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Getting into a rear-end-collision is a day killer to be sure. If not handled appropriately, it can become something much more than just a pain in the neck. Harvard researchers have found, using cadaver studies, that even an impact of just 10 MPH can cause damage to spinal disks and joints. It’s not surprising when you consider that a 10 pound head is connected to a 180+ body by something as complex and delicate as 7 cervical bones, a spinal cord and muscle. Imagine attaching a bowling ball to a rack of ribs and then whip it back and forth in under a second, and you get close to why something as seemingly innocuous as a “fender bender” can create so much soft tissue damage.

Getting your injury properly treated starts with a visit to an ER. Get cleared of any life-threatening injury, and then consult your local chiropractor to begin the rehabilitation process so proper healing can begin.

But, before any of that, what you do immediately after the accident can have a huge impact on your case down the road. Here are some suggestions to make sure you get the care you need and those responsible compensate you for you and your cars’ repair.

1. Call the police and get a copy of the police report.

2. Get the name and numbers/emails of any witnesses.

3. Get the drivers license and insurance information. DO NOT accept offers to handle this “under the table”.

4. Photograph damage to the cars with your phone or keep a disposable camera in the car.

5. Consult with an attorney – Working with an attorney can take the hassle by the insurance companies off of you so you can focus on getting well and getting back to life.

Whiplash injuries have a nasty habit of starting off feeling like a simple neck sprain, but can quickly become much worse over the course of weeks, even months. Take the right steps in the beginning to make sure you ultimately get the care you need.

Aaron L. Wiegand, DC,CCST