What Happens When You Get Whiplash? Rear-End Accidents, Injury and Compensation


As a Dallas-Fort Worth personal injury lawyer, I know that whiplash injuries are among the most common suffered by car wreck victims. Whiplash injuries generally involve soft tissue damage necessitating chiropractic treatment, but they may also involve bruises, back injuries, herniation of the spinal disks, headaches, dizziness, pain when bending or twisting your torso/chest, and lower back problems. Although whiplash injuries are most commonly associated with car crashes, they can also occur in a variety of other accident scenarios such as falls from a bicycle, when riding a rollercoaster or being shaken (for example, shaken baby syndrome can involve whiplash injuries to the child).

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a broad term that covers many different types of neck pain, including many types of soft tissue injuries. Whiplash injuries commonly occur in car and truck crashes when the victim was rear-ended by another car. A rear impact collision causes the driver (and any passengers) to be violently jerked in their seat, snapping their neck and head at forces of approximately 5 g’s (depending on the speed) within a matter of milliseconds. This is known as cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD) trauma and the collected symptoms are known as whiplash associated disorder.

Your doctor might refer to whiplash in medical terms like cervical sprain, cervical strain or hyperextension injuries. These are all common medical conditions that fall under the heading ‘whiplash.’


Symptoms of Whiplash

The most common symptom of whiplash is pain in the neck and back. Whiplash sufferers may also experience shoulder pain, headaches and a ‘pins and needles’ feeling in the arms and legs. You may begin experiencing whiplash symptoms within hours of an accident, or it may be days before whiplash symptoms occur.

Numerous studies into whiplash has shown that women are more likely to suffer serious whiplash injuries than men. Females are also more likely to feel pain for longer and suffer greater impairment as a result of their injuries. It's speculated that this difference exists because the female neck is typically less muscular, narrower and longer than male necks. As a result, women will often experience a greater force on their neck when their car is slammed from behind. 
Sometimes victims feel pain right away, though that's not always the case. Often, the victim is not aware their whiplash until a few days after the accident occurred. For this reason, if you're involved in a traffic accident, don't tell people at the crash scene that you are fine or unhurt. Instead, you can simply say that you don't need an ambulance and you'll drive yourself to the doctor. You should refrain from giving any sort of statement until the full and true nature of your injuries can properly be assessed by a medical professional. This is because as soon as you say "I'm fine, I'm not hurt," you're giving a statement that can be used against you later by the insurance company. Similarly, you should not provide a recorded statement to the insurance adjustor until you are fully aware of the extent of your injuries. 

How is Whiplash Treated?

Because whiplash is typically used to describe types of soft tissue injuries to the neck, you’ll find many types of treatments, depending on the doctor. Some prescribe medication, while other doctors may recommend physical therapy to help improve your range of motion and reduce pain and swelling. Still other doctors may refer you to a chiropractor to relieve whiplash symptoms through chiropractic manipulation.

In cases of mild whiplash, you may undergo treatment for days or weeks until your soft tissues heal and you are able to resume regular activities. During this time, you may be confined to bed rest, and you may be unable to work and perform other normal activities.

Some whiplash injuries result in permanent restrictions, though, such as being unable to move your neck beyond a certain point, or permanent pain and change in activities.


Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer?

Soft tissue damages can be some of the most difficult injuries to prove to insurance companies, and whiplash is high on the list of ‘warning signs’ that provokes insurance companies to give you hassle. Don’t let insurance companies walk all over you. Whiplash encompasses a broad range of legitimate injuries for which you should be compensated if you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident. 

It is important that you seek medical help as soon as possible following your accident, even if you do not initially believe that you have been hurt. 
If you or a loved one has suffered whiplash injuries in a North Texas auto wreck or other accident, please contact the Fort Worth personal injury attorneys at the Anderson Law Firm for a free, no obligation consultation on your legal rights. Call today at 817-294-1900.
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