By far the most common of car accident injuries, neck pain accounts for 65% of all bodily injury liability claims. Rear-end collisions often don’t cause the most severe injuries and damage, but are a common cause of whiplash, which is a sudden and violent movement of a victim’s head and neck. Whiplash also occurs with side and front-end collisions. The symptoms, which include stiff neck, shoulder pain, headache, dizziness, and nausea, may take one to two days to appear.
Car companies have responded to the frequency of neck injuries. In 2005, 51% of companies had made improvements to head restraints, and by 2017, 98% of car companies had done so. Still, whiplash-related claims account for $10 billion in annual settlements, on average.
The Aftermath of a Neck Injury
Neck injuries range from minor annoyances to debilitating impacts on one’s life. In severe cases, a neck injury can leave the victim unable to work or provide for their family. Even if you don’t require extensive medical care, it can take time to recover. You’ll need a lot of rest the first day, while over-the-counter or prescription medications can help with pain. Also, try alternating ice with heat for a few days. For extreme pain, a specialist may administer epidural steroid injections.
In addition to rest, recovery often requires physical therapy, which can include motion and stretching exercises. These can help strengthen your muscles, ease the pain, and improve your range of motion. Manual manipulation is another form of chiropractic care that may be provided; it helps with pain and range of motion in your neck and spine.
What to Do After a Car Accident Neck Injury
Your worst option is to do nothing. It could jeopardize your claim and any chances of securing legal funding in Los Angeles. You may not feel anything immediately after the accident. That doesn’t mean you haven’t been injured. It may just mean there aren’t any symptoms yet. During a car accident, the body is under immense stress, and reacts by releasing adrenaline and endorphins, which are natural pain relievers.
A day or two later, you may suddenly have intense neck pain and be nearly unable to move your head. This is because the hormones released immediately following the stressful event have worn off. Also, soft tissues in and around the neck don’t always swell right away. The effect is like when you start a new workout routine and don’t feel the effects until the next day.
If you are in a car accident, don’t turn down medical attention. It is too soon to tell whether you’ve been injured or not. There could be injuries and the symptoms have not manifested yet. As scared and upset as you are, think rationally. Although it’s a normal reaction to want to exchange information with the other driver, and get out of harm’s way as quickly as possible, the wisest course of action is to seek prompt medical attention, which can reduce your symptoms, speed your recovery, and avoid major complications down the road.
But even if you have signs of whiplash or neck pain, the diagnosis can be ambiguous. Insurance adjusters use this to their advantage to lower settlement amounts or deny claims. They can prolong cases or cause you to lose out on a settlement altogether. You need a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, but while you await a settlement, FCA Legal Funding can provide you with pre-settlement funding and other advance options to keep you afloat until then.