If you suffered a soft tissue injury to your neck from a car accident or some other event, you might wonder how dangerous whiplash is. A whiplash injury (or something that initially feels like a whiplash) could be the first symptom of a potentially paralyzing or fatal neck fracture.
Many people recuperate well from whiplash if they do not also have broken bones in the neck. Some people, however, can face years of debilitating pain and headaches from this kind of soft tissue injury. You may think that you were in a car accident with no damage or injuries, but whiplash can take time to present itself.
Could Any Neck Injury Be Dangerous?
Yes, any neck injury could be dangerous, as your spinal cord travels through your neck. Damage to the spinal cord along your neck could paralyze your entire body from the neck down. You might not be able to breathe on your own after a cervical (neck) injury severs or damages the spinal cord. Surprisingly, people do not always immediately realize that they have a broken bone.
According to Mayo Clinic, whiplash happens when a sudden force snaps the head back and forth rapidly, extending the head and neck further than their intended range. That extreme force could cause a fracture in the neck, in addition to the soft tissue damage that we call a whiplash injury. If the neck does not get immobilized, a jagged piece of bone could shift and cut the spinal cord.
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Is a Whiplash Injury Dangerous if You do not Have a Broken Bone in Your Neck?
Yes. For some people, a whiplash injury can be debilitating. Victims could face years of chronic pain, diminished range of motion of the head and neck, and excruciating headaches.
These factors can impact how well an individual heals from a whiplash injury:
- The severity of the whiplash injury. A mild whiplash usually heals quicker and more completely than a severe one. The more soft tissue damage a person has, the more likely long-term repercussions from the accident are.
- The medical attention the injured person receives. Few people enjoy going to the doctor, but delaying medical treatment can lead to complications and poor healing.
- The injured person’s age. Typically, a younger adult will heal better from a whiplash injury than an aged person.
- Underlying medical conditions, like arthritis. A person with certain medical conditions, such as arthritis, is more likely to have an adverse outcome from a whiplash, like poor healing, a cervical fracture, and other debilitating issues.
- Previous neck injuries. An individual who had one or more whiplash injuries in the past is more likely to experience complications and incomplete healing from a whiplash.
These are but a few examples of factors that could cause a whiplash injury not to heal well.
Could a Future Neck Injury Be Catastrophic After This Neck Injury?
Yes, having whiplash can make the neck more susceptible to injury in the future. The next neck injury could be more severe than it would have been but for this whiplash injury. The future neck injury could result in paralysis or death.
What Should I do After a Neck Injury?
We assume that by the time you read this article, you have already received medical attention for your whiplash injury. If that is not the case, you should get a professional medical evaluation right away. There is no treatment yet that cures spinal cord damage.
After you get initial healthcare services, you will want to protect your right to seek compensation for your losses. You can speak with a personal injury lawyer to determine your options for possible compensation.
Who Can I Sue After a Neck Injury?
You can usually take legal action against the at-fault party who caused your whiplash through negligence. For example, car accidents are a common cause of whiplash injuries. If you suffered a neck injury in a collision, you could claim the person whose careless conduct caused the crash that harmed you.
Do I Have to Hire a Lawyer to Help with My Neck Injury Claim?
No, our state does not force injured people to work with lawyers on their claims. Your lawyer can stand with you throughout your case and advocate for you, though. Making a single mistake in your case—like missing a deadline—can cost you everything.
IC § 34-11-2-4 only gives you two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit for your injuries. Most people do not know about this time limit, but the insurance company does. If you miss the deadline, you will forever lose the right to go after any compensation for your losses.
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Our Lawyers Can Guide You Through the Whiplash Claims Process
At Sevenish Law Firm, P.C., all we do is personal injury cases. We dedicate our practice entirely to helping people injured due to the carelessness of others. So, our team is familiar with personal injury law at a level that some discount law firms might not be.
We understand how dangerous whiplash is, and are happy to offer a free initial consultation. You can call our representatives today at (317) 636-7777 to get started. Our lawyers can determine fault in a rear-end collision that caused your whiplash.