Published On: Thu, Jan 10th, 2013

How Whiplash Injuries Affect Children

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How Whiplash Injuries Affect ChildrenWhiplash is an injury which occurs when the head and neck are jerked forwards and back in a sudden movement. The spine is unnaturally stretched and the soft tissue in the neck area is adversely affected. The effects from this type of injury usually include severe headaches at the base of the skull, limited or nonexistent motion in the neck, pain in the neck and upper spine, and inability to move the neck from side to side.

Children are often impacted by this type of injury during a car accident. Children that are prepubescent have a spine strength that is only 25 percent that of an adult. It is not until puberty arrives that their spines begin to grow and strengthen to full capacity. Because their necks and spines are so much weaker, the whiplash can have a more-lasting impact on their health.

Whiplash Diagnosis And Treatment

Whiplash can only be diagnosed when the patient reveals the symptoms to the doctor. It cannot be detected in an x-ray, CT Scan or MRI. Many doctors will take an x-ray when a neck injury is reported to check for fractures or dislocations.

Since many children fail to reveal their symptoms until the problem is enhanced, it is very important for parents and doctors to ask the right questions of the child when they have been involved in a car accident. Asking if their neck hurts, if they can turn their heads, or if they have a headache in the back of their head can help the child receive the required medical attention at the onset of the problem.

Treating Whiplash

Whiplash is treated with pain killers, a neck brace and specific exercises. If there is suspected injury to the spine in addition to the whiplash, chiropractic treatments may be necessary. Doctors will additionally monitor children for any signs that there will be trouble with their spine and neck as they continue to grow.  Most children will eventually gain full recovery from a whiplash injury. However, it is very important that continual monitoring takes place for a specific period of time to ensure that permanent damage does not occur to the growing spine.

Personal Injury Compensation

Most drivers realize that when they are a victim of an auto accident, they are entitled to receive specific compensation for their injuries. Many of these people, however, do not realize that if their child is also injured, the child also has rights to compensation.

If your child has had a whiplash injury due to an auto accident, it is in their best interest for the parent to seek legal advice from a personal injury attorney. whether that is a Maryland accident lawyer or an attorney practicing in San Diego. An attorney can determine what types of compensation the child should receive, and will ensure that all necessary medical treatments are performed and paid for by the defendant’s insurer.

In the end, the most important thing a parent can remember is that children can be easily injured in this manner due the fragile state of their growing spine. An injury of this manner can lead to problems with spine development at a later date if left untreated. Any child involved in an auto accident should be screened for whiplash, even if it is just for posterity. 

Georgina Clatworthy is a freelance writer specializing in topics relating to health and legal issues.  Maryland accident lawyer firm, Price Benowitz LLP, analyze the individual factors in whiplash claims resulting from car accidents helping clients understand the likelihood of winning their claim.  In all whiplash cases involving children it is important to negotiate a settlement which will protect the child’s future needs as well as their immediate medical needs.

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