What Should I Do If I Notice Symptoms of Whiplash After a Car Accident?

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries reported after a car accident. However, many times, symptoms don’t appear right away. It’s not uncommon for symptoms of whiplash to be delayed for a few hours, or even a few days. The symptoms might be so minor that you don’t pay much attention to them right away. Maybe you’re not really sure if it’s whiplash or just normal aches and pains.

What symptoms should you be on the lookout for? What should you do when you realize that you’re experiencing symptoms of whiplash? Here’s what you need to know.

What is Whiplash, Anyway?

Whiplash is an injury involving the neck, and, in some cases the shoulders and back. During a car accident, especially a rear-end collision, momentum can cause a passenger’s head to experience violent, rapid back and forth movement. This motion causes the tissue, tendons, and/or ligaments in the neck to overextend. The force of the crash basically causes the neck to extend beyond its normal range of motion.

What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s really important to make a conscious effort to recognize potential signs and symptoms of whiplash. These include:

  • Headaches, often involving or beginning at the base of the skull
  • Stiff neck
  • Limited range of motion in the neck and shoulders
  • Neck pain that becomes worse when you attempt to move your head
  • Numbness or tingling in your arms, and
  • Shoulder, arm, or upper back pain.

Individuals with a severe whiplash injury might also experience dizziness, fatigue, and disturbances in their mental health.

Steps to Take After You Notice Signs of Whiplash

Whiplash can be a relatively modest injury. In fact, the injury often heals on its own without invasive medical treatment. However, whiplash injuries can also be very serious. In fact, there are times when surgery or other invasive medical treatment might be needed to treat a severe whiplash injury. That’s why it’s important to know what to do if you begin to identify possible signs of whiplash. 

Seek Medical Attention Immediately

The sooner you get to the doctor, the better. Why? First, you want to make sure that your injury doesn’t get worse. You want to make sure that you protect yourself from possible complications and health issues. Your doctor can evaluate your injury and prescribe a course of treatment. The best-case scenario might involve some painkillers, muscle relaxers, and rest

Second, you want to do everything in your power to tie your injury to your car accident. The sooner you see the doctor, the easier this will be. The less time that lapses between the crash and your trip to the ER, the better. Proving causation will be a fundamental piece of your injury claim or personal injury lawsuit, should you decide to pursue compensation from a negligent party.

Document Your Injury and Recollection of the Crash

Once you notice signs of whiplash, think back to your accident. Write down what you remember it. Try to put yourself back in that car and replay what happened. The more details you can remember, the better. Why? This information can help if you decide to ask for monetary damages. Your lawyer can use your recollection as a baseline for their investigation.

It’s also important to keep track of your symptoms. Your symptoms can be helpful in pinpointing the severity of your injury, which will be important when establishing a value of your injury claim.

Direct All Questions to Your Whiplash Attorney

Once you claim to have been injured after an accident, you’ll face resistance from at-fault parties and their insurance companies. They’ll probably deny responsibility and blame you for getting hurt. They might even try to say that you’re faking your injury because you waited so long to report it. 

Don’t let these tactics work. Turn to someone who has experience going up against insurance companies and handling complex injury cases. A personal injury lawyer can fight to make sure that your injury claim is taken seriously and that you’re extended a fair settlement offer. 

How Can I Find a Good Whiplash Attorney?

Your case is important. There’s a lot at stake. Whiplash can really interfere with your life and make things difficult for a time. It’s important to make sure that your case is in good hands. When choosing a personal injury attorney to handle your whiplash case, here are some things to consider:

  • Ask friends and family for recommendations
  • Look for an attorney who has experience and success handling cases like yours, and
  • Choose an attorney who shows you that they care about you and your case.

Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation. That’s a great opportunity for you to ask questions, learn about an attorney, and ultimately choose the best fit for your case.