A whiplash injury (or, simply, whiplash) occurs when a person’s head snaps violently back and forth, and it usually occurs in rear-end collisions and accidents in which the neck can quickly accelerate and then quickly decelerate, such as physical assault, cycling accidents, falling backwards and contact sports. The whiplash motion severely strains the soft tissues in the neck, including nerves, ligaments and muscles, which can thereby become damaged, torn or stretched due to the vigorous back-and-forth motion. A person with a whiplash injury may be unaware of major whiplash symptoms days or weeks after the accident. Sometimes, the symptoms of whiplash can be minor and disappear rapidly. However, there are times when the symptoms can be chronic pain and decreased mobility that can last for years. Whiplash symptoms include:
- chronic pain and functional limitations;
- sleep disorders;
- depression and anxiety
- difficulties with memory and concentration
After something like a rear-end collision, you must watch for symptoms and consult a physician at the onset of any symptoms, such as numbness, weakness or acute pain.
You will undergo diagnostic tests to determine the severity of your injuries. These tests will likely include MRIs, CAT scans or X-rays. These also aim to rule out spinal cord damage. The physician will then prescribe probably physiotherapy or rehabilitation to treat your whiplash. You may even receive a foam neck collar to enable your neck muscles to rest and heal.
You can file for compensation from the driver responsible for the rear-end collision in which you suffered your whiplash injury. This kind of collision usually happens when one driver follows another too closely. According to Ontario law, the second driver is most often at fault in rear-end collisions.
You can claim:
- past and future lost income if incapable of working;
- rehabilitation costs for chiropractic and physiotherapy services;
- caregiver costs; and
- pain-and-suffering damages.
If you have incurred a whiplash injury, talk to the Ottawa personal injury lawyers at McNally Gervan. They will ensure that you file within the prescribed timelines and do what is necessary to submit a successful claim. Also, remember to account for all your receipts and expenses, and ensure to heed your physician’s treatment advice to show that you are doing everything in your power to alleviate your injuries.
Although whiplash is common and people get better in only a couple of months, some whiplash sufferers can become permanently disabled, especially those who experience symptoms for at least six months. Some whiplash victims may even have noticeable spinal cord damage. Lastly, whiplash can affect more than just the neck: shoulders, nerves, etc. Do not take whiplash lightly. Seek a timely and thorough diagnosis if you have any significant symptoms.