Whiplash is commonly thought of as a trivial injury, especially if you’ve not suffered from it, but new research from a leading law firm has revealed vast gaps in consumers knowledge around whiplash.
The survey of 1000 members of the public, conducted by Accident Advice Helpline in conjunction with OnePoll, showed that an alarming 25 per cent mistakenly thought that the average whiplash recovery time was only a week, when in actual fact the injury tends to last far longer.
The NHS quote the Quebec court epidemiological study on predictive factors of recovery from whiplash injury, which found that the average recovery time for a whiplash injury was actually 32 days, showing that it can be a much more serious injury than people initially think.
Over a quarter of people did not realise that whiplash symptoms didn’t always occur straight away and nearly 90 per cent thought that men and women were equally likely to get whiplash in accidents which is untrue. Experts believe that women are almost twice as likely to be injured from whiplash as men because their muscle mass and neck circumference is less. Therefore some whiplash injury cases can be more serious than one might think.
In addition, nearly 50 per cent of those surveyed thought keeping the neck still in a brace was best for whiplash injuries, when in fact keeping it mobile is better. The NHS reported that doing gentle exercises and moving the head would improve flexibility and speed up recovery time.
Laurence Beck, CEO of Accident Advice Helpline explains, “There are still a few overriding misconceptions about whiplash injuries; that the recovery time is far shorter than it can actually be (chronic whiplash takes over 6 months to heal with therapy), that symptoms appear immediately (they actually take 24-48 hours to manifest themselves), or that a neck brace is the best course of action for recovery (keeping the neck mobile will keep the muscles in use and enable faster healing).
“A problem we see time and again working in the field of accident compensation is the underestimation of exactly how serious and debilitating whiplash can be. The injuries sustained from a traffic impact or slip or fall, can last months or even years, with significant physiotherapy required to heal them. In additional to the muscular spasm and pain, symptoms can include dizziness, headache, pins and needles in extremities, lower back pain, vertigo and depression.
“As the body goes into shock after a sudden whiplash-causing impact, symptoms sometimes don’t hit until a day or two later, when they can cause intense pain and restrict movement.
“These misconceptions show that a lot of people deem whiplash as a trivial injury that isn’t as real as a broken bone or laceration. But whiplash can cause serious affects to people lives and a significant amount of distress.”
If you have found yourself involved in an accident which resulted in a whiplash injury then you might be able to claim compensation against the motorist responsible. Give the team at Accident Advice Helpline a call on 0800 689 0500 to speak to a friendly advisor.
Date Published: February 13, 2015
Author: David Brown