"In the U.S., if someone develops chronic neck pain or other pain after a car accident, and they go to their doctor or tell their friends, they are often not believed or are viewed with great suspicion..."
Are you aware of how important your compensation for a whiplash injury can be? Too often, a whiplash injury claim is overlooked or is under-compensated. It is often considered minor, but is it really? After all, you've suffered an accident, been injured even if the injury is 'just' whiplash.
Do you realize what a whiplash injury is
A whiplash typically causes injury to your neck. Do you think a neck injury is minor
Plenty of accident claim solicitors will try to tell you a whiplash injury won't bring much accident compensation, if any. Do you believe them? If you do, it's because you don't understand the long-term consequences of the injury. If you've been in an accident and suffered, you'd better start to understand how serious a neck injury can be. Overlook the importance of a whiplash accident claim, and you could be in for a very unhappy life.
15 Years Of Hell
Here's a story that will get you thinking twice about the importance of a whiplash neck injury claim.
It was a simple matter. A car accident. She was a passenger in her husband's car. Someone stopped suddenly in front of him, and he rear-ended them.
The accident was technically his fault, because he should have left more space between his car and the one in front. But the man's wife was not at fault. She was just a passenger, an accident victim.
The driver of the car he rear-ended apparently didn't have appropriate accident insurance, so he left the accident scene quickly, before the police arrived. The car wasn't going very fast at impact. It was rush-hour traffic.
Even so, the car engine was damaged by the accident impact, so that was the end of the car. But no accident injuries to the passenger or her husband, the driver. Or so they thought.
The day after the accident, both husband and wife awoke with stiff backs and some pain extending from the neck all the way down the length of the spine. Accident insurance paid for a visit to the doctor, where they were diagnosed with 'whiplash'.
Whiplash, Yeah... Whatever!
Here's where the story gets bad. The doctor said whiplash was a minor injury and they'd recover; end of story.
But it wasn't.
Two years later, the woman developed a problem with her wrist. It was almost as if her wrist was injured, but she'd done nothing to cause an injury. Gradually she realized the problem involved her shoulder as well. She developed occasional numbness from neck to hand, for no apparent reason.
The whiplash accident long forgotten, she tried to think of an immediate cause of injury and couldn't find one. She went on with her life, unaware that the numbness from neck to hand had anything to do with the injury two years earlier.
As time went on, she developed more problems - various types of health issues that seemed to have no apparent cause. She still didn't think to tie any of these problems in with the car accident from years before, and the whiplash injury the doctor said was 'No big deal'.
Dealing With The Pain
Finally, on top of all her health problems that no one could diagnose, she developed severe neck pain and numbness in her head. It was worse every time she tried to drive. Even though her back and neck felt painful as she sat behind the steering wheel - the same way she felt after her whiplash injury - she didn't once think about the accident that caused the injury. After all, she believed it when her doctor said the whiplash injury was minor, of no consequence.
But there were consequences, serious health consequences. Increasing disability. Trouble staying focused at her job, because of the constant numbness from neck to hand. Pain in her neck and shoulders every time she tired to use the computer or tried to drive. She was afraid half the time of getting into another accident because of the numbness, afraid her neck problems would cause a blackout as she sat behind the steering wheel.
When she was finally unable to drive even down the street with the pain in her neck, she finally went to see a new doctor. He asked her, 'Have you ever been in a car accident' She thought about it and remembered: 'Yes. Fifteen years ago'.
'What happened' the doctor asked.
She shrugged. 'It wasn't a big deal. I suffered a whiplash injury'.
The doctor's eyes widened.
'What do you mean it wasn't a big deal? Don't you realize the injury you suffered fifteen years ago is causing all of your problems today'
This is a sad story, because this woman never thought of a whiplash compensation claim. That injury caused one problem after another that severely impacted her ability to work and her quality of life. The impact of the whiplash injury continued over many years, and the problems intensified. All because of an accident that caused whiplash.
Living With The Consequences
Over the long term, this woman was disabled by her injury. Is that really 'no big deal', as the doctor who examined her after the accident claimed? Shouldn't she have claimed accident compensation for her neck injury, looking ahead to see that she might suffer long-term consequences
A whiplash injury is NOT minor!
It's an injury to the neck, which is a critical part of the body. It's through the neck that all neural messages and nutrient-giving blood cells travel to and from the brain and the rest of the body. It can have a severe long-term impact and it's not necessarily apparent right away.
This doesn't mean all whiplash injuries will have severe long-term consequences. But how will you know what compensation you might be entitled to unless you consult with a competent professional - an accident claim solicitor who has seen the consequences of neck injury and knows whether or not you have a valid accident claim? A claim solicitor who can direct you to take the right steps to handle your injury claim efficiently and fairly.
A recent report by University of North Carolina Health Care titled "Chronic neck pain common among car crash victims, but most don't sue "
A new study led by University of North Carolina School of Medicine researchers is the first large prospective study to evaluate musculoskeletal pain outcomes after motor vehicle collision in the U.S.
Nearly 4 million individuals in the U.S. come to hospital emergency departments for evaluation after motor vehicle collision each year. More than 90 percent of these individuals are discharged to home after evaluation. Results of the study, which enrolled individuals from eight emergency departments in four states, indicate that persistent pain is common in this population. Six weeks after their accident, more than 70 percent of individuals reported persistent musculoskeletal pain in one or more body regions. More than one third of study participants reported pain in four or more body regions.
"In the U.S., if someone develops chronic neck pain or other pain after a car accident, and they go to their doctor or tell their friends, they are often not believed or are viewed with great suspicion, as if their symptoms are not real and they are just trying to sue someone," said Samuel McLean, MD, MPH, first author of the study and associate professor of anesthesiology and emergency medicine. "Our findings indicate that persistent pain is very common among those who aren't suing, and that only a minority of those with persistent pain are engaged in litigation."
Among 948 individuals enrolled in the study, only 17 percent had contacted a lawyer for planned litigation six weeks after their accident. Among the majority of individuals who were not planning litigation, persistent pain was still common: 28 percent had persistent moderate or severe neck pain, 13 percent had widespread musculoskeletal pain in seven or more body regions, and 4 percent had a fibromyalgia-like syndrome.
"It is hard enough to be suffering from a persistent pain condition after trauma that is moderate or severe, and/or occurring across many body regions. Unfortunately, these patients also often have to deal with the additional burden not being believed. Hopefully the results of this study will contribute to helping doctors and the public understand that these symptoms are common, including among patients who aren't suing anyone."
The study was conducted by a multidisciplinary team of investigators from eight institutions. UNC co-authors on the study include Andrey Bortsov, MD, PhD, from the Department of Anesthesiology, and Gary Slade, BDSc, PhD, and Eric Bair, PhD.
If you've suffered a whiplash neck injury, don't just write it off as 'no big deal'. It might be a bigger deal than you think. Investigate your whiplash accident claim options. Because if the day comes when your injury causes long-term problems, and you can no longer hold a job as a result of your accident years earlier, you will not want to be without the compensation you were entitled to.
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