Whiplash is one of the most common injuries sustained in car accidents. It occurs when the head is subject to violent back-and-forth movement, causing damage to the muscles, ligaments and tendons in the neck. While many whiplash injuries heal within a few weeks or months, some result in long-lasting or even permanent impairment. If you have suffered a whiplash injury in an Alabama car accident, it’s important to understand your options for securing long-term care and compensation.
Assessing the Severity of Whiplash
Not all whiplash injuries are the same. Some resolve quickly while others cause chronic issues. Factors that can influence the severity and duration of whiplash include:
- Your age – Older individuals often take longer to heal from whiplash than younger people.
- Prior neck problems – Preexisting conditions make you more susceptible to serious whiplash complications.
- Type of accident – Head-on, side-impact and rear-end collisions can all cause whiplash but produce different forces on the neck.
- Positioning of head and body – How your head and body were positioned at impact affects the degree of neck hyperextension and hyperflexion.
- Delayed treatment – Whiplash injuries that are left untreated for weeks or months after an accident often worsen.
Doctors grade whiplash using a scale of I-IV. Grade I whiplash produces neck pain, stiffness and tenderness but no major loss of range of motion. Grades II-IV involve increasing levels of neck pain along with more limited movement, radiating pain into the shoulders and arms, numbness or tingling, headaches, dizziness, memory problems, and insomnia. Higher grade whiplash requires more intensive medical treatment and physical therapy, and takes longer to resolve.
Linking Ongoing Whiplash Symptoms to the Car Accident
In some cases, whiplash symptoms persist for months or years after the initial injury. This long-term whiplash disorder, also called late whiplash syndrome, can be difficult to conclusively relate back to the car accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance company may argue that your current neck pain is due to another cause.
To help establish that ongoing whiplash complications stem from the car accident, it’s important to:
- Seek prompt medical care, even if symptoms are mild at first
- Follow all doctor treatment and therapy recommendations
- Document how the symptoms and impairment have progressed over time
- Get imaging studies to show soft tissue injuries and spinal misalignment
- Have the doctor confirm the injuries are consistent with whiplash from the accident
Thorough medical records will help demonstrate that your whiplash disorder is directly attributable to the car accident and justify the need for long-term medical care and financial compensation.
Types of Long-Term Care Needed for Serious Whiplash
For whiplash sufferers who continue to experience debilitating symptoms and functional impairment, ongoing medical treatment and life care assistance may be required. Some types of long-term whiplash care can include:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, antidepressants and anticonvulsants may be prescribed to alleviate whiplash pain, headaches, insomnia and neurological issues. Prescription costs add up over time.
Many whiplash patients need months of physical therapy to regain range of motion, strength and function. This can cost thousands per year.
Spinal adjustments, massage and therapeutic exercises provided by chiropractors can effectively treat whiplash but the cost is rarely covered by health insurance.
For victims left unable to work due to severe, chronic whiplash, job retraining services may be needed.
Home Health Care
If you are unable to fully care for yourself due to whiplash disability, in-home assistance from a nurse or aide may be required at significant expense.
Adaptive Equipment and Home Modifications
Whiplash victims who are permanently disabled may need customized long-term care including handicap-accessible home renovations, assistive technology and mobility devices.
By consulting with physicians and life care planning experts, injured whiplash victims can accurately assess their current and future long-term care needs and costs resulting from the car accident. Documenting and quantifying lifetime care requirements will enable you to claim and recover adequate compensation from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance provider.
Pursuing Fair Compensation for Whiplash Injuries
Don’t assume that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will automatically provide full and fair compensation for your whiplash injuries on an ongoing basis. To protect your rights after an Alabama auto accident, it’s essential to:
- Collect detailed records of medical expenses, lost income and impact on quality of life
- Quantify all current and future costs associated with your whiplash care
- Hire an experienced personal injury attorney to demand maximum compensation from the insurer
- Take legal action if needed to recover damages for long-term whiplash care and disability
By understanding your legal options and rights, consulting qualified physicians, and working with a dedicated lawyer, you can obtain the whiplash injury compensation you rightly deserve in Alabama. Don’t hesitate to fight for long-term medical care and financial remedies to improve your health and quality of life after a serious car accident.
Call Monge and Associates now for a free consultation on (888) 477-0597 if you’re suffering from a car crash-related whiplash injury. We have offices in 32 locations across 19 states, including Alabama, Arizona, and Tennessee.