We have all seen those cheesy comedies in which someone pretends to be injured by wearing a “C-collar” to court. Maybe you have heard stories about people claiming whiplash after a car accident, and it conjures up images of a malingerer or scam artist trying to get quick cash from a lawsuit. Well, it is time to do away with those unfortunate images forever. While yes, there will always be a small portion of the population who attempts to manipulate the system to their own benefit, the truth is that whiplash is a serious injury. People who suffer from whiplash injuries can tell you just how real and unpleasant they are.
The attorneys of Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC are here to help. We understand that each injury is just as unique as the person suffering through it. Whiplash injuries are no different. No matter what type of injury you have, if someone else caused it, then it is only fair that they make it right. Let us help you today.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is actually not a medical diagnosis, nor is it a medical or legal term. It is just a nickname for a wide range of conditions that are caused by a single type of event. Any time the head is violently thrust back and forth on the neck, it can lead to muscle, ligament, and other soft tissue injuries to the neck and upper back. To accurately describe whiplash, it is important to consider how the biomechanics of the neck and upper back actually work.
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Neck and Back Anatomy
The cervical spine is comprised of seven cervical vertebrae, six cervical discs (in between the vertebrae) and eight nerves. At the base of the seventh vertebrae, the cervical neck connects to the thoracic spine. Often called the “cervicothoracic junction,” this is where the C8 vertebral nerve lies. When the neck moves back and forth rapidly and with a lot of force, several things can happen:
- Muscle Strain: All of the muscle fibers throughout the shoulders, neck and upper thoracic spine can be injured, leading to bruising, swelling, and inflammation. This can cause painful aggravation and irritation and can make people feel as though their neck and shoulders are “locked.”
- Disc Injuries: In severe cases, the discs that cushion the vertebrae can be ruptured, causing them to leak the gel-like fluid inside them. This can lead to rubbing and nerve impingement.
Even where discs are intact and not ruptured, it is common for the muscle strain associated with whiplash to last for several months. The worst part is that it can be deceiving in the beginning. Here is why symptoms are delayed.
Whiplash is a Tricky Condition
Whiplash, unlike many acute injuries, does not always manifest right away. Think of the last time you went to a gym or tried to do something physical after not using those muscles for a long time. Maybe you got a wild idea to go try bench pressing after years of not doing it. Or, maybe you started jogging again. You may recall that you felt okay for the first day. Maybe even the second day was not too bad. But about two days after exercising, you probably noticed a lot of soreness and pain in your muscles. This is because muscles do not hurt that much when they are being pulled and stretched. They really hurt when they are healing and rebuilding.
In this same way, many whiplash victims do not notice the inflammation and pain of their injuries until weeks after the accident. Of course, if you wait that long to get medical help, two things will happen:
- You will likely face an insurance denial. Insurance companies love to tell people they waited too long to get care. They know that they will probably be able to convince a jury that you were not hurt badly if you waited two weeks or longer to get care. While there are sometimes ways that an experienced attorney can help overcome these arguments, it is much better if you just go to the hospital for treatment.
- You will hurt worse. The real problem, of course, is that you will suffer more. The earlier you can begin actively treating the problem with physical therapy, chiropractic care, cold and hot therapies, and other options, the sooner you will recover and the sooner you will start feeling better.
If you and your loved ones are suffering after an auto accident in Alabama, call Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC today.