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Whiplash and your claim for workers’ compensation benefits

If you drive the company vehicle on a regular basis, you know that an accident is always a possibility, even on a clear, sunny day in Minnesota.

Although you are a careful driver, you cannot always say the same about fellow motorists. As the victim of a rear-end crash and a serious whiplash, are you qualified to file for workers’ compensation benefits?

What it is

Whiplash occurs when an unexpected jolt, such as that caused during a rear-end collision, makes the head jerk backward and forward in a sudden, violent manner. This kind of action adversely affects the vertebrae in the neck area along with neighboring ligaments, muscles and soft tissues. However, at the time of impact, the body releases adrenalin, which can mask the more intense pain of an injury.

What can happen

Whiplash can present mild symptoms, such as neck strain or soreness, which can disappear in a matter of a few weeks. However, this kind of injury can also cause lasting health issues. In fact, long-term effects are more common than you might think. These include:

  •          Chronic pain in the neck and shoulder area
  •          Ringing in the ears
  •          Chronic headaches
  •          Jaw pain
  •          Numbness or weakness in the extremities
  •          Blurry vision
  •          Memory issues
  •          Difficulty sleeping
  •          Ongoing problems with concentration

You might have to manage one or more of these symptoms for years if not for a lifetime, and the injury may also affect your ability to work.

What steps to take

Even after a vehicle crash that seems minor, such as a low speed rear-end collision, you should seek medical attention promptly. Outward signs of whiplash may only include pain or stiffness in the neck area, but symptoms of a more serious injury may not appear for hours or days after the crash. The best way to avoid long-term medical issues is to obtain an early diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Your next step is to inform your employer about the injury so that the filing of a claim for workers’ compensation benefits can begin.

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