Whiplash is a much misunderstood injury. Not many people realise that it can be severe, affecting the sufferer in a myriad of ways and it can persist for years after the injury was sustained. The truth is that whiplash can be a very complex injury, resulting from various stresses and strains put on the neck and spine during an incident. So what should you do if you have been involved in an accident that may cause whiplash? How do you recognise the signs of whiplash and what are your options afterwards?
What is whiplash?
Whiplash occurs when the head and neck are subjected to a number of forces. The first of these forces occurs when the vehicle in which the victim is travelling comes to a sudden stop. The body tries to continue travelling, but is brought to a stop by the seatbelt or other restraint. The body then stops, but the head whips forward before it comes to a stop. The whole body is then returned to its starting position, held in place by the restraint, followed by the head and neck being whipped back once again from the forward position. The action is over in a matter of micro-seconds, but the extreme forces involved put pressure on the delicate neck tendons and ligaments. After an accident, symptoms can often take a while to appear.
What should you do?
If you have suffered an accident in which your neck was subjected to such trauma, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible, even if you think the injury is not severe. This is because symptoms, once they do appear, can worsen over the next few days, so what you thought was a slight injury can turn out to be quite severe. There have been numerous whiplash compensation claims in which the victim, whilst not appearing to be injured in the first instance, has found themselves in severe pain within a day or two of the accident.
Take legal advice
Once you have sought the relevant medical advice and as soon as you have been diagnosed with a whiplash injury, you should seriously think about seeking legal advice regarding whiplash compensation claims.
Your whiplash injury is NOT just a sore neck. Whiplash can cause headaches, neck stiffness, tingling in the hands and fingers, lower back pain, dizziness, tiredness, blurred vision and vertigo. It can be a debilitating injury, leading to loss of income following extended time off work and bills resulting from private medical care such as osteopathy or acupuncture.
It is not fair that as an innocent victim, you should have to suffer financially as well as physically and this is where a claim for compensation can redress the balance. If the injury was sustained as a result of the reckless, careless or negligent behaviour of another, then making a claim for compensation can also help to ensure that justice is served and that the liable party is made to accept responsibility for their actions.