Car accidents can leave victims with a variety of painful injuries and serious consequences. One of the most insidious car accident injuries is whiplash. This neck injury can occur even in low-speed collisions and often remains undetected in the immediate aftermath of a crash.
If you suffered a whiplash injury as a result of a Denver car crash, you may have a right to claim money for your losses. To learn more, contact the experienced car accident lawyers of Olson Law Firm for a free consultation.
Whiplash Symptoms After a Denver Car Accident
Whiplash injuries are unusual because, in many cases, victims do not suffer noticeable symptoms for days or weeks. After this initial delay, the following symptoms can persist for months or longer once they finally manifest:
- Pain and stiffness in the neck
- Neck pain that worsens with movement
- Swelling in the neck or shoulders
- Reduced range of motion in the neck
- Headaches that originate near the base of the skull
- Tenderness in the shoulder, arms, or upper back
- A tingling or numbing sensation in the arms
- Sleep disturbances and fatigue
- Dizziness and blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulties with memory or concentration
- Depression or irritability
Additional Injuries That Could Result from Untreated Whiplash
Many times, whiplash victims recover from their symptoms within a matter of days or weeks and do not experience lasting complications. However, a severe whiplash injury can result in months or years of painful symptoms or even secondary injuries.
People are more likely to suffer chronic pain after a whiplash injury if their initial symptoms are intense and appear soon after the accident. Older people, those who have previously suffered whiplash, and those with pre-existing back or neck conditions are also at greater risk of serious complications.
If whiplash injuries are left untreated, victims may sustain additional injuries, such as permanent loss of motion, degenerative disc disease, or chronic headaches.
Long-Term Issues from Untreated Whiplash
Over time, untreated whiplash injuries can negatively impact nearly every aspect of a person’s life. When people suffer from chronic pain after a serious injury, sleep difficulties often follow because it’s difficult to fall and stay asleep if you’re in pain. Lack of proper sleep can lead to a compromised immune system, changes in mood, and even worse neck or back pain.
Psychological issues such as depression and anxiety can also result from untreated whiplash injuries. If a whiplash injury prevents a person from sleeping or engaging in certain activities they used to enjoy, their social relationships, personal life, and mental health can suffer.
How Is Whiplash Diagnosed?
To identify whiplash injuries after a car accident, healthcare professionals use a variety of clinical methods and diagnostic tests, such as:
- Physical exams ─ During an initial exam, your doctor will test your range of motion, ask about any pain you’re experiencing, and monitor your reflexes.
- X-rays ─ You may be asked to sit for an X-ray so your doctor can rule out alternative explanations such as arthritis, bone fractures, or dislocations.
- Computerized tomography (CT) scans ─ A CT scan is a special type of X-ray that can detect damage in cross-sections of bone.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests ─ With an MRI test, your doctor can detect the types of soft-tissue injuries commonly associated with whiplash.
How Is Whiplash Treated?
After a whiplash injury, your doctor may recommend the following types of treatment to alleviate pain and restore your full range of motion:
- Rest and immobilization ─ Bed rest and stabilizing the neck with a foam collar can give your body the downtime it needs to heal.
- Temperature therapy ─ Hot or cold packs can be applied to the neck to alleviate painful symptoms.
- Medications ─ Prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxants can be used to decrease pain.
- Exercise and physical therapy ─ You may be prescribed a series of stretches or exercises to do at home or visit a physical therapist for more intensive work.
How to File a Claim for a Whiplash Injury
To recover compensation for a whiplash injury after a car accident, you may file a claim with the insurance provider of the at-fault driver or potentially with your own insurance provider, depending on the coverage you have. The process for filing a compensation claim involves:
- Report the crash to law enforcement and save a copy of the police accident report.
- Seek treatment for your whiplash injuries so you have a record of your condition. Follow your doctor’s orders, and save all paperwork related to your treatment.
- Save any evidence you obtained at the scene. This includes photos of the crash scene and the vehicles involved, as well as witness contact information.
- Speak with a trusted Denver car accident lawyer about your next steps. Your attorney can manage all communication with the insurance companies, including filing a claim, negotiating a settlement, and taking your case to court, if necessary.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Whiplash Injury?
Because every whiplash case is different, there’s no “average” settlement amount. With a successful claim, you could be entitled to compensation for the following losses:
- Medical expenses related to the treatment of your whiplash injury
- Lost wages and lost future earning potential, if you are too injured to work
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs, if your car was damaged
- The subjective costs of the pain and suffering you endured
If you intend to file a whiplash injury claim after a Colorado car accident, the law imposes a three-year deadline on your ability to take action. This three-year time limit begins the moment you are injured, so it’s important to act quickly. If you fail to file your claim within the appropriate time frame, your case may be dismissed, and you could lose your ability to recover compensation.
Talk to a Lawyer Now About Your Whiplash Injury
At Olson Law Firm, our mission is to make a difference in your Colorado car accident claim. Our initial consultations are always free, and we do not charge legal fees unless we win compensation for you.
Contact us today to discuss the details of your whiplash injury claim with a qualified attorney.