Whiplash: A Potentially Serious Injury That Can Result from Even Minor Car Accidents
Driver’s ed teachers, frequently asked questions pages on car insurance websites, and police officers who take statements from drivers and passengers at the scene of a car accident all agree that you should go to a doctor’s office or hospital to be examined after you are involved in a car accident, even if you do not have any visible injuries and even if you feel fine. Some injuries that people sustain as a result of a car accident do not cause symptoms immediately. One of these injuries is whiplash, a muscle strain injury that can cause chronic neck and back pain if not managed properly. If you are suffering from whiplash injury because of a car accident, you might have grounds for a car accident injury lawsuit.
What Causes Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash injury is a muscle strain injury that occurs when the head rapidly moves forward and then backward, like the movement of a whip. The muscle strain is the result of the muscles in the neck and upper back accommodating the sudden head movement. It is very common in car accidents where the injured person’s car gets rear-ended. If you are sitting in the back seat in a rear-end car collision, you are especially vulnerable to whiplash injury, even more so if you are not wearing a seat belt. Car accidents are not the only cause of whiplash injury; any sport where a strong impact causes your head to make a whiplash motion can also cause whiplash injury.
The initial whiplash motion usually does not hurt; if you are stopped at a red light or stop sign and a car rear ends you, the whiplash motion is already over by the time you realize what happened. Like many muscle strain injuries, the pain and soreness start the day after the injury occurs, or sometimes even later.
How Serious Is Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash injury ranges from very mild (slight discomfort that goes away on its own) to very severe (long-lasting pain that is severe enough to prevent the injured person from working). The severity of the whiplash injury does not always directly correlate with the severity of the crash. A minor car accident can result in a bad case of whiplash.
Your health at the time of the accident can affect the outcome of whiplash injury as much as the details of the car accident can. Generally, the older you are, the more serious and longer lasting the symptoms of whiplash injury are. Regardless of your age, physical fitness offers some protection against whiplash injury. Just because you are young and healthy, though, you can still suffer from whiplash injury.
Let Us Help You Today
Whiplash injury is an invisible injury, but it can cause serious pain and limit your ability to work. If you have been injured in a car accident, contact Palm Beach County car accident lawyer Scott Smith for a consultation to see if you have grounds for a lawsuit.