How Can I Prove I Have Whiplash from a Car Accident?

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whiplash from car accident

Car accidents could cause a variety of injuries that are very painful and debilitating. Whiplash is a commonly diagnosed condition that could affect an accident survivor’s ability to work for a while. Whiplash can make it virtually impossible to turn your head and neck without experiencing a lot of pain. 

Some people might miss work for an extended time while healing. The injury could stop you from playing sports or doing other enjoyable activities while you are recovering from the accident. 

Most doctors will treat whiplash with medication and physical therapy. There is almost no reason for invasive medical procedures. 

Because there are no broken bones or other obvious injuries that clearly show a whiplash injury is genuine, it is important to focus on proving the whiplash injury is real and damages are justified. 

Whiplash Injury Explained

Whiplash injuries commonly occur to people in vehicles that are hit hard from the rear or side. The energy of the collision can cause your head to whip about and cause the neck to undergo a whiplike action. 

The whipping action of the neck can cause soft tissue injuries and muscle sprains or tears that take time to heal. The injured soft tissue causes a lot of pain from the swelling and inflammation that often accompany the injury. However, the injury does not include broken bones or fractured vertebrae. 

Whiplash could last anywhere from a few hours to several weeks. It mostly heals on its own and does not have lasting health effects. Until the healing is complete, it still can make it very painful to do even simple things, like turning your head right or left.

Whiplash Injury Could Be Latent

A whiplash injury does not always show itself immediately following an accident. It might take several hours or a couple of days to manifest itself fully. That usually happens when the damaged soft tissue swells and becomes inflamed. At that point, it becomes difficult and very painful to move your head and neck. 

If you are in a car accident and immediately go to the emergency room for treatment, a whiplash injury might not be diagnosed. That is because the full effects of the soft tissue damage have not taken hold. 

Your neck and shoulders might feel some numbness or tingling but otherwise seem fine immediately following an accident. After a few hours or a day or so, whiplash can make it almost impossible to turn your head to the left or right, lean forward, or tilt backward. 

The delayed nature of many whiplash injuries might make it more difficult to file insurance claims for related damages. Some evidence and a bit of legal assistance could help you to successfully file claims for whiplash and related damages. 

Evidence Needed to Prove Your Whiplash Injury Exists

Medical diagnosis from a licensed doctor is very compelling evidence of a whiplash injury. The diagnosis should describe the impairment of motion and extreme pain created in the neck and nearby regions of the body. 

Additional factors that help to prove that you suffered a whiplash injury include:

  • How fast you obtained medical care for neck issues 
  • Your medical treatment received
  • Whether you are following the doctor’s advice to enable healing

If the doctor could identify specific soft tissue damage that has occurred, that is even better. An MRI scan or similar diagnostic tool likely could detect more soft tissue damage than an X-ray and would work well to affirm the whiplash injury. The nature of the accident also should help to prove your whiplash injury is genuine. When one vehicle rams into another from the sides or rear, that would deliver the kind of blow that commonly causes whiplash injuries. 

Signs of Possible Whiplash Injuries

Whiplash injuries usually do not show themselves immediately. But you can watch out for signs of whiplash and obtain medical treatment if the condition worsens during the hours or days immediately following the injury accident. 

Common signs of whiplash include feeling extreme pain when turning your head in either direction. If you tilt your head forward or try to lean back and feel a lot of pain in your neck region, that is a typical sign of whiplash.

Whiplash could make your neck radiate pain to your shoulders and upper back. Also, if you hear any snapping, cracking, or popping sounds while moving your head even a little bit, that is a good sign that whiplash has taken hold. 

Is Whiplash Dangerous?

Whiplash injuries are not particularly dangerous because they are caused by soft tissue tears and sprains in the neck area. It might feel like you broke your neck, but that is not the case. 

Your head and neck will have a greatly limited range of motion due to the injury.

Whenever you feel pain in your neck area, your doctor should perform a thorough examination to rule out a more serious neck or spinal injury. The whiplash injury also might be accompanied by a slipped or herniated disk that greatly slows down the healing process. It also could create a lot more pain that lasts more than a few days.

In most cases, whiplash heals on its own. You will regain full range of neck and head motion without pain. Most people heal up quickly, but some could take several days, weeks, or even months. 

Some of the more minor effects might last for quite a while, including cracking sounds when turning your head and neck. But it almost always goes away.

Commonly Sought Damages from Whiplash Injuries

Whiplash injuries often do more than cause a lot of pain. They could make it impossible to work for a few days or longer. A whiplash injury also could stop you from participating in enjoyable activities and hobbies until the pain goes away and you regain your range of motion for the head and neck. 

If you sustain a whiplash injury, you could seek lost compensation as well as medical costs. Those medical costs will probably include physical therapy that helps to reduce pain and swelling while encouraging your body to heal naturally. 

Pain and suffering are the most obvious damage that you could claim when suffering from whiplash. The inability to get through the day or get a good night’s sleep because of whiplash pain is legitimate damage that could be claimed in an insurance filing or court if it comes to a legal fight for damages. 

Reasons Insurers Might Cite to Deny Whiplash Claims

Insurers can be highly skeptical of whiplash claims. It is not that the insurers are trying to get out of paying a legitimate claim. It is just that their experience with whiplash claims could include many cases in which accident survivors exaggerate the amount of pain and suffering. 

If an insurer is skeptical of your claim, it might assign an insurance adjuster to investigate. A private investigator might try to follow you around to see if you are moving around better than you claim.

An insurer might obtain evidence that an accident survivor is doing highly physical activities such as skiing, swimming, or even bowling. Even something as basic as working in a flower garden could suggest your injuries are not as bad as claimed. 

If an insurer can obtain evidence that undermines a valid claim, it likely would deny some or all the accident claims for injuries. That is why it is very important to abide by your doctor’s orders and enable your whiplash injury to fully heal instead of rushing to resume your normal daily activities.

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Those with Whiplash after an Accident

If you are suffering from whiplash injuries after a car accident, reach out to the experienced Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Our legal team can help to build strong cases and file successful claims with insurers. We will fight for you to secure the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Our offices are conveniently located in BaltimoreGlen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent clients throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.