Why Is Whiplash Such A Popular Fake Injury?
When you hear about unethical people attempting to stage an injury for insurance or lawsuit fraud, quite often one of the most common elements you’ll hear in these stories is that a condition known as “whiplash” was cited as the injury. In some cases, the settlement even goes through, and the person faking the injury receives the financial compensation, only to get caught out at a later date doing things that should be impossible with a legitimate whiplash condition. At that point, people who have faked an injury in order to get money for it can be charged with fraud, which is a criminal offense.
And yet, year in, year out, whiplash as a fake injury seems to be the “fallback” injury that so many unscrupulous people rely on. Why is that? What is it about whiplash that makes it such a popular cause of injuries, and how do these people actually manage to get away with it? Let’s look at the facts.
What Is Whiplash?
The official medical term is “cervical acceleration-deceleration,” while the more descriptive term for whiplash is neck strain, or neck sprain. This is a condition where the neck is subjected to violent movement, the most common being the rapid forward/backward motion that accompanies being hit by a car. We get the term “whiplash” because there is movement to one position before snapping back to the original location, much like how a whip works.
When a person suffers from whiplash, the effects can be immediate, or they can appear hours or even days later. Typical symptoms of whiplash include pains and aches in the neck, headaches, and even stiffness or tingling in the arms and legs. There may also be psychological effects, such as becoming more easily distracted or suffering from prolonged bouts of irritation.
Hard To Detect
Real cases of whiplash are very easy to see in terms of the symptoms. Once a person has difficulty moving his or her neck, reports pain, and suffers from obvious, decreased mobility, these all generally make it clear that something is wrong. However, where the real issue with whiplash comes in is that the injuries sustained are usually muscular in nature.
That means that a lot traditional medical instrumentation, such as x-ray machines, simply cannot see a whiplash injury, since x-rays only detect solid mass like bone. Muscles do not show up well in x-rays, and even switching over to more advanced systems, like magnetic resonance imagers—or MRI—does not guarantee good results. Whiplash can involve strain in the muscles themselves or the discs in between bones, so while some types of whiplash might show up on other imaging systems, not all of them will.
The Easy Choice
It’s due to the difficulty in getting always getting concrete medical proof, combined with the relative ease in displaying symptoms that whiplash is one of the most popular forms of faked injuries for insurance fraud. When combined with the fact that whiplash can also be recovered from, this means that some unethical people see whiplash as a feasible way to appear injured, but then still live a normal life after a period of time has passed.
This doesn’t mean that doctors are somehow complicit in helping people to have fake injuries for the purposes of court cases. If a person does sufficient homework and reports to a doctor with a set of symptoms, that doctor, assuming the honesty of the patient, can only arrive a small collection of medical conclusions, and whiplash is one of the most logical.
But the problem for many of these people faking injuries is their own carelessness. There are numerous cases of insurance fraud that are found out because the people that claim to be injured go on to act in ways that simply aren’t possible for someone that is supposed to have mobility and pain issues. Cases throughout the world are dismissed from court as lawyers and investigators comb through social media like Facebook and Twitter, find the accounts of people that claim to have a diminished lifestyle due to crippling whiplash, but then post photos of themselves competing in athletic events that should be impossible for someone with actual health issues.
The Real Deal
For people that genuinely suffer from whiplash after an accident, there’s nothing “easy street” about it, and the suffering is real. And while insurance fraud can cloud the issue of financial compensation, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take action if you get this type of injury and someone else is at fault.
If you have an injury like whiplash or a related condition that arises from someone else’s negligence or irresponsibility while behind the wheel, you should not have to pay for someone else’s mistakes. An experienced injury lawyer can ensure that you don’t, and that you get the justice that is due to you.