After a car accident, it is crucial to receive medical attention to check for any serious injury. It is especially important to do this before you accept any settlement from the other driver’s insurance company. Once you accept the settlement, you waive your right to take any further legal action. This makes it vital to ensure that the settlement amount is sufficient to cover your medical expenses.
One of the most common injuries from a car accident is whiplash. This condition can range in severity and tends to occur most often after a rear-end collision that causes your head to jerk abruptly backward and forward. Here are some important facts to know about whiplash.
- You may not immediately recognize signs of injury
After a car accident, your system is likely flooded with adrenaline, which can mask the pain of any injuries you may have sustained. Even if you have whiplash, there may be a delay of several hours before you experience any symptoms. You will usually start feeling pain or other effects within 24 hours after the collision, but it can take a few days longer.
- Symptoms do not always affect the neck alone
Whiplash most commonly involves stiffness, pain and loss of range of motion in the neck. However, other common symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, headaches, pain and tenderness in the arms or shoulders and numbness or tingling of the upper extremities. More rarely, you may experience neurologic symptoms like ringing in the ears or blurred vision, cognitive symptoms like memory problems or difficult concentrating or psychological symptoms like depression.
- The effects can last a long time
With a treatment program from a doctor that includes physical therapy and/or pain medication, most cases of whiplash resolve within a matter of weeks. However, some people continue to have chronic pain due to whiplash for years after the accident. You may be more likely to develop long-term symptoms if you have had whiplash previously.