Damage to soft tissue is among the most common type of injuries in motor vehicle accidents. One of the most vulnerable areas of the body in any collision is the neck.
The extreme forces generated by an auto accident can push the neck rapidly back and forth, creating significant strain on the ligaments, tendons, and muscles. This injury is known as whiplash.
You may be entitled to benefits and other compensation if you suffered whiplash in a car accident or other transport-related crash. However, the effects of whiplash can be difficult for accident victims and medical professionals alike to detect.
If you have been hurt in a transport accident, You Deserve More for your injuries. The car accident lawyers at Henry Carus + Associates can help.
What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?
The symptoms you may experience with whiplash will depend on the severity of the injury. Both immediately following a car accident and in the course of your recovery, it is important to be aware of how you feel in the affected area (primarily the neck, shoulders, and upper back) as well as other parts of the body.
The effects of whiplash can be categorised as short-term (acute) and long-term (chronic):
Short-Term Effects of Whiplash
Immediately after the accident, you may feel pain and tenderness in and around your neck. However, some victims do not develop symptoms until several days after the accident.
For this reason, it is important to seek medical treatment promptly after any car accident in which you may have suffered whiplash. Medical personnel can perform a physical exam and conduct imaging (such as X-rays, MRI, and CT scans) to assess damage to soft tissues and other structures.
Because of the delayed onset of whiplash symptoms, the injury may not be diagnosed immediately. However, medical staff can advise you of the steps you can take to manage pain and treat the injury in its early stages. They can also inform you of additional symptoms to watch out for, including:
- Limited mobility that does not improve with rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers
- Pain when moving the neck
- Problems with memory
- Changes in mood
In general, these symptoms are relatively short-lived. However, if they get worse or do not improve within a few weeks of the accident, it is in your best interest to seek additional medical treatment.
Long-Term Effects of Whiplash
Most people recover from whiplash with home care and by gradually increasing activity through exercise and/or physiotherapy. However, some accident victims suffer complications that can lead to chronic pain and other issues.
Persistent symptoms in severe cases of whiplash may include:
- Numbness and tingling in the arms and hands
- Referred pain in areas such as the shoulders, arms, hands, lower back, and/or legs
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears without a discernible cause)
- Blurry vision
- Chronic fatigue
- Cognitive difficulties, including trouble concentrating and issues affecting memory
- Changes in mood, including irritability
- Sleep disturbances
Accident victims who are more likely to suffer long-term whiplash complications include the elderly and those with prior injuries to the neck and back. The severity of whiplash also correlates strongly with the speed at which the accident took place. High-speed collisions tend to result in more serious instances of whiplash.
What Compensation Am I Entitled To for Whiplash Injury?
If you suffer whiplash and/or other injuries in an accident with a car or other motor vehicle, you are entitled to no-fault accident benefits regardless of who caused the accident. By filing a TAC accident claim, you can receive compensation for medical expenses and other services related to your whiplash injury, as well as income support if whiplash limits your ability to earn a living.
You may also be entitled to a TAC impairment benefit if you suffer a permanent injury as a result of the accident. However, this can be a challenging process.
On the TAC website, “Whiplash or muscle strain that gets better” is specifically identified as a condition that generally does not result in permanent impairment. Given the potential long-term complications of whiplash, however, permanent impairment is still a possibility.
Ultimately, the type of injury does not determine your eligibility for the impairment benefit. If the effects of whiplash are determined to meet the threshold for permanent impairment as defined by TAC – impairment greater than 10 percent – then you may qualify for compensation.
You may also be able to recover common-law compensation for your injuries if (a) someone other than you was at fault for the car accident and (b) the effects of whiplash meet the threshold for “serious injury.”
It is common for someone with a whiplash injury to not receive a permanent impairment benefit and still be eligible for common law compensation because the whiplash injury is considered a “serious injury.”
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you pursue damages through a common-law claim against the at-fault driver. You may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, loss of earnings, and loss of earning capacity damages not covered by TAC no-fault benefits.
Did You Suffer Whiplash in a Car Accident? Get Help Today!
It can be difficult to know the full benefits and other compensation you may be entitled to after a transport accident. When you work with Henry Carus + Associates, you have a team of lawyers and professionals dedicated to one simple but powerful principle: You Deserve More.
Our team is committed to helping you with all aspects of your TAC accident claim. We will assess your injuries, identify the benefits you deserve, and pursue one or more claims for additional compensation on your behalf.
If you suffered whiplash or another injury in a transport accident, please call 03 9001 1318 today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our car accident lawyers serve clients in Melbourne and throughout Victoria.