Personal Injury Lawyers - Representing People Nationwide
Whiplash is one of the most common types of neck injury. It is a neck sprain or neck strain caused by a sudden jerking of the head back and forth (hypertension and flexion) often seen in auto accidents, especially rear-end collisions. In fact, whiplash is sometimes referred to as car accident neck injury, although it does not occur exclusively in motor vehicle accidents. Rugby and American football players, for instance, have been known to sustain whiplash injury when two players tackle them simultaneously, one in the back and another in front.
It is thought that the mechanics of whiplash injury begin when the victim is rapidly accelerated forwards, as happens to the occupant of a vehicle when the vehicle is rear-ended. The unsupported head of the victim attempts to remain stationary in accordance with the laws of physics. This causes the head to rock upwards and backwards relative to the rest of the body, potentially stretching or tearing some muscles and ligaments in the neck. Then, in a reflex action to prevent further injury, the neck muscles contract to bring the head back forward again. Overcompensation as the vehicle (and the body) decelerates may consequently rock the head forward violently, causing further injury.
Whiplash-related injuries can range from mild to debilitating. Symptoms tend to present immediately or soon after the incident that occasioned it, but they may also develop hours, or even days, thereafter. Symptoms may include:
- Neck stiffness
- Shoulder discomfort
- Blurred vision
- Parantheses (prickling, burning or other abnormal sensations)
- Difficulty swallowing (rare)
Unrelenting and/or severe headache, numbness, tingling or any loss of functionality likely indicates a serious injury. In any case, if a whiplash injury is suspected after a motor vehicle accident, it is best to consult with a physician immediately. In addition to whiplash, symptoms for other injuries sustained in an auto accident may become evident up to months after the accident, and timely diagnoses may be critical. It may also benefit a potential auto injury legal claim for injuries sustained to be properly and promptly documented.
Treatment for whiplash injuries may involve the use of a soft cervical collar, physical therapy, muscle relaxants, pain medications and/or heat treatments. If symptoms persist or worsen, however, additional tests may be necessary to determine the extent of the injury. Surgery is rarely necessary unless a more serious condition, such as a herniated disk, is uncovered.
Proving that whiplash and other injuries were caused due to someone else's negligence often requires both medical and legal expert analysis and testimony. Insurance claims adjusters typically attempt to persuade claimants that their injuries are merely "soft tissue" injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered whiplash or other accident-related injuries, it may be in your best interest to contact