Collecting Compensation for Whiplash Injuries in Pennsylvania
Whiplash is the result of the sudden snapping forward or backward of the head after a sudden impact, which causes the muscles and ligaments in the neck to stretch or tear. This injury is one of the most common experienced by car crash victims and is both painful and often expensive to treat.
If you or a loved one were recently involved in an accident and suffered whiplash, it is critical to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you seek compensation for your medical expenses.
Common Symptoms of Whiplash
When muscles and ligaments are extended beyond their usual range of motion, the result can be painful strains and tears.
As a result, a person who has suffered whiplash may experience specific symptoms, including:
- Loss of range of motion in the neck;
- Neck pain and stiffness;
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or hands;
- Shoulder pain; and
- Sleep disturbances.
Although most whiplash victims recover within a few months, others struggle with chronic pain for years after the accident.
Diagnosing whiplash can be difficult because muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues take the brunt of the damage. Unfortunately, standard x-rays do not show soft tissue injuries, so confirming a diagnosis requires the administration of a variety of costly tests. For instance, most patients will need computerized tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests, both of which can detect soft tissue injuries.
Whiplash victims will also need to undergo an examination by an experienced physician who will be able to confirm the diagnosis based on:
- The patient’s range of motion in the neck;
- The patient’s reflexes and arm strength; and
- Whether the patient is experiencing tenderness in the neck, back, and shoulders.
Once a physician has confirmed that a patient has whiplash, he or she can begin implementing a treatment plan.
Potential Whiplash Treatments
The treatment plan crafted by the physician will vary depending on the age and sex of the patient as well as the severity of the injury.
However, there are a few standard forms of treatment including:
- Prescribing pain relief medications;
- Physical therapy, which can help strengthen muscles, improve posture, and restore movement;
- Professional massages;
- Applying ice and heat intermittently;
- Performing gentle exercises and stretching;
- Using a traction device; and
- Receiving injections to numb the neck muscles.
Light exercise has proven especially effective with less serious cases of whiplash. If done correctly, this can help the muscles stretch and become more limber, which in turn, reduces the pain experienced by the patient. However, those with particularly severe whiplash injuries may be required to rely exclusively on pain relievers and physical therapy.
Collecting Damages for Whiplash
CT scans and MRIs are extremely expensive, even if partially covered by insurance. The costs of physical therapy, doctor’s appointments, prescription medications and specialized medical equipment such as traction devices can also quickly add up to overwhelm a victim’s finances.
Fortunately, when accidents are caused by the negligence of another driver, the injured parties may be able to collect compensation for their losses including:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Property damage; and
- Pain and suffering.
For this reason, it is vital for whiplash victims to maintain all records of their diagnosis and treatment. This could include medical records such as physician reports, MRI and CT scans, and examination results as well as receipts and billing statements.