Whiplash occurs when a person’s head is rapidly forced forward and then forced backwards in an uncontrollable motion. It is one of the most common injuries in road traffic accidents and many people suffer from it each year in Australia. It generally happens when a vehicle rear ends another vehicle at speed, causing the driver or passengers head to jolt forward and backwards from the impact.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a soft tissue injury which occurs due to a hyperextension or a hyperflexion of the head and neck muscles. The ligaments and tendons are forced beyond their normal range of movement causing them to get damaged. A whiplash injury usually occurs when a car hits the back of another vehicle, it causes a sudden blow that forces the neck back and forward in a powerful, uncontrollable motion. It can happen to a driver or passengers even when involved in an accident at low speeds.
Most whiplash injuries only present themselves a few days after the accident, you may feel fine after the incident, but the pain doesn’t necessarily come straight away. Mild cases of whiplash sometimes cause pain for a few weeks after someone has been involved in a motor vehicle accident. More serious injuries can be permanent and require extensive rehabilitation to manage the problem.
Common symptoms of whiplash include:
- Tender neck muscles
- Stiff neck with a limited range of movement
- Memory loss
- Blurred vision
How to Claim for Whiplash
Before making a claim for whiplash, you must have the problem diagnosed by a medical practitioner. If you have pain in your neck and you think it may have been caused by a car accident you were recently involved in, you must have it confirmed by a doctor.
During your appointment, make sure to tell the doctor you were involved in a car crash and the pain you are feeling has come from this accident. Describe all your symptoms and explain what happened on the day you were hit. If you are planning on making a claim, it is essential to have your whiplash diagnosed by a doctor. They’ll provide you with a written document stating that your neck problems are the result of car accident. A doctor will ask numerous questions to find out whether you have whiplash or not.
- They’ll assess your condition to see if the pain has improved since the accident.
- They’ll examine you to see how well you can move your head and neck.
- They’ll check to see if you have any numbness or weakness around your head, neck or arms.
- They’ll want to know if you are suffering from headaches, lethargy, poor concentration, memory problems, irritability or sleeping problems.
Once you’ve been successfully diagnosed by a certified doctor, your legal position becomes a lot stronger. You now have grounds to make a claim and look for compensation to cover the cost of your medical expenses. If you’ve missed work or had to pay for a physiotherapist, you are entitled to have these expenses covered by whomever was liable for your injuries.