So you're approaching a stoplight and you look into your rear-view mirror and spot a car coming up fast behind you. You aren't worried though, they still have time to slow down. You come to a stop and check your mirror again, but this time you notice that the vehicle behind you is still coming directly for you. Before you have time to even think about what's happening, BAM!
This is a scenario all-too-common on our Waterbury streets and across Connecticut. Auto-accidents are never an enjoyable experience, especially when you or a loved one is injured. A common injury that results from a rear-end collision like the hypothetical one described above is hyperextension or hyperflexion of the neck.
WHAT IS HYPEREXTENSION/HYPERFLEXION?
Hyperextension/hyperflexion injuries are commonly known as whiplash. Hyperextension occurs with the sudden forward or backward motion of the head and neck, causing injury to the soft tissue of the neck, such as the tendons and ligaments, and neck joints (also known as the cervical vertebrae). Hyperflexion occurs when the head is propelled forward and down, stretching the neck beyond the normal range of motion. Soft neck tissue can be injured and the vertebrae can be fractured; the intervertebral discs may also be affected, leading to irritation of nerves in the spine.
SYMPTOMS OF WHIPLASH-TYPE INJURIES
Some common symptoms of whiplash-type injuries include but are not limited to:
- Pain and stiffness in the neck
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep disturbance
- Blurred vision
- Decreased range of motion
- Burning, prickling, or tingling in the limbs
OTHER CAUSES OF WHIPLASH-TYPE INJURIES
It is a common misconception that whiplash-type injuries can only be the result of high-speed or high-impact incidents. In actuality, they may also result from:
- Intentional assaults producing head trauma
- Repetitive stress injuries in the workplace
- Child abuse
- Slip-and-fall accidents in stores, homes, and places of employment
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU HAVE SUSTAINED A WHIPLASH-TYPE INJURY?
The very first thing you should do if you think that you or your loved one has sustained a whiplash-type injury is to seek medical attention. Keep in mind that certain injuries like hyperextension/hyperflexion can have delayed symptoms-it may be up to 24-hours later that you begin to feel the effects of your injury. A physician will be able to ascertain the severity of the injury and will be able to prescribe the right kind of care for that injury. If you are cleared by a doctor, but start to develop new symptoms or experience persistent symptoms, you should seek more medical attention.
PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUITS AND INSURANCE CLAIMS
It is possible that your injury may merit legal action. If you are considering making a personal injury claim it is important to be well-prepared. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are seeking legal action:
- Maintain detailed records of the accident, your injuries and symptoms, and your medical treatment and expenses.
- Document the scene of the incident as soon as possible. Locate and photograph any of the conditions you believe may have contributed to the accident.
- Locate witnesses. An eye-witness can be immensely invaluable for making your case to your insurance company.
Personal injury is not something you should have to try and navigate on your own. If you have sustained a traumatic injury such as hyperextension or hyperflexion and you think your case could merit legal action, contact Cummings Law Firm; we are ready to help today.