A distracted driver might have been changing the radio station or sending a text message when he or she struck your vehicle from behind. It could have happened for another reason such as speeding, reckless driving, or slippery road conditions.
Although who was at fault may be clear, a rear-end collision victim's injury may be difficult to prove. This is especially true for injuries like whiplash, as symptoms may not appear immediately.
What is whiplash?
When your vehicle is struck from the rear, it’s likely to cause your head to whip back and forth. This rapid movement can damage joints in the neck, pinch nerves, and overstretch muscle tissue. In severe cases, you may suffer from broken bones and torn muscles or tendons.
Symptoms and diagnosis
Necks are complex, meaning your whiplash injury and symptoms may be different than others in similar accidents. Pain can be either immediate or delayed for weeks.
That’s why it’s important to thoroughly document a rear-end accident and file a police report, no matter how minor the crash seems. This will provide insurance companies with an accurate crash report, which can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Symptoms of whiplash often include:
- Tightness and spasms in the neck, back, and shoulders
- Dizziness (also a symptom of a concussion)
- Pain when moving neck and/or head
- Burning, tingling, and other abnormal sensations
- Upper back pain
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, and hoarseness when speaking may be symptoms of damage to the esophagus and larynx.
Treatment and prevention
You should seek a medical examination as soon as possible after a rear-end accident, even if there’s only mild pain. Medical scans can discover any bone fractures, herniated discs, or significant ligament injuries that you may be unaware of.
Thankfully, most cases of whiplash will result in a full recovery. Treatment options often include physical therapy and remaining as active as possible. Medications can be used to reduce pain, swelling, and muscle spasms. In more severe cases, a soft brace can be used to immobilize the neck.
Seat belts, positioning your headrest correctly (not too low), and sitting upright can mitigate the severity of whiplash. But no matter how minor or severe your whiplash may be, you should speak to the Law Offices of Joseph L. Bornstein as soon as possible.
Our attorneys have been helping Maine families cope with personal injury cases for more than four decades. There is no cost for your initial consultation and never a fee unless you win or settle your claim. Contact us today to learn more.