September 21, 2016
Why are the Terms “Whiplash” and “Soft Tissue Injury” Dirty Words in the Insurance Industry?
Probably the single most common car accident injury in a rear end collision car accident is the injury to the neck. A neck injury in a car collision can result in anything ranging from a slight stiff neck to vertebral fractures, to disc herniation or even a spinal cord injury. Nevertheless, the most common type of injury to the neck in a car accident is a whiplash injury. A whiplash injury is caused by the sudden or forceful movement of the head back and forth.
Despite the fact that this is the most common type of car accident injury, adjusters treat the term whiplash as if it were a dirty word. Insurance companies have spent years trying to downplay the painfulness, significance and seriousness of whiplash injuries. Adjusters argue that whiplash is not a real injury and like to throw around phrases like “it’s just a soft tissue injury,” “all she had was whiplash” or, a favorite, “we are only legally required to cover 5 doctor visits for neck strains.”
It is not just adjusters. Their insurance defense attorneys also try to use unscrupulous tactics to downplay these very real injuries. They consistently argue that they are minor injuries. They work to make re-victimize the accident victim and engage in an invasive search of the injury victim’s medical history to try to find anything they can use to embarrass or discredit an injury victim. Criminals have more rights in the legal system than car accident victims.
However, the insurance industry does not only rely on adjusters to undermine an accident injury victims’ claim, they have a group of medical doctors and chiropractors who pretend to work in private offices but really work full time for the insurance industry. Many of these doctors are paid upwards of $200,000 to $300,000 a year to deny injury victims’ claims. These doctors write report after report stating that the treatment received by the injury victim was not reasonable. They make diagnosis and draw conclusions from doctors’ notes but never actually see the patient. Despite the efforts of the insurance companies, many jurors see through this charlatanism.
In reality, any fair medical provider knows that a whiplash injury can be minor or severe. Every person heals at a different rate and different people recover in different ways and respond to different types of treatment. This means that some people do recover from a car accident induced neck injury in a couple of days without any medical intervention. Others, however, are not so lucky. In some cases, whiplash injuries can be serious and life altering. It can cause more than just stiffness but severe headaches and chronic pain that rivals that of a broken bone. Sometimes it even causes radiating pain into the limbs, extremities, shoulders and back of the car accident injury victim.
It is uncommon for a medical doctor to use the actual term whiplash. The term “whiplash” is a laymen’s term and not an official medical terminology. Most physicians will refer to a neck sprain or a neck strain. It is also common for a medical provider to refer to hyperextension or hyperflexion of the neck. While it may be technically a “soft tissue” injury, the term incorrectly implies that the injury is minor or somehow insignificant. This is not true and it can be a serious and painful injury.
Because the terms “whiplash” and “soft tissue injury” have been embraced by the insurance industry, they are terms that personal injury attorneys and car accident victims should avoid using. Even terms like neck sprain or neck strain imply that the injury is minor. It is important to refer to a neck injury for what it is: a neck injury. This means an injury that can cause severe chronic pain that may even be disabling or permanent. This more effectively communicates the type of injury it is and the seriousness of the injury.
If you were in a car accident and have sustained some type of neck injury, contact Whitener Law Firm ONLINE or at (505) 883-RUSS for a FREE CONSULTATION.
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