It happens too often: A driver is waiting patiently at a red light and is bumped from behind by another vehicle. The crash victim might feel a slight discomfort in the neck and just brush it off.
But as time goes by, what started out as mild discomfort can gradually become something worse. The auto accident attorneys at Coplan + Crane have seen this far too often. If you were struck from behind by another driver, you may be suffering from whiplash.
What is whiplash and how does it occur?
Whiplash is commonly caused by rear-end car accidents. Whiplash occurs when a crash victim’s head quickly jerks forward and backward in a whip-like motion. Even if a driver is rear-ended at low speed, the connective tissue surrounding the neck can be overstretched.
Symptoms can appear immediately after a rear-end accident. In some cases, they can take days to appear and can get worse over time. Such symptoms usually include:
- Stiffness and low range of motion in the neck
- Spasms in the neck, upper back, and shoulders
- Difficulty concentrating
- Blurry vision
- Ringing in ears
- Irritability and depression
At a high impact, whiplash can result in tears in the muscles and ligaments in the neck and upper back. Additionally, it can result in damage to the discs and vertebra in the spine. The pain can be acute and can extend from the neck and upper back to the limbs.
Why seek medical attention?
In many cases, whiplash can take weeks to recover from, even if the symptoms are mild. Sometimes the damage can cause permanent complications. That’s why it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a rear-end accident.
During a thorough medical evaluation, your doctor may uncover underlying injuries that you may not know exist. Diagnosis and treatment may require X-rays, physical therapy and prescribed medication can be expensive. Surgery may be required in severe cases.
The financial and emotional toll of whiplash can be devastating. You may be faced with a mountain of medical expenses. In addition, you may have to take time off from work in order to prevent your whiplash symptoms from getting worse.
In a perfect world, you could file an auto accident claim and have your losses compensated by the other driver’s insurance company without any hassle. Unfortunately, it’s almost never that easy. Even if the driver who struck you from behind was 100 percent at fault, his or her insurance company will likely go to great lengths to protect their bottom line. They may attempt to reduce your compensation or deny your claim altogether.
That’s why you need an experienced Chicago auto accident attorney on your side who understands how the process works. Contact our law office today to learn how we can help you every step of the way.