Whiplash From a Rear-End Collision Can Be Serious
Whiplash, also known as a neck sprain or neck strain, is a serious injury to the soft tissue of the neck. It is the most commonly cited injury resulting from rear-end auto collisions. When your car is struck from behind, it can cause your head to violently snap back and then forward again in rapid succession. The force of the impact, which can even occur at slow speeds, stretches the neck beyond its normal range of motion. The result is a potentially serious injury.
If you’ve been in an auto collision and suspect you may have whiplash, it’s important to understand how whiplash happens, what the symptoms are, and how you can protect your rights.
A More In-Depth Look at Whiplash
The sudden and forceful movement of the structures within the neck can change the normal curve of your neck and upper back. The rapid movement backward (extension) and consequential movement forward (flexion) can result in injury to your neck joints. What’s more, the muscles in your neck and upper back may become overextended. The neck is susceptible to this type of injury due to its ability to move in many different directions.
Whiplash Can Even Occur at Slow Speeds
Even the force of fender-benders and parking lot crashes is enough to cause a whiplash injury. In fact, rear-end collisions at speeds as low as five miles per hour can result in whiplash and herniated discs.
That’s because the whipping action from the collision causes the head to move at a much higher acceleration rate than that of the car. To be exact, your head can accelerate more than 2.5 times as fast as the acceleration rate of your car when it is struck. As a result, you and others in your car may experience considerable harm and injury, even if the damage to your vehicle is minor.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Many car collision victims experience whiplash, but they don’t seek immediate medical attention. That’s because the symptoms of whiplash aren’t always noticeable immediately after a collision. To that end, you may not notice the signs of whiplash for several days.
Be on the lookout for the following symptoms of whiplash:
- Neck pain or stiffness is a common sign of whiplash. You may notice the discomfort immediately, or it could even take a day or so before you feel the pain.
- Pain, tingling, or numbness in your arms or hands can occur as a result of pinched nerves or other damage to your neck or spinal column.
- Headaches are also another common symptom of whiplash, with 60% of patients experience migraines, according to the International Medical Society of Paraplegia.
- Tinnitus causes a constant ringing sound due to an ear injury. The condition is a common result of neck and spinal injuries resulting from whiplash.
What to Do If You Are Involved in a Collision
Unfortunately, you never know when a collision may happen. But you can remember some important best practices, which include:
- Stay at the scene of the crash.
- Exchange insurance information with the other parties involved.
- Seek a medical evaluation following the collision and follow any treatment instructions you receive.
- Don’t accept any settlements, whether they are from another driver or from an insurance company.
- Speak with an attorney to protect your rights and to begin your road to recovery.
Remember, as a victim in an auto collision, you have rights. Retain a reputable personal injury attorney in your area today.