What To Do if You Develop Whiplash After a Car Accident

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Whiplash is one of the most common injuries people develop after being in a car accident, affecting over 1 million car crash victims each year. Whiplash occurs when the force of impact, such as that created during a car accident, causes the head to jerk violently back and forth. Individuals most commonly develop whiplash after a rear-end collision, but you can develop it in any type of car crash — including those that occur at speeds as low as 5 mph.

Though whiplash generally goes away on its own with little or no treatment, complications arise in approximately 10% of cases. Whether you are at risk of developing complications or simply want to speed up the recovery process, it may be in your best interests to seek whiplash treatment from an experienced car accident doctor in the days immediately following your crash.

Whiplash: An OverviewSteps To Take After You Develop Whiplash | CityWide Injury & Accident

Whiplash is a soft tissue injury that develops when the neck extends beyond its normal range of motion and at speeds to which it is not accustomed. In terms of car accident injuries, it is relatively mild and requires little more than at-home care to treat. However, it can cause you significant pain and discomfort in the early days after your accident. In severe cases, that pain and discomfort may continue for far longer than is normal, such as up to a year and beyond. To prevent complications, you should seek a diagnosis and treatment from a qualified car accident doctor as soon as you start developing symptoms.

Whiplash Symptoms

Whiplash is tricky in that it is a delayed car accident injury. What this means is that most people do not begin to develop symptoms until hours or even days after the triggering event. If your case is more typical than not, you may start to notice symptoms within the first 24 hours of the crash. However, the first signs may not arise until days later. Typically, whiplash symptoms look more or less the same for everyone. The most common symptoms are as follows:

  • Headache, especially at the base of the skull
  • Neck stiffness and pain
  • Pain and stiffness across the shoulders
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Chronic fatigue

Some car accident victims do develop less common symptoms of whiplash. Those are as follows:

  • Neck muscle spasms
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbances

Once you begin to develop symptoms, consult with a car accident injury doctor regarding whiplash treatment.

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Often, whiplash patients recover completely from their injuries. However, in rare cases, individuals may develop complications that linger for years, if not their entire lifetimes. Lingering complications may include ongoing pain, chronic headaches, and neurological issues, such as difficulty concentrating, insomnia, and sudden mood swings. Though there is no known medical cause for why some people develop whiplash complications, health care professionals suspect it has something to do with damage to the discs, joints, and/or ligaments in the neck.

Seek a Diagnosis as Soon as You Develop Whiplash Symptoms

If you develop symptoms of whiplash in the hours or days following your car accident, the best thing you can do to protect your physical health and legal rights is to seek a proper diagnosis from a car accident doctor. Your initial appointment may consist of three parts: a Q&A session, a physical exam, and imaging tests.

When you first meet with your doctor, he or she may ask you about the accident and injury. He or she will want to know how the accident happened, what you felt during the accident, how you feel now, and whether the pain is shooting, dull or sharp. Once your doctor feels you have provided all the information he or she needs to know, you will move on to the physical portion of the exam. During the physical exam, your doctor may check for tenderness, assess the range of motion in your neck, and look for any bruising.

Though not always necessary to make a whiplash diagnosis, your doctor may order imaging tests such as CT scans, X-rays, and MRI scans. These tests allow your doctor to assess for inflammation along the spinal cord, in the soft tissues or among the nerves. Imaging tests are also helpful for identifying possible brain injuries.

In rare cases, car accident injury doctors order more advanced forms of imaging tests, such as positron emission tomography and diffuse tensor imaging. Your doctor may only order these kinds of tests if he or she suspects brain damage, as both PET scans and DTIs can find and measure the extent of damage to the brain and other areas of the body.

Prevent Complications With Whiplash TreatmentWoman with Backpain - Citywide Injury & Accident

The best way to prevent adverse outcomes of whiplash following a car accident is to seek a diagnosis and treatment from a qualified car accident doctor. The sooner you schedule a visit with a doctor, the less likely you are to exacerbate your injury and develop complications in the future. After performing a thorough exam, your doctor may prescribe a course of treatment that includes a mixture of at-home care and professional therapy.

At-Home Care for Whiplash

If your whiplash symptoms are mild, your doctor may advise you to do little more than rest, take over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin or acetaminophen, and apply heat and ice alternatingly to the injured area. If your doctor suspects that tension will be a problem for your recovery, he or she may prescribe muscle relaxers. You may also have to wear a neck brace for support for a short period.

Physical Therapy for Whiplash

If your injury is more severe, your doctor may recommend range-of-motion exercises you can do at home to stretch the injured area and help strengthen it. However, if at-home exercises prove inefficient, or if your doctor thinks you can benefit from professional help right away, he or she may recommend physical therapy. Like at-home neck exercises, physical therapy can help to strengthen your neck muscles and reduce your pain.

