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Car accidents can cause a variety of different injuries depending on the severity of the crash. One injury that some people suffer is whiplash. What many people are unaware of is that whiplash can cause neurological problems.
These problems can be put into two categories. The first is damage directly to the nerve root. It can be root irritation or encroachment and happens from herniated discs in the neck. The second neurological condition is referred pain. This condition may occur with disc injuries, facet joint or ligament damage.
You must seek medical attention if you suffer whiplash in a car accident or other incident. Once you are safe, contact Arash Law, founded by famous attorney Arash Khorsandi, Esq., for a free case review.
We can work with you to assess how your whiplash injury can be compensated through a personal injury claim. Our California whiplash injury lawyers have decades of experience handling personal injury cases.
More Information About Neurological Conditions from Whiplash
To understand how whiplash can cause neurological conditions, we must first understand how the neck works. Facet joints are found in the back of your neck. They are on either side of your spine and provide flexibility to the spine. They also help with stability. These joints can suffer damage within milliseconds. They are often damaged during rear-end collisions. The facet joint can be damaged when the joint suffers compressions and then an over-stretching in the neck.
Facet joint damage can cause sharp stabbing pain. It may also result in referred pain and spasms. You might experience these symptoms in your shoulder blades or upper back. If the damage occurs in the upper neck, it can lead to referred pain in the back of the head. This pain can lead to radiation headaches that can sometimes reach your forehead.
You may get a grade three injury classification if you suffer neurological symptoms from a whiplash injury. That means the injury will take at least a year or more to heal. It can also mean victims suffer chronic pain or disability. The degree of a whiplash injury may not be contingent on the accident’s severity. Our California whiplash injury attorneys will discuss this classification with your medical team.
The Spine Institute of San Diego has conducted research that shows a person’s head can withstand up to 10 G-forces. A slight change of 5 mph can make a difference in these forces in a crash. Sometimes crashes have little to no vehicle damage and still result in life-altering injuries. Further research by Yale University finds joint, disc, and ligament damage can happen with G-forces between 6.5 to 8.5.
Insurance companies assume that whiplash injuries heal within six to twelve weeks. Many grade-one injuries heal within this timeframe. So the insurance company automatically classifies your injuries as grade one because they follow the MIST policy (minor impact soft tissue). This policy was implemented in the early 1990s by insurers. Even though there has been research regarding whiplash, insurers have not changed their policies.
Not all muscle strain injuries heal similarly or have the same designations. If your injury lasts longer than this timeframe, the insurance company may deny or reduce your claim. That is where our award-winning car accident attorneys come in. We will show the insurance company that your injuries are worse than they assume, so you require more medical attention.
The legal process becomes contentious when an injury takes more than twelve weeks to heal. Generally, half of car accident victims heal within twelve weeks, and the other half often suffer chronic pain or disability. These long-lasting injuries usually get grade three or four designations. Your whiplash injury may lead to long-term pain.
Symptoms of Nerve Damage After Whiplash
Symptoms of nerve damage will vary by severity for different individuals. If you experience numbness or tingling after a car accident, that may indicate nerve issues. You may also feel shooting or radiating pain, prickling, and muscle weakness. Car accidents are often associated with broken bones, bruises, cuts, and contusions.
What often happens is the person suffers internal injuries. Since you cannot see these injuries, the insurance company might not think they are there. You must visit an emergency room or doctor to diagnose your injuries and give you get a better idea of your treatment and future. Doctors and other medical specialists can typically see if you have a severe injury like nerve damage.
The spine is where most damage to nerves occurs. However, you may also experience damaged nerves in the arms. Many car accident injuries happen around the spine. These injuries must be addressed immediately. What can sometimes happen is an injury is left untreated, and it gets worse.
Nerves can be compressed, pinched, or damaged. Some pinched nerves can resolve independently. However, seeking medical attention to get a treatment plan is always best. A burning sensation, muscle spasms, and sensitivity can also be signs of nerve damage. Whenever you feel discomfort or pain, you should get medical attention.
Nerve Damage Diagnosis and Treatment
If you are taken from the scene, you will be assessed by emergency personnel. They will do a general assessment for any imminent injuries. However, you will likely have to follow up with your primary care physician or an orthopedic doctor. If it is suspected that you are suffering nerve damage, an orthopedic physician can diagnose and treat it. Catching nerve damage early is vital for successful outcomes. Not all nerve injuries will result in lifelong pain.
However, some nerve conditions are permanent regardless of how soon you get a diagnosis. An orthopedic doctor will perform a physical exam to assess your symptoms. They are looking at your strength, reflexes, coordination, and sensations. They will likely send you for imaging and neurological tests. In a neurological exam, they test your nerve function. They are also looking at the electrical activity in your muscles. They want to assess how your muscles react to stimuli.
A doctor may have an idea of what your condition is but will need to send you in for images. They will likely recommend a CT or MRI. These tests can see internal injuries. Once your doctor receives all of your tests, they can give you an accurate diagnosis. They will also have the basis for your treatment plan if you have nerve damage.
Nerve damage can require extensive and expensive medical treatment. Some injuries can heal with some time, and others are long-lasting. You must work with a California accident injury lawyer experienced in whiplashes to get payment for these treatments. We will fight and negotiate with the insurance company to cover your treatment now and in the future.
