Can Whiplash Be Permanent?
Whiplash associated disorders are often dismissed by sceptics, who blame the recent increase of cases upon the UK’s supposed compensation culture. However, this is a cynical point of view that conveniently neglects to recognise the reality of whiplash: that it is a real injury which can be very painful, and very debilitating. In some extreme cases, this pain and suffering can continue for the long-term, and may even be permanent.
Can Whiplash Be Permanent?
Whiplash injury is commonly associated with low-speed traffic collisions. It occurs when a vehicle sustains a sudden impact. This causes those within the vehicle to have their heads forcefully ‘whipped’ backwards and forwards, thereby stretching the neck beyond its normal range of movement. This is known as ‘hyperextension’, and damages the neck’s muscles, tendons and ligaments.
A person who suffers such an injury will soon begin to develop symptoms of whiplash. These include pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders, headaches, dizziness and nausea. It may take several hours for the signs of whiplash injury to present, but when they do it is important to seek medical advice. Although whiplash is regarded as a self-limiting condition (meaning it will heal with time, rather than medical intervention) it is still a good idea to see a doctor. This is because a medical professional will also be able to suggest the most appropriate course of treatment. Furthermore, you may be suffering a more extensive injury that needs to be diagnosed.
If the whiplash injury is minor, it is probable that gentle exercises and medication for pain relief will be a sufficient form of treatment. You can also apply an ice pack to the affected area which will help to reduce swelling. But if symptoms are more severe, it may be necessary to see a physiotherapist or a chiropractor for further treatment.
The amount of time is takes a whiplash patient to make a full recovery will be entirely dependent upon the extent of injury. Some may return to normal weeks or months after the event. The majority of others who follow medical advice will make a recovery with one to two years. However, it is possible for whiplash to affect a person’s life in the long-term. If someone sustains chronic whiplash (in that it lasts for more than six months) then the likelihood of continued discomfort is significantly increased. In some rare cases, a whiplash injury will be permanent. While this does not happen to many whiplash victims, there are indeed some whose pain and suffering will never alleviate.
Whiplash associated disorders can have a devastating impact on a person’s life. It may be necessary to take time off work, while those who rely upon being physically fit may even have to find alternative employment. Furthermore, the injury is likely to cause problems in everyday life, as household chores, childcare and even driving become a difficulty. If a whiplash injury does leave lasting damage, a person’s routine lifestyle will be irreparably damaged.
If you have suffered a whiplash injury because of an accident that was not your fault, it is vital you speak to a whiplash solicitor as soon as possible. We understand how badly your life will have been affected, which is why we want to help to recover the compensation you are legally entitled to. This will not undo the damage which has been done, it will at least help to recompense for the pain, suffering and financial loss you have experienced.
If you want to make a claim for whiplash injury compensation, seek your local legal experts today.
About the Author
Nicholas Jervis - Consumer advocate and advisors to solicitors