What is Whiplash and can I make a claim for compensation?
Whiplash is a neck strain caused by a sudden head jerk forward and backward. This sudden force causes the muscles and tendons in your neck to stretch and tear. Whiplash most commonly occurs in car accidents; however, it can occur with any impact or blow.
Whiplash can be very painful. Most of the time, painful symptoms occur immediately, however, some people can take hours or days to notice these. Therefore, it is important you take it easy after experiencing a head jerk. Symptoms include:
- Decreased range of motion
- Tightness in the neck
- Muscle knots or hardness
- Headaches at the base of the skull which radiate to the top
If you have suffered from concussion due to whiplash you must see a doctor straight away. If you are experiencing confusion, dizziness, nauseous or sleepiness you should phone emergency services.
Whiplash is generally diagnosed by a thorough physical examination, x-ray and CT-scan. If you whiplash is severe you may be required to have further tests for additional issues.
Treatment for whiplash is relatively easy and if done regularly your whiplash should heal quickly on its own. Treatments include:
- Icing your neck for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours over 3 days.
- Taking pain killers or prescribed medication.
- Use a neck brace or collar
- Apply moist heat to the area after 3 days of icing.
- Massage or ultrasound therapies
Do not start any hard exercise until you can look over both shoulders without pain, rock your head all the way forward and back without pain and move it from side to side.
If you have suffered whiplash you may be entitled to compensation, especially in a road accident or sporting incident. Compensation is calculated based on the gap between your predicted life path before the injury and your actual life path after the injury. Your compensation can cover medical expenses, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life or any assistance you may have needed. To make a whiplash claim, you will need to provide:
- Evidence that the person causing the injury owed a duty of care to your safety.
- Evidence that this duty of care was breached.
- Evidence you have been injured as a result of the accident.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: December 10, 2015.