To know if you have suffered whiplash, you first need to understand what the condition and its effects are.
Whiplash is damage caused to the muscles, tendon and ligaments in the neck by sudden movements that throw your head backwards, forwards or sideways. This happening causes the muscles, ligaments and tendons out of their normal movement zones creating stress and strain on them. If this was occurring in any other part of the body we would call it a sprain because that basically is what it is, a sprain in the neck.
The most common cause of this injury is a road traffic accident, usually a rear end shunt. This is not the only cause by any means, it can happen also:
- By playing contact sports such as boxing, rugby or martial arts
- By something heavy or solid knocking your head
- By slipping, tripping or falling and banging you head as you go down
In fact, any action that causes a sudden jolting movement to your head can result in a whiplash injury.
How do I know if I have suffered whiplash – the symptoms
Now we have explained the causes, let’s move onto the symptoms of whiplash injuries. This obviously depends on how severe your case of whiplash is, the symptoms vary greatly between a mild case of the condition and a severe one.
The following is not a definitive list of symptoms, but will cover most cases no matter what their severity.
- Pain in the neck area accompanies by stiffness in the same place. This is the most common complaint for sufferers, but not normally the only one.
- Restricted movement in the neck which can often only affect you if you are turning in one direction, the other way can be fine. It is said that this is the muscle guarding against too much movement, which might aggravate the injury.
- Pins and needles or numbness in the arms and legs is caused by a malfunctioning neck vertebra, which should correct itself as swelling reduces.
- Backache, particularly in the lower back, can be because of the spasms and malfunctions in the neck and does not always manifest itself until a few weeks after the neck problem has been created.
- Fatigue and mood swings are often caused by whiplash. It can be a physical tiredness or the start of depression setting in, which is another symptom of whiplash.
- Vertigo is a sensation that you are moving or spinning while standing still and is not uncommon in whiplash cases.
- Dizziness means different things to different people, but usually is a feeling of being lightheaded, or off balance.
- Blurred vision can be very unsettling and you should visit your doctor as soon as possible if this starts happening.
So, perhaps more symptoms than you would think, and certainly some you would not necessarily associate with a bad neck.
How do I know if I have suffered whiplash – the results
Have you had the sudden jolting movement to your head and are you suffering any of the whiplash symptoms? If you are, you probably don’t need us to answer the question – how do I know if I have suffered whiplash, because now you understand the causes and effects, you will know the answer yourself.
How do I know if I have suffered whiplash – the next step
So if you have decided that you have got a whiplash injury, what is the next step?
The first thing you should do is have the injury looked at by a medical practitioner. Your neck needs checking incase there are other problems as well as the damaged soft tissues. There could be a chipped or cracked bone that needs attention, and if they think it necessary, they will arrange for an Xray or CT scan to check this out. Then be advised by them as how you should treat your injury.
There is always plenty of rest involved, and they may tell you to use painkillers and ice packs for some relief as well. Keep in touch with them and let them know your progress, as whiplash is a condition that gets worse before it gets better.
Secondly you should consider making a personal injury compensation claim. You may be wondering if the claim is worth your while and also how much compensation you could receive for whiplash. Well, UK law says that if you have been injured by the fault or negligence of someone else, the third party should compensate you for the suffering they have caused. That’s the law, and making a personal injury compensation claim is the way for you to get recompense.
Making a claim is stressful and time consuming to the layperson, but there are specialists who deal in just this. You would not expect your milkman to be able to build you a house, so why would you expect to be able to make a personal injury claim yourself. It is each to their own, as the saying goes, and in this case it means you need a good law firm whose specialty is injury claim law.
You need someone who will:
- Have friendly and helpful staff that are always willing to help
- Provide a professional and efficient service so the claim is not unduly delayed
- Be experts in all types of injuries from all types of accidents
- Be there 24 hours a day for 7 days of the week
- Will work on a No Win No Fee basis so that you do not have to find any money to start you claim, and if you lose there is no fees for you to settle
Find someone who offers all this, and you have nothing to lose by making a personal injury compensation claim and could benefit from a generous whiplash compensation amount. Find someone as good as the aforementioned and they will make the whole process easy and straightforward as possible, quite often all the dealing being handled over the phone.
More and more cases are settled out of court as the defendants realise the futility of fighting a good, well presented case. Insisting on these cases appearing before a judge, just means more expense for them in court costs, and a judge may well award more than can be negotiated in an out of court settlement – they just do not want to take the risk.