Chiropractic Care for Whiplash

More stubborn cases of whiplash may require spinal manipulation, massage therapy, trigger point therapy, epidural spinal injections, electronic nerve stimulation, and other more intensive forms of therapy to heal. If yours is one such case, your doctor may recommend chiropractic care as a form of whiplash treatment.

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Soft tissue rehabilitation can help heal torn, sprained, or otherwise damaged tendons, ligaments and muscles along the neck and spine. If the soft tissues in your neck or back fail to heal properly in the months following your crash, soft tissue rehabilitation may be the next line of treatment.

Surgical Treatment

Finally, your car accident injury doctor may recommend surgery as a last resort. Surgical treatment is rarely necessary for whiplash but may be the only option for individuals who developed herniated discs or spinal fractures in the accident. Surgery can help realign the spine and restore joint movement.

See a Car Accident Doctor Who Specializes in Whiplash Treatment

After a car accident that leaves you injured, you should not work with just any doctor. You should work with a doctor who has experience helping car accident victims recover from their injuries and, just as importantly, who maintains an expansive network of both health care and legal professionals.

After an accident, you may find that you are dealing with more than just physical pain and the associated recovery. You may also face financial challenges, issues with your insurance claim and legal worries, all of which can slow your recovery. The right doctor will provide relief for your injuries first and foremost. However, he or she will go on to do more than that. He or she will connect you with the health professionals who can aid in your recovery, answer any questions you have regarding insurance and billing, and, if necessary, refer you to a reputable personal injury lawyer.Shoulder Pain Injuries - Citywide Injury & Accident

Just as important as your recovery, the right car accident doctor can tie your whiplash injury to your car accident. If you later develop symptoms, or if the cost of your whiplash treatment proves to be more than you can afford, it will be beneficial for you to have medical records dating back to as soon after your accident as possible. Your doctor can forward your medical records to your personal injury lawyer, if applicable, and thereby streamline the discovery process of your claim.

Get the Specialized Treatment You Need

Some people will tell you to only seek whiplash treatment if you experience symptoms that linger for more than two weeks or if your pain prevents you from engaging in most or all of your daily activities. We encourage you to ignore this advice and to schedule an appointment with a car accident doctor as soon as you suspect something is amiss. At CityWide Injury & Accident, your first exam is free, which means it costs you no more than an hour of your time to take the first step toward protecting your health and legal rights. Do not wait for your pain to become unbearable. Make your appointment today.

5 Reasons You Need to See a Doctor After a Car Accident

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Being in a car accident can be overwhelming. Between dealing with the insurance company and getting repairs on your vehicle, medical care may be one of the last things on your mind. Despite how you feel immediately following an accident, you need to make a visit with car accident doctors a priority.

Why Go to a Doctor After a Car Accident?

Going to a doctor after a car accident should be something you do within the first 24 hours following the accident.

1. Identify Life-Threatening Injuries

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Many people mistake forgoing medical care following an accident because they claim that they feel fine. Adrenaline floods the body following a car accident, masking some of the injuries you may experience, even life-threatening ones. It can take hours, sometimes even days, for the symptoms of a concussion or internal bleeding to show up.

Foregoing a doctor’s visit delays treatment that may be necessary, often worsening your condition and making connecting your injury to the accident more difficult.

If you experience symptoms a few days later and seek medical care, the insurance company may question whether the car accident led to the symptoms. Car accidents can lead to many injuries, including broken bones, internal bleeding, back and neck injuries, and concussions. Specific injuries, such as concussions and whiplash, may not have symptoms that show up for days. Certain medical conditions have the best recovery options when you receive treatment early.

2. Speed Up Your Insurance Claim

The process of filing an insurance claim following an accident can be overwhelming. Your insurance adjuster collects information about the accident before processing your claim. The insurance adjuster may collect information from the police report, witness statements, evidence from the accident scene, and any medical reports. Medical records that discuss the injuries you sustain following an accident can help to provide the insurance company with the evidence needed to speed up your claim.

If the insurance adjuster doubts that your injuries, and need for medical care, aren’t related to the accident, this uncertainty can delay your claim. The longer that your insurance company spends as it evaluates your claim, the longer it takes for you to receive compensation. A car accident injury can prevent you from returning to work, and you may likely have vehicle repairs. Receiving timely compensation is essential following an accident.

3. Begin Your Recovery

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Being involved in a serious car accident can be life-changing, both financially and emotionally. Understanding your medical condition following a car accident is one of the first steps to moving on after the accident. Even if you feel OK, it’s best to receive a complete medical evaluation from a doctor after a car accident to find out whether you can expect symptoms later.

