Whiplash is a common injury after a car accident. Many victims delay treating the condition because they don’t understand the seriousness of the injury. Unfortunately, most car accident victims may not realize they have whiplash until they have chronic neck, back or head pain. Whiplash can aggravate and the victim may develop serious complications the more he or she delays to seek out treatment for the condition. That’s why you should know what to do for whiplash after a car accident. Contact a car accident lawyer at the Weinstein Firm to determine the best legal action to pursue if you have suffered a car accident whiplash injury.
Dealing with whiplash means one needs to know what to do for him/herself both medically and legally after a car accident. You should get appropriate medical treatment, take the right self-care steps, and have a financial recovery plan so that you don’t end up spending for medical bills out of your pocket. This article will address all these steps below.
What Should You Do To Recover From Whiplash Immediately After A Car Accident?
The first thing you need to do is to treat whiplash as a medical condition and see a qualified doctor. Most car accident victims will feel little or no pain immediately after the car accident – even if they have injured the neck, head or back areas. This is due to several reasons:
Your body will release adrenaline and cortisol soon after the accident to help prevent pain so that you can react well during the emergency. These hormones will wear off after some time and the pain will become obvious and even more extreme. During the first and second nights after the accident, one may experience swelling in the injured region.
Swelling is usually a protective response by the body. But it can put more pressure on the injuries and result in soreness and stiffness over time. Most whiplash victims will injure delicate soft tissue like ligaments and muscles. That’s why you need to treat the condition immediately after the accident. If not, you will find it difficult to get on with your day-to-day activities. A small muscle injury can turn into chronic injury over the next few days.
That’s why you need to seek immediate treatment to the condition soon after the accident. If you experience neck, head or back pain or clicking in the jaw, you should go to the emergency room even if the pain is mild at first. If you don’t have any pain immediately after the accident, make an appointment with your doctor the next day. You may have stiffness and pain that you didn’t feel soon after the car accident the next day.
How Will A Doctor Treat Whiplash?
Whiplash happens when your neck and head area is suddenly thrown forward and backward in the car during an accident. Whiplash comes in different types, and the treatment will depend on the type of injury. The condition is generally known as WAD or whiplash-associated disorder. There is no single test for WAD, and x-rays may not help because whiplash involves injuries to soft tissues and no broken bones. Your healthcare provider will evaluate the type of whiplash injury you have by getting you to move the head and neck in a certain way or laying down. Once the exact type of injury is diagnosed, your doctor may recommend certain treatments including:
- Physical therapy
- Massage therapy
- Pain medications and NSAIDs
- Chiropractic treatments
- Stretching exercises
- Wearing a neck brace or soft cervical collar
- Epidural injections to block pain impulses and encourage tissue healing
The right treatment for you may depend on the type of injury you have and how extreme the pain is.
What Are Some Of The Self-Care Steps For Whiplash?
You should follow the instructions of your doctor because every whiplash injury is different. Some of the common self-care steps for whiplash include:
- Taking over-the-counter painkillers or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen for pain and swelling
- Icing the injured area during the first 24 hours
- Using a neck collar or neck pillow to control the neck position while sleeping
- Avoiding hard physical work that interferes with the injured area
All the above recommendations can change depending on the type of injury you have. Your doctor will recommend gently working with the affected area. Even if your healthcare provider recommends a neck brace, he or she will tell you to wear it intermittently. You have to stretch the neck, back or head area to strengthen the injured areas. Gentle stretching exercises can help heal the injured soft tissues. Immobilization or full rest may delay the healing process. That’s why you need to follow your doctor’s instructions at all times.
What Legal Steps Should You Take Regarding Whiplash After A Car Accident?
The first step is to take advantage of the free consultation feature of a car accident law firm. You should set up the appointment within a week of the accident for several reasons:
- Insurance providers will immediately start to investigate your claim
- You may make mistakes when dealing with insurance companies without legal representation – which can cost you money
- You need legal representation before the first offer the insurance provider gives you
Everything you say or do will be used as evidence against you by the insurance provider. That’s why you need legal representation to protect your interests.
- You should reiterate that you are in pain and seek medical treatment
- Don’t apologize for the accident even out of politeness
- Follow all the recommendations given by your doctor
Don’t sign any document or give a recorded statement to the insurance provider without speaking to your lawyer. If the insurance provider wants to know anything from you, give them your lawyer’s contact details and ask them to call the lawyer.
Don’t settle for the “first cash” offered by the insurance provider. You don’t know the total cost of your injury still. Although most whiplash injuries will heal within six months, 20% of cases may involve chronic pain or permanent complications. Your lawyer can assist you with knowing the full cost of your recovery and help you get the full amount from the insurance provider.
If you have ever been injured in a car accident, The Weinstein Firm offers free consultations with some of the best personal injury lawyers in Georgia. Call us at 770-HELP-NOW or fill out the form to your right to book your free consultation right now.