Arman Answers: Whiplash – It Can Really Happen to You
Arman Deganian is a partner and Atlanta whiplash attorney at Litner + Deganian, where he combines insurance company experience and a laid-back style to best represent his personal injury clients. When he’s not riding his motorcycle to work or through Midtown, he enjoys playing baseball, running, and backpacking far-off locales.
Whiplash after a car crash is almost one of those legal clichés. When we’re taking an auto injury case involving whiplash after a car accident to a jury, we really have to do a lot of education around it—starting with the term. What’s commonly known as “whiplash,” is more accurately described as “soft tissue injuries.” They’re very real, very painful, and often require weeks or even months of physical therapy as they heal.
What are soft tissue neck injuries?
Jurors come in with their own associations surrounding whiplash, especially if they’ve never experienced soft tissue neck injuries themselves. They think of the bulky whiplash neck braces you might see on TV, or imagine the client is simply trying to exaggerate his or her injuries.
That’s why we share medical literature and even sometimes bring in an orthopedic specialist to explain the injury in more detail. Soft tissue injuries happen when the force of a wreck causes the neck to move back and forth rapidly. This can cause stiffness, loss of motion, and even dizziness or blurred vision.
What to do for whiplash after a car accident?
From a claims perspective, it’s important to see a doctor right away. Sometimes people don’t want to miss work or make a big deal out of an injury. Then, a few days later, they’re hurting. Insurance adjusters will jump on any delay in treatment. Let’s say you wait four weeks to seek treatment. Adjusters will start asking what else happened in those four weeks. They’ll create grey areas and you won’t get as good of an offer.
Do I need to see a specialist for whiplash after a car accident?
It’s also critical from a medical perspective to see a doctor as soon as possible after a wreck. When we speak with a client whose neck hurts after a car accident, we always emphasize there may be more going on than that person thinks. If you go to the hospital after the crash, they’ll probably do an X-ray, but that’s it. X-rays only show fractures, so sometimes folks fail to get the proper care they need. After a few weeks of physical therapy—the normal treatment for soft tissue back injuries—the pain won’t get better.
The only way to find out what’s really going on is to see a specialist for whiplash treatment. An orthopedist will usually order more imaging, typically an MRI. Sometimes it really is a soft tissue injury that’s just more serious and needs extra time to heal. But very often, there are other issues—things the initial X-ray wouldn’t show, like herniated discs or disc protrusions.
This actually happened to me after my motorcycle crash a few years back. I just had minor discomfort so I skipped the MRI. But then I listened to my doctor and got the imaging I needed. I ended up with double shoulder surgeries, and without them, I likely would have experienced more pain and limited mobility down the road. It took a year and a half to get back to normal, so I’m glad I got the treatment when I needed it.
If you’ve been injured in a wreck, you need a soft tissue injury lawyer to represent your interests. The whiplash lawyers at Litner + Deganian are here to help. You can get a free consultation at our office, conveniently located in Druid Hills near Emory and Decatur.