A motorcycle accident can occur in the blink of an eye and yet leave injuries that affect the rest of your life. Unprotected from impact, drivers of motorcycles will suffer from lesions and injuries that are more serious than those seen on the driver of passenger cars. Road rash is the most common injury associated with motorcycle accidents, followed by head and neck trauma—the most devastating types of injury.
Motorcycle Whiplash Injuries
After road rash, whiplash injury is the most common seen after a motorcycle accident. Whiplash is the result of a person's head being suddenly jolted forward and then backward by an impact. This rapid movement causes the muscles, ligaments and tendons in the neck to overextend. The effects of whiplash usually do not present immediately but rather will be felt in the days following the accident. Minor cases of this type of motorcycle neck injury takes on average a month to recover from, while acute or chronic cases of whiplash can take up to several months or even years to recover from.
While on the road, a whiplash injury will occur when a bike is hit from behind even when the impact is at a low speed. In a high-speed impact, the neck is usually injured after the body is thrown forward off of the motorcycle and hits the ground at a high speed.
Motorcycle Whiplash Injury Symptoms
Severe pain and neck stiffness are the primary symptoms of a whiplash injury. The neck muscles can even swell and become tender to touch. For some, the severe pain will radiate to the shoulders, arms, and even the lower back. A motorcyclist who has sustained a whiplash injury may also experience headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, and trouble swallowing.
For a motorcyclist who develops severe or chronic whiplash, the symptoms will be intensified. Headaches become persistent, and chronic fatigue along with vision and hearing problems can develop. Developing depression and anxiety is also common as well as sleep disturbances.
A chronic whiplash injury can develop into a long-term disability known as fibromyalgia. This is a condition similar to arthritis where pain in the joints develops to other parts of the body. With no known cure, the chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia can be debilitating.
Recovering from Motorcycle Whiplash
For most motorcyclists suffering from a whiplash injury after an accident, the only course of treatment is time, as the swelling of the muscles and tendons in the neck subside. Light exercise treatment is recommended to help ease the stiffness. For chronic whiplash, the patient may be given medications that reduce swelling and ease pain. Physiotherapy may be prescribed along with light exercise. A physician will monitor the progress closely to ensure that secondary symptoms are not leading to a chronic condition.
Claiming Compensation for a Whiplash Injury
No matter how slight the accident if you are involved in a motorcycle crash you should always seek immediate medical attention. You might feel all right at the moment, but the symptoms of whiplash do not appear until at least the next day, sometimes longer, and the impact does not have to be great to cause it. An experienced emergency room physician will know what signs to look for before the symptoms start and will begin to put you on the right track towards recovery.
Seeking medical attention immediately for your injury is also crucial when it comes to being financially compensated for it. A personal injury claim is based on the plaintiff being hurt physically or emotionally by the defendant's actions. Without proof that the injury was a result of the crash, you could have to forfeit your right to compensation.
A whiplash injury is usually the result of a motorcycle being hit from behind. The main cause of this type of accident is driver's inattentiveness, which is even more common with motorcycle crashes due to their small size.
Since it is impossible to predict how long your whiplash injury will take to heal, it is important that you look to seek compensation for your medical expenses as soon as possible. In chronic cases, you may need expensive medical treatments for years—an expense you should not be responsible for if t the negligence of another driver caused the accident.
With these types of personal injury cases, it is important that the motorcycle driver seek legal representation. Since a neck injury can be caused by a low impact crash, insurance adjustors, and lawyers for the defense will try and equate the extent of your injury to the extent of damage to the motorcycle. This is an inaccurate comparison that a qualified motorcycle accident attorney will need to disprove.
By considering the grave injuries that could occur from a motorcycle accident, some neck injuries might make you feel like you got off lucky. While that may be true, it does not mean that the negligent driver should not have to compensate you for your injury. Whiplash is a painful condition that can last for years. A motorcyclist should exercise his or her rights and demand that the person who caused the injury to occur pay his or her expenses and pain-and-suffering.
Call (714) 898-4444 today to obtain a free consultation from a Southern California motorcycle accident lawyer. Our No Win No Fee contingency policy can help you stay financially afloat during the duration of your case.