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             26 November, 2020
 

    
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Neck Injuries Whiplash

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2009-06-07 07:17:11     
Article by Nick Jervis

Can Whiplash Lead To Long Term Neck Injuries?
The UK has an unenviable reputation of being the whiplash claim capital of Europe, with the injury accounting for almost three quarters of road traffic accident claims. The majority whiplash suffers have only short term problems, with the muscle and tissue damage caused by the sudden jolt dissipating within a few weeks or months at the most. But studies have shown that longer term effects can be felt for years after the initial accident.

Whiplash is caused when the neck is forced beyond its normal range of movement, stretching and straining the ligaments, tendons and muscles. This usually happens when the body is suddenly accelerated and then violently decelerated, such as in a collision. The torso accelerates rapidly to the same speed as the colliding car and because of the neck's natural flexibility, the head arcs backwards, injuring the soft tissue structure around the spinal column in the neck and the upper shoulders. Once the force of the collision is dissipated the torso suddenly stops but the head accelerates forward causing the neck to bend sharply in the opposite direction and damaging the soft tissue.

The belief that all whiplash injuries are short lived is a misconception. 45% of whiplash claimants report they still suffer with neck symptoms of the condition two years after the accident and many continue to do so long after their compensation claim has been settled.

Traditionally, insurance companies have maintained that only short term care is required and that there are no long term effects. But an Australian study in 2006 by the University of Queensland backed up earlier research published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology that those who had suffered a whiplash injury were more likely to suffer long term effects such as headaches, lack of mobility in the neck and shoulders, lower back pain and even psychological ailments such as depression. The original study concluded that individuals with pre-existing problems were more vulnerable to long term effects from traumatic injury including whiplash.

The University of Queensland is also currently examining the possibility that sensory hypersensitivity may also be a consequence of soft tissue trauma such as whiplash.

Although claims for whiplash sometimes get a bit of a rough deal in the courts (there are known instances of bogus claims being brought purely for financial gain), medical evidence is now being gathered to enable the courts to give clearer guidelines on what actually constitutes a whiplash neck injury and the likelihood of such an injury being sustained during low speed impacts. The growing evidence that supports the notion of long term effects now has to be given serious consideration. However, claims specialists do not believe that this will increase the likelihood of excessive compensation claims being brought for whiplash neck injuries. They believe that it will enable them to present a far more comprehensive assessment of the effects of an injury, taking into account all the factors, both short and long term, and so allow the courts to make more informed and fairer awards to the victims. By doing this they will be able to set a precedent for future claims and ensure that all victims of whiplash get the compensation they deserve. The medical profession is also welcoming the collation of more comprehensive information into the effects of whiplash. It may be that the UK is finally drawing closer to a fairer system of compensation for those who may suffer long term consequences as a result of a simple and relatively minor road traffic accident.

Specialized in: Whiplash Claims - Whiplash Compensation
URL: http://www.1stclaims.co.uk
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