If you wait to receive care, your doctor may not be able to tell whether your aches and pains are from the car accident. Waiting to receive treatment can make it more challenging for your doctor to develop a treatment plan without knowing the cause of your symptoms. After a car accident, the doctor may order treatments such as physical therapy or rehabilitation if you see a doctor. The sooner you begin these treatments, the sooner you can start your path to recovery.

4. Ensure your medical care is covered

If you receive medical care immediately following a car accident, you stand a good chance that your insurance provider will cover your medical expenses. It’s easier for the insurance company to understand your reason for medical care if you have just been involved in an accident. Otherwise, if you wait a few days to receive care, the insurance company may question your reason for a medical evaluation, leading to a lack of coverage.

 

Car accident doctors are typically familiar with the processes and paperwork necessary to file a claim with your insurance provider. However, if you don’t see a doctor right after the car accident, the doctor may wonder whether the car accident is indeed the cause of your symptoms. Additionally, if your insurance company doesn’t cover the total cost of your medical care, you may decide to seek compensation through a third-party personal injury claim. Receiving medical care following the accident makes it easier to support the legal claim with evidence about your injuries.

5. Protect Your Legal Rights

The Vital Role of Personal Injury Physicians in Your Claim | CityWide Injury & Accident

If you’ve received injuries in an accident where someone else is at fault, you may have a legal case. Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible driver may be necessary to collect the compensation you need to deal with the accident. Car repairs and medical bills can be expensive. Without evidence of a medical injury, the defendant’s legal representation may question if you were injured.

A statute of limitations refers to how long you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. After an accident occurs. Texas has a two-year statute of limitation, which begins on the day of the accident or injury. Even if your lawyer and the defendant’s lawyer negotiate and settle the case outside of court, your medical condition will play an essential role in the amount you receive. If you don’t visit a doctor after a car accident immediately, the defense’s legal representation will likely question whether or not your injuries are the defendant’s responsibility.

Common Injuries Following a Car Accident

It’s not uncommon to experience medical injuries following a car accident. Some injuries may be minor, including cuts or bruises, and require no medical care. Others, however, are more severe and require the professional care of a medical provider. Following a car accident, common injuries you may experience include broken bones, soft tissue injuries, lacerations, or headaches.

Some injuries may not be physical ones but can be as damaging to your daily life. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can lead to vivid memories or recollections of the accident. PTSD can affect many areas of life, including your ability to sleep or drive a vehicle again. Visiting a doctor after a car accident can help you identify emotional concerns like PTSD.

A child may have different symptoms than an adult after being in a car accident. However, it’s just as important to take your child to a doctor after a car accident.

How to Receive Medical Care Following a Car Accident

If you’re involved in a car accident, you can seek medical care from any medical provider. If you have serious injuries, it’s best to immediately go to the nearest hospital. If your injuries are less severe or feel OK, you should still seek immediate medical care, but you can go to an urgent care center or car accident doctor.

 

Regardless of where you decide to receive medical care, an evaluation with a doctor after a car accident is an important step. To ensure you prioritize your safety and protect your legal rights, be sure to complete the following steps:

  • Choose the appropriate medical treatment center: For emergencies, go to the nearest hospital for medical care. Otherwise, choose an urgent care center or car accident clinic near you.
  • Notify the doctor you were in an accident: It’s also a good idea to notify the doctor or medical care team member that you were in an accident. This notification ensures the doctors order the right tests.
  • Inform your doctor about your medical history: Informing your doctor of your medical history can help your health care professional provide you with the best care. Depending on specific medical conditions, the individual may adjust treatment.
  • Be honest with your symptoms: Be as honest as possible with the symptoms you’re experiencing from the accident. Your direct report of your symptoms helps a doctor decide what conditions to monitor.The Role of Your Personal Injury Lawyer - Citywide Injury & Accident
  • Ask questions: Be sure to ask questions when receiving medical care from a doctor once you have been involved in a car accident. Find out what symptoms you should monitor and when you may need to return for more care.
  • Make sure you understand your doctor’s orders before leaving a car accident clinic. If your symptoms worsen or you experience any new ones, make sure you go back to the clinic or hospital for care.

Document Your Doctor Visits Following an Accident

Another important reason for visiting a doctor is for the documentation. Whether you’re filing a claim with your insurance company or are pursuing compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, you’ll need copies of your medical records. Request copies of all medical records from your initial visit and any follow-up visits with a car accident doctor. Materials you should request include doctor’s notes, invoices, paid bills, imaging, and lab results.

Protect yourself and your legal rights by going to a health care professional following a car accident. Whether your injuries are minimal or severe, medical care should always be a priority following an accident.

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5 Reasons You Need to See a Doctor After a Car Accident | City Wide Injury & Accident – Houston, TX