Whiplash is one of the most common injuries suffered by people who have been rear-ended in a car accident. Being common does not mean that whiplash is not a big deal, though. The injury might start as a neck ache, but it can and often does worsen and become a problem that causes lasting pain and trauma.
How Whiplash Happens
Whiplash happens when your neck is whipped back and forth rapidly, like someone lashing out with a whip, which is how the injury got its name. The tendons, muscles, and spinal discs in the neck are extremely sensitive to sudden jostling and violent motions. Even a low speed rear-end collision can cause you to whip your neck enough to trigger whiplash.
The injury is most common in rear-end accidents involving a front car that is completely stopped. When the negligent driver crashes into the stopped front vehicle from behind, the driver in the front vehicle will be thrown backward in their seat. As the inertia from the impact shifts, they will then be tossed forward only a split second later. Headrests and seatbelts can mitigate the severity of whiplash injuries, but not by much.
Why Can Whiplash Cause Lasting Trauma?
In many cases, whiplash begins as a painful neck ache without other symptoms. Drivers who suffer it often think it is just soreness to be expected after any car accident. Unfortunately, this complacency causes them to not take their injury as serious as necessary, and they might even opt to skip a trip to the doctor’s office the same day as their accident.
Undiagnosed and untreated whiplash will only get worse. Within a day or so, other symptoms of whiplash will start to manifest. The intensity of these new symptoms will be worse if medical treatments were not used soon after the crash.
Severe whiplash symptoms include:
- Reduced mobility
- Vision or hearing loss
At this point, the likelihood of whiplash causing lasting trauma is high. A minor case of whiplash is expected to cause symptoms for days or weeks. Moderate cases can last months. Severe whiplash will cause intermittent symptoms for years or possibly indefinitely. Migraines and neck stiffness are usually the two symptoms that last the longest, even with adequate medical treatments.
How Can Whiplash Be Treated?
Your doctor will try to prescribe whiplash treatments that help minimize the pain it causes and restore lost mobility. There are various treatment methods that could help you.
Different types of treatments for whiplash include:
- Hot and cold compresses
- Physical therapy
- Protective collars
In severe whiplash cases, your doctor might recommend injections or surgery to alleviate the worst symptoms. The cost of these treatments can sometimes exceed healthcare insurance coverage amounts, meaning you might need to pay for a portion of necessary treatments on your own. At that point, you will want to consider filing a personal injury claim against the driver that caused your accident, if you have not already. A successful injury claim will allow you to pursue additional damages that you would not normally receive just through a car accident claim.
For help with whiplash injury claims in San Jose, you can call (888) 387-4053 and speak with an attorney from Habbas & Associates. Our law firm brings nearly 200 years of collective legal experience to every case we take.