In the United States, about two million whiplash insurance claims are filed each year according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. However, it is estimated that three million novel cases of whiplash occur yearly. As the statistics show whiplash is a fairly common occurrence, but it is rarely fully understood. What follows are some surprising facts most individuals are not aware of when it comes to a whiplash injury.
Whiplash Can Lead To Chronic Pain
Of the three million new cases of whiplash experienced by individuals each year, about half will result in chronic pain. Although some individuals feel better a few weeks after the initial injury, others will continue to experience pain for several months or years. According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals whose injuries were both intense and sudden are more likely to experience a longer recovery period. Whiplash injuries related to chronic pain include severe neck pain, limited range of motion, and pain that spreads to the arms.
Recovery From Whiplash Can Last Months or Years
A severe case of whiplash can result in an average of seventeen weeks of recovery time before an injured person’s neck is fully stabilized. Almost three-fourths of whiplash patients will report symptoms for six months or more. Twenty-two percent of patients will experience one to two years of symptoms before they return to their pre-injured state. Chronic pain has been reported in one in fifty whiplash patients, whose pain is severe enough to require ongoing care such as diagnostic testing, and medications, up to eight years after the initial accident occurred.
Women Experience Whiplash Injuries Five Times More Often Than Men
The average woman’s anatomy makes her more likely than a man to experience whiplash. ChiroCare of Florida reports that women experience whiplash injuries at a rate of five times more than men. In whiplash related to car accidents, women are three times more likely to suffer whiplash than men.
According to Utah Pain & Rehab, the primary reason for women’s increased risk is that they have smaller neck bones while men have more robust neck muscles. Whiplash injuries in women and children also tend to be more severe because of their smaller anatomy. Further, women drivers tend to be more at risk for whiplash due to additional factors, which include sitting higher and closer to the steering wheel and positioning their backrests more upright, according to a study by Umeå University.
Older Individuals Are at Higher Risk For Whiplash
Limited mobility in the neck, arthritis and degenerative changes in the cervical spine increase an individual’s chance of suffering whiplash. Many individuals begin to experience limited movement, a decrease in muscle flexibility, and a shortening of discs and ligaments as they age. Therefore, most older individuals are more susceptible to whiplash injury.
Whiplash Does Not Always Occur Because of a Car Accident
Although whiplash is a typical car accident-related injury, particularly in rear-end collisions, not all cases of whiplash occur because of a car accident. Whiplash may occur any time the head is forced to rapidly rock back and forth on the neck. Therefore individuals can also experience a whiplash injury when playing high-impact sports such as boxing or football, because of a fall, or as a result of physical abuse.
Call An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Although some whiplash injuries subside after a few weeks, others may take weeks or even months to heal. An individual experiencing whiplash may require medical care, diagnostic testing, medications, and physical therapy. In addition to pain and time spent away from work, an individual can find themselves with medical bills related to their injury.
If an injury was caused by the negligence of another, an experienced personal injury lawyer could help an injured individual win the compensation they deserve. For over thirty years, Panter, Panter, and Sampedro’s dedicated attorneys have worked one-on-one with clients to successfully get them the justice, recovery, and compensation they deserve. To speak to an experienced personal injury attorney today, call (305) 662-6178.