Whiplash is one of the most common injuries experienced after a car accident. Unfortunately, it is often overlooked in personal injury claims and may be dismissed as a serious injury.
Yet, like other injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents, whiplash can lead to long-term effects. It may require long-term medical care, lead to costly medical expenses, and more.
Learn how to file a personal injury claim for compensation if you experienced whiplash from a car accident caused by someone else. Experienced whiplash injury lawyers can help you prepare your case and explain your legal rights.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash, or whiplash-associated disorder (WAD), is a series of neck injuries that result from sudden distortion of the neck. Severe whiplash often occurs when a person’s vehicle is struck from behind in a car crash.
Whiplash happens because, during the crash or other event, a person’s body is shoved forward while their head momentarily remains in place. This causes a quick, jerky motion in the head, leading to resulting whiplash injuries.
Although whiplash is often caused by a rear-end collision, this injury can be caused by any type of car accident. Whiplash can also be caused by contact sports, such as horse riding, or even physical abuse.
Perhaps the most important fact about whiplash injuries is how severe they can be. When a whiplash injury occurs, it can affect the soft tissue, tendons, and nerves in the neck and spine.
Ultimately, this can cause long-term effects, damage, need for continuing medical care, and resulting expenses for whiplash victims and their loved ones.
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How Car Accidents Cause Whiplash
Whiplash may happen when one vehicle hits another, regardless of the direction of the oncoming vehicle or whether the whiplash victim is a driver or passenger.
Car accidents are one of the most common causes of chronic whiplash, including rear-end collisions, side-impact collisions, and head-on collisions, or rapid acceleration-deceleration while driving. A whiplash-associated disorder may occur any time a person’s head is jerked back and forth suddenly.
Other common causes of whiplash include:
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Symptoms Of Whiplash
Symptoms of whiplash are not always readily apparent. Some victims of whiplash may experience short-term symptoms within the minutes and hours following the accident. Others may not see symptoms until days or weeks after the automobile accident.
Some of the most common short-term symptoms of whiplash include:
- general back pain, lower back pain, and pain in the upper back
- severe headaches
- shoulder pain, or “referred pain” from the neck
- feeling of “pins and needles” in neck and surrounding area
- tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- difficulty moving neck
- reduced range of neck motion
Long-Term Effects Of Whiplash After A Car Accident
Those who experience serious whiplash injury may experience long-term effects. If you receive proper medical care following a car accident that led to whiplash, your whiplash-associated disorder may resolve within a few weeks or months.
However, some whiplash victims will experience the long-term effects of whiplash for months or years to come. The most severe cases may face neck pain and other effects for a lifetime, also called chronic whiplash.
The long-term effects of whiplash caused by a car accident may include:
- chronic pain in neck, back, or shoulders
- difficulty sleeping
- long-term bouts of dizziness
- long-term upper back pain or lower back pain
- constant or intermittent tinnitus
- jaw pain
- numbness/weakness in the hands, arms, or legs
- memory problems
- troubles concentrating
- personality changes
Not everyone involved in a collision who experiences whiplash will experience long-term effects.
You may be more likely to see long-term effects from whiplash if:
- you were involved in a serious motor vehicle accident
- you didn’t receive prompt medical attention
- your injury involves damage to the neck ligaments, discs, or joints
- your whiplash injury included a spinal cord injury or spinal cord damage
- you had an existing neck or back condition before the car crash
- while trying to heal, you injure your neck again
What To Do If You’re Suffering From Whiplash After A Collision
The time immediately following a car accident can be a confusing and overwhelming time. If you have been in a car accident and you’re experiencing whiplash, consider the following tips:
Seek Medical Attention
In the event of any auto accident, it’s important to seek medical care right away—even if you don’t believe you’ve been injured. Many serious injuries do not present symptoms right away due to a rush of adrenaline flooding the body.
Emergency medical personnel will be able to assess for any immediate needs. A thorough follow-up exam can help assess for any underlying injuries you may not recognize due to the shock of the accident.
If you are suspected to have whiplash or another neck, back, or spinal cord injury, you may be sent for an x-ray to assess the damage. In less severe cases, you may only have neck strain or sprain, which may simply require time to heal.
A medical professional can perform a full evaluation to determine whether you may suffer whiplash or other serious injuries now or in the future. They can also tell you signs to watch for in case you need to return for ongoing care.
Consult A Whiplash Injury Lawyer
Your first instinct may be to call your insurance adjuster, especially if your car is damaged or appears totaled. It may be a better tactic to call a whiplash injury lawyer first, though. Whiplash injury lawyers are personal injury lawyers who are experienced in this practice area.
They can explain your legal rights to you, provide a free consultation to discuss whether your case can lead to a whiplash injury claim, and help you file a claim when you’re ready.
Car accidents that most often lead to whiplash injury claims are those caused by another driver, faulty roadway, or other circumstances out of your control.
Whiplash injury lawsuits exist to help whiplash victims seek compensation for personal injuries (including wrongful death) and property damage that was not their fault.
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Get A Free Case Evaluation With A Whiplash Injury Lawyer Near You
If you or a loved one have whiplash after a car accident, it may be in your best interest to consider filing a claim for compensation. Experienced whiplash injury lawyers can help you build your personal injury case, explain your legal rights, and provide support and legal advice along the way.
The law offices of Florin|Roebig is home to some of the most dedicated, highly esteemed, and skilled personal injury lawyers in the state of Florida. We serve personal injury clients in several states throughout the U.S. as well.
Learn more about starting your whiplash injury case today. Contact Florin|Roebig law firm for a free consultation to begin your claim.