One of the most common yet misunderstood injuries an accident victim may suffer is whiplash. In fact, whiplash is the subject of many jokes, and some TV shows cast suspicion on the injury when characters feign neck and back pain to collect insurance or win a lawsuit. If you have recently suffered a whiplash injury in a motor vehicle accident, you know that it is nothing to joke about.
However, whiplash is also difficult to diagnose. Your doctor may ask you a few questions and rule out other injuries, but your own description of the pain may be the crux of the diagnosis. This should not deter you from seeking the compensation you need. You may even seek the advice of a British Columbia legal professional to ensure you are taking advantage of every option for pursuing the financial benefits you deserve after an accident.
How do I know I have whiplash?
If you are in a motor vehicle accident, it is likely you will experience the pain of whiplash. This is because whiplash occurs when your body receives a violent jarring, causing the head to snap in different directions. Even a collision at low speeds may send your head snapping forward and backward. This places strain on the muscles in the neck and may cause them to stretch and tear. More severe cases of whiplash may even involve nerve damage or broken bones. As a result, you may experience the following:
- Unexplained headache
- Neck and back pain
- Pain that radiates down your arms
- Tingling or numbness in your arms and hands as if they are falling asleep
- Numbness in your chest or legs
- Loss of strength in your legs, arms or hands
- Stiffness and pain when trying to move your neck
Another factor that makes seeking compensation a challenge is that the symptoms of a whiplash injury may not manifest for several days after the accident. In some cases, the pain and stiffness fade only to return after a few days. A whiplash injury may require you to miss work while you rest and apply heat and ice to find relief. You may also need physiotherapy, and your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxers or other medications to ease the pain.
The insurer may try to blame your suffering on previous injuries or conditions in your medical records, so it is critical that you tread carefully when dealing with insurance companies. A lawyer who understands how insurance investigations work may help you maximize your claim and guide you in preparing for a personal injury claim if your case warrants further action.