Though many people believe that “whiplash” refers to a singular injury, the term is actually used to refer to a range of soft-tissue strains that occur in the neck. These injuries occur when the neck suddenly and sharply jerks forward or backward and then snaps back into place. The term whiplash arose because this snapping motion resembles the cracking of a whip. Whiplash is especially common in victims of rear-end auto collisions, because such collisions propel their bodies forward while their head either stays in place or falls back, resulting in the neck strain.
In recent years, whiplash has gotten a bad reputation due to movies and television portraying accident victims taking in the witness stand in neck braces in order to fake or exaggerate whiplash injuries. For this reason, many legal claims involving whiplash will instead use the more technical medical terms, including:
- Cervical strain or sprain
- Myofascial injury
All of these injuries are generally included in the general term of “whiplash.”
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Signs and symptoms of whiplash
Though you may believe that whiplash is a relatively minor neck condition, the signs and symptoms of whiplash can be serious, painful, and long-lasting. Some of these signs and symptoms include the following:
- Neck pain
- Pain in the back, arm, or shoulder
- Stiffness in the neck
- Inability to achieve a full range of motion in the neck
- Dizziness or disorientation
- Problems with vision, including blurriness
- Persistent headaches
- Tingling or prickling sensation in the back or arm
- Difficulty concentrating
- Psychological issues
- Cognitive issues
These symptoms may start to appear immediately or may gradually develop over several days following an accident. You should always undergo a medical evaluation after an accident, especially if you are showing any signs of whiplash or other neck or back injuries.
The good news regarding whiplash is that the medical treatment necessary is often not that extensive. Generally, victims will require ice and heat, painkillers, ultrasounds, and physical therapy and rehabilitation to recover. The bad news is that recovery can take some time and, while you are healing, you may be in quite significant pain and may be limited in your movements. Such limitations often mean that whiplash victims must miss school, work, or other engagements. This can lead to lost income, lost opportunities, and more.
Additionally, many whiplash victims attempt to return to work or other required activities before the whiplash has fully healed. This can result in permanent injury and chronic pain that will have a long-lasting effect on their lives.
Common causes of whiplash
Though we previously mentioned rear-end accidents as an event that commonly results in whiplash, this type of injury can be caused by many other incidents, as well. Such incidents can include:
- Other types of auto or truck collisions
- Workplace injuries, especially from repetitive activities
- Slip and fall accidents
- Falls down stairs
- Snowboarding or skiing accidents
- Contact sports
- Assaults to the head
- Other traumatic impacts to the head
Many of the above accidents occur because another person or party acted negligently. In such cases, the negligent party should compensate you for the costs of your medical treatments related to whiplash, any wages you lost from time off from work, pain you experienced, and other relevant losses.
Following an accident, you should always seek medical attention so that the nature and severity of your injuries are documented in your medical records. Such records can be used as evidence of your accident-related injuries in any subsequent legal cases. Even if you do not show any immediate signs of whiplash when you first see a doctor, you should return to the doctor if symptoms begin to develop in the days or weeks following the incident.
Contact a neck injury attorney for a free consultation as soon as possible
If you have been involved in an accident and believe you have suffered a neck or back injury such as whiplash, do not delay in discussing your case with a neck injury lawyer at the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA in Clearwater, Florida. Call today for a free consultation at 727-451-6900.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756