Whiplash symptoms for car accident victims will vary. You may suffer one or multiple symptoms at once. They can also come and go. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Headaches – If a joint, muscle tightness, or nerve in the cervical spine is irritated, it can cause headaches. They can be very painful and cause other symptoms. Some are so debilitating they prevent people from working.
- Neck pain – You can generally experience this pain in one spot or around your neck. It can also radiate to other nearby areas. When neck pain radiates, it can go into your shoulder, arm, or hands. Oftentimes, neck pain is caused by muscle strains or ligament sprains. It can also stem from nerve, disc, bone, or joint injuries.
- Neck instability – When soft tissues are stretched or torn, it can cause neck instability. Fractures are also another potential cause.
- Shoulder or upper back pain – Sometimes, when there is damage to soft tissues, the pain can radiate to your upper back or shoulders.
- Reduced range of motion – A reduced range of motion can be caused by muscle tightening, pain, or a joint mechanical problem.
- Radiating numbness, weakness, or tingling – Cervical radiculopathy can happen when the neck’s nerve roots are inflamed or compressed. It can lead to tingling, weakness, and numbness. These symptoms can radiate to your shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers. Most often, the sensation is felt on one side of the body. However, it can also affect both sides if multiple nerve roots are damaged.
Pain can range from minor to severe. Sometimes the pain becomes so unbearable that it interferes with daily life. The impact your whiplash injury has on your life must be considered in your insurance claim. You must document your injuries and work with your doctors. You must also speak to Arash Law, headed by Arash Khorsandi, Esq. and our personal injury lawyers in California.
Additional Symptoms and Associated Disorder
We previously addressed some of the most common symptoms of whiplash. However, there are associated disorders and symptoms you may experience. These symptoms may present as:
- Dizziness –You may experience dizziness if you have neck instability or a concussion.
- Emotional changes – Your mood can change and cause you to be anxious, irritable, or depressed. Pinpointing where it stems from can be challenging since it can be due to PTSD, concussions, neck injuries, or stress.
- Vision problems – Blurry vision and visual problems can happen from nerve damage or concussions and can also lead to dizziness.
- Fatigue – If you suffer from depression, stress, nerve damage, pain, or difficulty sleeping, you will likely have less energy.
- Ringing in your ears – This ringing is also known as tinnitus and can happen in one or both ears. It can happen occasionally or consistently. You may experience ear ringing because of a brain injury, jaw injury, stress, or nerve damage.
- Trouble sleeping – You may have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep because you are experiencing pain, discomfort, or distress.
- Problems with memory or concentration – Whiplash can also impact your cognitive function. You can have trouble thinking and with your memory and concentration. Sometimes this experience will happen immediately following the accident. Other times it can begin to show hours or days later. Stress or brain injuries can also lead to cognitive difficulties.
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing – You can find it painful or difficult to swallow, yawn or chew. It can be due to injuries to the esophagus, larynx, or jaw muscles.
Your doctor can advise you of the cause of these symptoms and how you can alleviate them. The California personal injury lawyers managed by Arash Khorsandi, Esq. at Arash Law can review your doctor’s recommendations and additional injuries you are suffering from. We will address these injuries in a personal injury claim. Our team is ready to take on the insurance company and fight for justice.
Potential Complications of Whiplash
Whiplash has varying symptoms and ailments. The insurance company assumes that most people will feel better within a few weeks or a couple of months. That can be true for some. However, other whiplash victims will suffer complications or long-lasting whiplash. Your symptoms can last months or years.
Predicating your outcome is challenging. Generally speaking, if you had severe symptoms initially, then you may suffer chronic pain in the future. Intense initial symptoms might include:
- Radiating pain in the arms
- Severe neck pain
- Minimal range of motion
Additionally, some risk factors may link to worse outcomes, such as:
- Having whiplash previously
- Older age
- High-speed injuries
- Current low back or neck pain
The best way to assess how your whiplash injury will impact your life is to follow your doctor’s orders. They will keep track of your progress. When you reach specific benchmarks, they can reassess. If you have complications from whiplash, that can also require higher compensation awards.
The team of car accident attorneys who’re well-versed in whiplash injuries from Arash Law will work with your medical team to determine when you reach maximum medical improvement. Getting this benchmark means you have made as much progress as possible. It also allows us to assess how much future treatment you will need. All of this information will help in calculating your claim.
Treatment Options for Whiplash
You will have various treatment options depending on your injury severity and symptoms. Your doctors will review your diagnostic exams, symptoms, and health history to establish a treatment plan. You must be honest with your doctor about your symptoms and how long they last. Some methods you can use to ease your whiplash symptoms include:
- Applying ice to your neck
- Medication for pain and inflammation
- Physical therapy to improve strength and flexibility
- Wearing a cervical collar to stabilize your neck
- Neck injections to reduce tissue and nerve inflammation
You can also get rest, use sleep aids and stay active. However, work with your doctor and follow their directions. You may require a surgical procedure if you have a severe whiplash injury. This is not medical advice, as your doctor is the only one who can guide you.
Contact The Most Trusted Personal Injury Lawyers in California
Arash Law and the team led by Arash Khorsandi, Esq. have been helping clients throughout California for decades. We understand how the insurance company works. We know they want to protect their bottom line. Our California personal injury lawyers want to protect our clients.
We have collected over 500 million dollars for clients across the state. Call our team at (888) 488-1391 to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.