What To Do if You Sustain Whiplash in a Car Accident

Driver Suffering From Whiplash After Traffic Collision, holding his neck

Experienced New York doctors explain what steps to take & the available medical treatments

Many car accidents result in serious injuries. And one of the most common – and most misunderstood – injuries is whiplash. This type of neck injury might seem like a minor injury to some people. But if you sustained a whiplash injury, you know how serious and painful such injuries can be after a car crash.

So what should you do if you have whiplash due to a car accident? What medical treatments are available? And who pays for such medical care? These are very important questions that injury victims need accurate information about after an accident. That’s why our experienced New York orthopedic surgeons put together this informative blog post.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is a particular type of neck injury that normally involves a sprain or strain to the neck muscles. Such soft tissue injuries are especially common in rear-end car accidents since the neck is thrown forward and backward in this type of car crash.

Even at speeds as slow as 5 mph, whiplash injuries often occur in car accidents, according to scientific studies. Whiplash injury victims often experience severe or chronic neck pain, which can get worse over time if not properly treated.

Some people and insurance companies don’t think that whiplash is a real injury. As a result, many injury victims often have a hard time getting the financial compensation they deserve for their whiplash injury. This is why it’s critical that injury victims seek immediate medical attention. That way, they will have proof of their injury based on an official diagnosis by a licensed medical professional.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

If you believe you have whiplash, make sure you take your symptoms seriously right away. Seek immediate medical treatment from a doctor with experience treating whiplash and other serious car accident injuries.

What might seem like whiplash could be a warning sign of another type of neck injury or spinal cord injury. This is why it’s important to have a medical professional examine you right away and diagnose exactly what’s wrong.

Some of the most common symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Severe neck pain
  • Stiffness in the neck and shoulders
  • Numbness in the arms
  • Pain in the jaw or face
  • Severe headaches
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Many whiplash symptoms don’t appear right away. Sometimes, it takes several hours or days after an accident to realize that you have whiplash. The bottom line is you should seek immediate medical attention if something doesn’t seem right after your car accident. Have a medical professional diagnose what’s wrong.

What should I do if I sustained whiplash in an accident?

If you believe you are suffering from whiplash due to a car accident, take the following steps right away:

  • Don’t try to move your neck too much or put too much strain on your neck.
  • Make an appointment right away to see an experienced orthopedic doctor who can examine you and diagnose what’s wrong. Your doctor will likely administer one or several imaging tests to determine if you have whiplash or another type of neck injury. Such tests often include:
    • X-rays of the neck, particularly if your doctor believes you might have a neck fracture instead of whiplash.
    • Computerized tomography (CT) scan, a type of X-ray that creates cross-sectional images of the bones in the neck to determine the severity of the damage.
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, which creates a 3D image of the neck and can measure the severity of soft tissue damage, as well as other types of neck injuries, including damage to the ligaments or disks in the neck.
  • Take your doctor’s advice. If your doctor tells you to rest while you’re recovering from your car accident injury, follow your doctor’s instructions. Failure to do so could jeopardize your car accident claim.
  • Schedule a follow-up doctor’s appointment with your doctor. Many whiplash injuries get worse over time and need to be carefully monitored.
  • Keep all your medical bills from your doctor’s appointments. In many cases, insurance should pay for these medical treatments. But they will likely need to see proof of your medical treatments.
  • Save all written documentation of your accident. This includes your official car accident report, which can often be a valuable piece of evidence when seeking compensation for your accident.
  • Document your injury. This might include keeping a daily journal in which write down the pain and other symptoms you are experiencing after your accident. The more evidence you have of your whiplash injury, the easier it often is to get the medical care and financial support you need and deserve.

What medical treatments are available?

There are often many different types of medical treatments for whiplash. Such treatments may include:

  • Simply resting your neck muscles, including bed rest for a day or two.
  • Icing sore neck muscles several times a day.
  • Applying heat to sore neck muscles, especially after icing your neck.
  • Prescription pain medications, especially if you’re experiencing severe neck pain due to whiplash.

Other medical treatments may be available depending on the severity of your whiplash. An experienced doctor can diagnose what’s wrong and prescribe the treatment designed to produce the best results.

Who pays for my medical care?

Who pays for your medical treatment often depends on several factors, including who caused your accident and what type of car insurance system exists in your state. Some states, including New York, have what’s known as a no-fault insurance system. This means that medical expenses related to your car accident should be covered by your insurance, regardless of who was at fault.

If your whiplash injury occurred in a car crash caused by another driver, other financial options may be available to you, including pursuing an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Either way, it’s critical that you get the medical care you need to give yourself the best opportunity to recover.

Why should I choose Island Musculoskeletal Care in New York for my medical treatment?

Like other car accident injuries, whiplash needs to be properly diagnosed and treated by experienced medical professionals who know how to identify what’s wrong and provide the necessary care promptly.

At Island Musculoskeletal Care (IMC Bone Doc), our board-certified, fellowship-trained New York doctors provide exceptional medical care for car accident injury victims throughout the state. We understand how New York’s car insurance system works and provide patients with the best possible medical care. Our knowledge comes from our doctors’ more than 100 years of combined medical experience.

Learn more about how we can help you if you believe you’re suffering from whiplash after a serious car accident. Schedule an appointment with IMC Bone Doc at one of our New York City or Long Island offices, including those in The Bronx, Brooklyn, Deer Park, Patchogue, Queens, Shirley, and Valley Stream.

Categories: Posts