Recovering Compensation for Whiplash After a Rear-End Accident
Within the United States, over 20 percent of annual motor vehicle accidents occur when one driver rear-ends another. The Department of Transportation reports that rear-end accidents account for around 4.7 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths in the U.S. In addition to serious accidents that are reported to police, in excess of 1.7 million rear-end collisions likely occur but go unreported annually.
Many of these rear-end accidents lead to whiplash, which is considered a type of soft-tissue injury. Vehicles do not need to move fast in order for whiplash to happen. According to a report from the University of Connecticut, many whiplash injuries occur in low-speed rear-end accidents involving two vehicles that are both traveling at 15 MPH or less.
Whiplash can be difficult to diagnose because there are no real objective medical tests that show the extent of soft tissue damage. Insurance companies are often reluctant to pay out compensation to whiplash sufferers because it is difficult to tell the extent of the injuries- and this is especially true when the injuries occur in a low speed crash.
According to Spine, however, research now suggests that there actually is a test that can prove when whiplash is legitimately disabling.
Researchers from Northwestern Medicine have discovered that when a whiplash patient is given an MRI after an accident, those who develop chronic problems have higher levels of fat in their neck muscles. When an MRI is performed between one and two weeks following the injury, the elevated fat levels can be seen in patients who go on to develop PTSD, disability and lasting pain. When the patients with chronic problems undergo another MRI between one and three months following their injuries, the elevated amounts of fat are still apparent. These elevated fat levels do not show up on MRIs of patients who recover and don’t experience debilitating whiplash symptoms.
If further research confirms the use of MRIs as a diagnostic aid in whiplash cases, patients may be able to get treated earlier, may be able to get more effective treatment, and may have an easier time getting insurance companies to recognize that their injuries are legitimate and entitle them to car accident compensation.
Missouri accident victims should contact the offices of Tolbert Beadle LLC at 1-800-887-4030. Serving Springfield, Columbia, Jefferson City, Joplin and throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri & Oklahoma.