opposite side of the skull, according to the Brain Injury Association of America. The violent back-and-forth whipping motion of the head causes the brain to move within the skull and sustain contusions from hitting the hard surface of the skull.
Coup-contrecoup injuries frequently result in tears in the brain’s internal lining, tissue, and blood vessels. This can cause the brain to bleed, swell, and bruise, leading to a number of symptoms, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Whiplash injuries most frequently arise from motor vehicle accidents, especially rear-end accidents. However, whiplash can also result from sports or recreational accidents or physical abuse, or assault.
Common Signs of Whiplash
Most signs and symptoms of whiplash become apparent within a few days after suffering an injury. Some of the most common signs of a whiplash injury include:
- Neck pain or stiffness, which becomes worse with movement
- Loss of range of motion
- Headaches are often centralized toward the base of the skull
- Pain, stiffness, or tenderness in the shoulders, upper arms, or upper back
- Numbness or tingling in the arms and hands
- Difficulty sleeping
Whiplash injuries may also cause symptoms often more closely associated with head and coup-contrecoup brain injuries, including:
- Memory or concentration issues
- Ringing in the ears
- Blurred vision
If you experience any of these symptoms after being involved in a car accident or other type of accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor can begin treatment and rule out potentially more serious injuries, such as broken bones or traumatic brain injury.
Is Your Neck Injury Whiplash?
If you are experiencing pain and other symptoms of whiplash following a car crash or other accident, you should seek out medical care to determine whether your neck injury is whiplash.
To diagnose a whiplash injury:
- Your doctor will ask you about the accident and how your injury occurred, where you experience pain, and what kind of pain you are feeling (e.g., dull, shooting, burning).
- Your doctor will also likely perform a physical exam to check your range of motion, reflexes, and strength and to identify areas of tenderness and swelling.
- Your doctor may order diagnostic scans, such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans to rule out other potential causes and conditions such as arthritis or degenerative disc disease.
Treatment for whiplash begins with trying to manage the symptoms of moderate to severe pain that accompanies whiplash injuries. For more mild injuries, doctors may recommend that a person take over-the-counter pain medication along with heat and cold compresses. For more serious injuries, doctors may prescribe painkillers or muscle relaxers. Your treating provider may also recommend that you wear a neck collar for a few hours a day for several days after your injury.
Whiplash treatment may also include physical therapy to help keep the body in good alignment to relieve pressure and pain and allow the injury to heal. When an injury leads to chronic pain, doctors may recommend injections of numbing medications to help take the edge off your pain. This may allow you to follow through with physical therapy and exercise to help strengthen your neck and upper body and restore and maintain range of motion.
Other alternative treatments include massage therapy that can provide short-term pain relief, chiropractic care, and acupuncture.
Coup-contrecoup brain injuries related to whiplash frequently require extensive rest, therapy, and rehabilitation to regain lost brain function and address psychological issues.
How Long Do the Symptoms of Whiplash Last?
Most cases of a whiplash injury only cause noticeable symptoms for several days to several weeks, with most people fully recovering within two to three months. However, some cases of whiplash result in chronic headaches and pain that can last for years. Chronic pain from a whiplash injury can often be traced to some visible damage to bone, soft tissues, or spinal discs. But many other chronic whiplash injuries have no medical explanation.
The symptoms related to TBI from whiplash may last a lifetime. Every brain injury is different, but no complete cure exists.
Steps to Take After a Whiplash Injury
If you’ve suffered a whiplash injury in St. Louis, take the following steps to help put yourself in the best position to pursue financial compensation from those at fault:
- Get examined by a doctor as soon as possible. A physician can perform a physical exam to diagnose whether you have suffered whiplash and/or other injuries in the accident.
- Follow all treatment recommendations and instructions. If you put off treating a whiplash injury, you run the risk of making your pain and symptoms worse and giving the at-fault party a basis to argue that you weren’t as seriously injured as you claim.
- Keep a diary or journal to document your recovery and how your whiplash and other injuries affect your daily living and ability to work.
- Avoid discussing the accident that caused your whiplash injury on social media. Don’t post photos or videos of yourself on social media either. Insurance companies and defense lawyers like to use injury victims’ social media profiles as evidence to argue against compensation claims.
- Speak to a St. Louis whiplash accident lawyer to determine who may be responsible for your losses and discuss the next steps to pursue compensation.
What Damages Can You Recover for a Whiplash Injury in St. Louis?
If you’ve had a whiplash injury from a car crash in St. Louis, you may be entitled to recover compensation for expenses and other losses that you have or will incur due to your injury. This includes:
- Costs of medical treatment, including doctors’ appointments, surgeries, other medical procedures such as trigger point injections, physical therapy, pain medication, and other out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost income when you miss time from work while you are treating and recovering from your whiplash injury
- Lost earning potential, if your injury prevents you from working and earning the same level of income you did before the accident
- Lost quality of life due to the debilitating effects of your injury that impacts your daily living or your ability to participate in activities you previously enjoyed
- Pain and suffering, or the physical anguish and emotional distress triggered by your injury or by the medical treatments you receive for your injury
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Whiplash Injury Attorney
If you’ve suffered a whiplash injury in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, contact Sumner Law Group, LLC, today for a free, no-obligation consultation. An experienced St. Louis whiplash injury attorney can review your case, explain your legal options, and answer all your questions.
You have limited time available to take legal action, so contact us today. We can be reached by phone, through our contact form, or by live chat, 24/7.