Inter Law – whiplash

Could new advances make whiplash claims a thing of the past? Whiplash, a neck related injury which is usually associated with car accidents involving the patient’s car being hit from behind, might now be on the decrease due to new technologies and treatments. The biological science that causes whiplash injuries is presently largely unknown. Injuries are often not apparent but instead involve ‘invisible’ damage.

The most common cause of whiplash occurs during a car accident. The head of a driver or passenger snaps forward and then back again causing an injury which may include torn or stretched ligaments and lead to headaches and discomfort. Around 20% of people involved in rear-end collisions later experience whiplash symptoms. These symptoms appear within the first couple of days after the accident and usually alleviate after a short time. Whiplash injury can happen at speeds as low as five miles an hour.

In his book Whiplash and Other Useful Illnesses which was published by McGill Queen’s University Press, Andrew Malleson describes the development of whiplash from an ordinary, passing problem, documented in a 1950’s medical journal to a global occurrence that has left millions mysteriously and permanently disabled.

Malleson exposes how some medical practitioners prey on the anxiety and greediness of their clients. He argues cogently and with detailed analytical theory that whiplash is largely a fabricated illness which drains resources from the national health care system.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) say that whiplash affects approximately 200,000 people each year in the UK and that over 2,000 of these people have permanent disabilities as a result. Around ВЈ1.6bn whiplash claims are met each year from drivers’ insurance premiums and 80% of all personal injury claims are sought in relation to the problem.

A smart new head rest has been in development which aims to reduce the number of whiplash injuries sustained by people in motor vehicles by three quarters. The head rest moves automatically in the event of an accident to provide the passenger with support. Reports say that women will benefit most from the technology because they are more at risk of getting whiplash than men due to differences in posture and body development. In an 18 month trial using Saab cars, whiplash injuries were reduced by 75 percent if the passengers and drivers used the new head rest.

The aid which medical professionals can offer whiplash sufferers is notoriously limited to bed rest, massages and painkillers. As a direct result of this, many of those who suffer from whiplash are looking into alternative therapies. Acupuncture is one of the most popular and it seems to yield positive results.

Acupuncture is thousands of years old and simply looking online will produce hundreds of first-hand reviews written by whiplash sufferers. It’s easy to see from these reviews and blog entries that acupuncture does help a great number of people to cope with or overcome whiplash symptoms. Between ancient techniques, new technology and cynical academic approaches to the subject, perhaps whiplash claims will soon be a thing of the past.

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