FAQ about Whiplash

October 7, 2016 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
FAQ about Whiplash

Whiplash1 is a type of neck injury that can occur when the head jerks suddenly and forcefully backward and forward on the neck. It is called “whiplash” because the motion resembles the cracking of a whip. While “whiplash” is a non-medical term, it is commonly used to refer to strain injuries to the muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and other tissues in a person's neck. It can cause a number of serious and uncomfortable symptoms, including neck pain and stiffness, limited range or motion, pain when moving, shoulder pain, pins and needles in the arms and shoulders, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, sleep disturbances, back pain, depression, jaw pain, difficulty concentrating, and others. In some cases, whiplash can lead to chronic neck pain that can last for months or even years after an accident occurred.

How Does Whiplash Occur? Typically whiplash occurs when then body is suddenly shoved forward causing the head to snap backwards and then forward as in the motion of snapping a whip. Aside from a rear end car collision these injuries can occur in contact sports, skiing and snowboarding, from child abuse, like shaken baby syndrome, and also slip and fall accidents. They can also occur in motor vehicle accidents where there is no rear impact. In most of the cases where this type of injury occurs there is low impact, as opposed to high impact. In cases of high impact neck injuries, traumatic brain injuries may also be present from the brain striking the inside of the skull. Severe neck pain can divert the attention away from the possibility of a traumatic brain injury. It is important to be checked out by a medical professional following any impact accident, even if no symptoms exist.

What Kinds of Accidents Can Cause Whiplash?

Any type of accident that causes a sudden and forceful snapping of the neck can result in a whiplash injury. That being said, whiplash is most commonly associated with rear-end vehicle accidents. Some of the other types of accidents that have the potential to cause whiplash include the following:

  • Car accidents
  • Train accidents
  • Bus accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Sports injuries

Notably, whiplash does not only occur as the result of an accident. For example, people who ride roller coasters or other thrill rides have been known to sustain whiplash injuries due to the forces experienced on the ride. In addition, whiplash can be the result of intentional violence and is commonly associated with shaken baby syndrome. The only way to be certain that a stiff or sore neck is whiplash is to be evaluated by a physician, so you should always go see a doctor if you suspect that you have injured your neck.

Is Whiplash Treatable?

Fortunately for victims, whiplash is treatable and many people recover within a few weeks of their injury. The purpose of medical treatment is to manage pain during the recovery period, restore your normal range of motion, and get you back to your daily activities as quickly as possible. Not every case of whiplash is treated the same way, and more serious injuries may require more aggressive treatment.

Some of the more common whiplash treatments include the following:

Rest – In mild cases, your physician may recommend that you simply rest and avoid moving your neck too much. Keep in mind that too much rest may actually prolong your recovery, however.

Applying Ice or Heat – The application of ice or heat to your injury may help with pain and stiffness.

OTC Pain Relievers The first line of pharmaceutical treatment involves the use of over-the-counter pain relievers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other analgesics such as acetaminophen.

Prescription Drugs – If you are experiencing severe pain or your pain does not respond to over-the-counter medication, your physician may prescribe stronger pain relievers.

Muscle Relaxants – If you are having muscle spasms related to your injuries, your physician may prescribe muscle relaxants such as valium.

Injections – If you are experiencing pain related to your facet joints, your physician may recommend cervical facet joint injections to help manage your pain.

Can I Recover for my Whiplash-Related Losses?

Whether or not you will be able to recover compensation for the losses you have sustained as a result of your injury depends on whether your accident was caused by someone else's negligence.2 Generally speaking, negligence occurs when a person fails to use the degree of care that would ordinarily be used by a reasonable person in similar circumstances. For example, a driver who follows you too closely and hits the back of your car when you slow down as you approach a stoplight would likely be deemed negligent. Similarly, if train company fails to adequately maintain its vehicles and that failure results in an accident, the company could probably be held liable for any injuries that occurred as a result. Whether negligence occurred in a particular situation depends on a number of factors, so it is important for all accident victims to speak to a lawyer.

Call a Clearwater Auto Accident Attorney Today for a Free Consultation

If you have sustained whiplash or any other type of neck or back injury in an accident, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Importantly, waiting to retain an attorney could potentially result in the loss of your right to file a claim or the loss or destruction of evidence that is critical to your case. At the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, our Clearwater car accident lawyers are committed to providing effective and aggressive representation to each client we take. To learn more about how we can help you, call us today at 727-451-6900.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 (727) 451-6900

1 Whiplash

2 https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/negligence


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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