Acceleration/Deceleration can cause whiplash to body parts other than your spine
The most common shoulder injury associated with whiplash trauma is injury to the rotator cuff. Historically, medical providers had a difficult time determining the mechanism of injury to the shoulder following whiplash trauma. As with other soft tissue injuries, symptoms may not immediately present themselves. After years of research and with the advent of human crash tests, researchers discovered that the trauma resulting from the force of the impact if someone is holding onto the steering wheel at the time of the crash it can actually distract the joint and the rotator cuff. If minor, undergoing conservative care can often resolve these issues. If your shoulder symptoms progress, diagnostic testing such as MRIs can aid in determining whether there has been an actual tear in the rotator cuff and whether surgery is required.
If a crash occurs from the front, injury to the knees and hip are also common. Depending on the impact and the distance of the driver’s seat to the dashboard, the impact can cause the knee to collide into the dashboard. If the force is strong enough, it can be transmitted into the legs and hips causing fractures. Injuries to the muscular system are also common as muscle tissues and tendons are frequently strained during a crash which can result in a tear. Of course, even small amounts of force can aggravate or exacerbate a preexisting condition. As we age and the discs in our spine degenerate, we become more susceptible to injury. In the past, I’ve written about the law as it relates to recovering damages for the aggravation of preexisting conditions and how to best document the difference in your condition before and after a car crash. Even if you’ve suffered whiplash injuries in the past, a subsequent crash can easily cause new and worsening symptoms.
Suffering from “radiculopathy” or “radicular symptoms” can also occur after whiplash trauma. These symptoms include feelings of pain, numbness and tingling in the upper extremities. It is your nerve roots that make up the motor fibers and sensory fibers to your upper extremities. If there is an injury to the nerve root, the sensory fibers can be damaged and produce radicular symptoms. Luckily, medical providers can accurately determine which nerve roots the radicular symptoms are coming from by using a “dermatomal map.” Your dermatomes are regions on your skin that represent different spinal nerve root levels. Making this determination allows your medical provider to render the most appropriate care and treatment for your injuries.
Seatbelt and shoulder harness-induced injuries are also common in a car crash. The shoulder harness can easily tighten and cut across the neck during the deceleration phase of a collision and vascular injuries to the neck may result. In addition, during a frontal collision the seatbelt can ride up over the abdomen and organs and actually compress them between the seatbelt and the spine. Bruising and swelling may be an indicator of this sort of trauma.
Because the injuries and symptoms associated with whiplash trauma and motor vehicle collisions in general are vast, it is critical to seek necessary medical treatment and to recognize that a delay in the manifestation of symptoms does not mean that treatment is unnecessary. Documenting your medical treatment, being thorough in providing a list of your subjective complaints to your doctors and following up with necessary medical care is critical.
Contact Clearwater and Saint Petersburg Neck and Back Injury Lawyers
The attorneys at Dolman Law Group are well versed in the injuries that can occur as the result of whiplash trauma and how to best present those injuries to the insurance company in order to compensate you for your losses. For more information call 727-451-6900.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765