Symptoms of whiplash from rear-end collisions - even minor collisions - can be serious or even debilitating. Statistically, one of the most common types of injuries reported following a rear-end collision is whiplash. This neck injury is often accompanied by mild to severe neck pain, which may appear immediately or not for several days.
Whiplash injuries are "invisible," meaning they are not associated with broken bones or obvious trauma. While you recover from whiplash, you may experience severe pain that keeps you from being able to go to work or school or participate in daily activities. This article will discuss 10 common symptoms of whiplash, and why it is important to seek medical attention following an accident.
What Is Whiplash?
A whiplash injury is a type of neck injury that often occurs following a rear-end car accident. The term "whiplash" technically refers to the mechanism of injury, where the head is thrust forward and back quickly, like the cracking of a whip. Whiplash injuries are usually not "catastrophic" in nature, but may still cause debilitating pain.
Among other less serious injuries, whiplash claims can be difficult insurance claims. Unfortunately, when there is little evidence available, insurance companies will often deny and defend against whiplash claims, even going so far as to suggest your pain is not real. Seeking prompt medical attention and hiring an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney can ensure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
10 Common Symptoms of Whiplash From Rear-End Collisions
Whiplash vary widely, and whiplash injuries often occur at the same time as other injuries. The following are ten common symptoms of whiplash:
- Stiff neck: You may wake up the day after an accident feeling like you have a major "crick" in your neck - stiffness and the feeling that rotation of your neck will be accompanied by severe pain. Neck pain and stiffness is common immediately or several days after a car accident. The severity of whiplash will depend on the force of the collision, whether you were wearing a seatbelt and any preexisting conditions you have. One Swedish study found that women are three times more likely than men to suffer whiplash.
- Headache: The Mayo Clinic reports that headaches are a common symptom of whiplash, most often beginning at the base of the skull. Pain from headaches should not be ignored. Whiplash can be associated with a "diffuse axonal injury," or DAI, a type of traumatic brain injury where the brain is shifted rapidly inside the skull.
- Numbness/tingling: Numbness in the neck, shoulder, arm, hand/or fingers can be a sign of a spinal nerve root being compressed or inflamed.
- Lower back pain: Whiplash is a spinal injury, and the spine goes from the base of the skull to the lower back. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, low back pain is a very common symptom of whiplash.
- Shoulder pain: Pain between the shoulder blades or in the shoulder is a frequent sign of whiplash. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may need physical therapy or surgery.
- Dizziness: Neck pain is associated with dizziness, which may come and go or occur when you move. Dizziness can be a symptom of a traumatic brain injury and may be accompanied with nausea. Unexplained dizziness should always be evaluated by a physician.
- Muscle spasms: Spasms are essentially short periods of cramping that occur when muscles cannot relax. The Cleveland Clinic reports that muscle spasms are a top symptom of neck muscle injuries.
- Difficulty sleeping/insomnia: Neck injuries can make it very difficult to sleep. Insomnia following a rear-end car crash can be due to pain or post-traumatic stress disorder. Sleep deprivation hinders the healing of injuries and can make going about daily activities difficult to impossible. If you are not able to rest at night, If you are not able to rest at night, communicate this to your health care provider.
- Brain fog / cognitive fatigue: Brain fog may be downplayed or dismissed, but is a real symptom associated with either a traumatic brain injury or whiplash. Talking to your health care provider about your injury and symptoms is necessary.
- Depression: Depression is a known consequence of whiplash, and can be a symptom. One study of 5,211 participants (who reported no previous symptoms of depression before their car accident) revealed that more than 40% of people developed depression symptoms within six weeks after a whiplash injury. An additional 18% of people developed depression symptoms the following year.
Individuals who have had lower back or neck injuries previously, or are older in age are most vulnerable to bad outcomes from whiplash injuries.
What To Do If You Show Signs Of Whiplash After A Car Accident
You should seek medical attention as soon as possible if you suspect a whiplash injury. It may be tempting to take a "wait and see" approach, but this generally goes against both medical and legal advice. Your medical treatment following an accident is important evidence in your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. If you do not see a doctor following an accident, the at-fault party's insurance provider may dispute the severity or even legitimacy of your claim.
Even though whiplash systems are known to not appear immediately, it can be difficult to pursue a claim if you delay seeking treatment. Your treating physician may refer you to a neurologist or specialist to evaluate your injuries. Even if you are feeling better, make sure you follow through on recommendations.
How To Get Injury Compensation For Whiplash Injuries
If your whiplash injury is the result of a rear-end car accident or truck accident caused by a distracted or negligent driver, you may be able to seek compensation. Damages available in a Georgia personal injury claim for whiplash injuries include medical care costs, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. Although it may be possible to recover money in an insurance claim without a lawyer, an experienced attorney will be able to fight for the full compensation you deserve.
Get a Free Consultation with a Whiplash Lawyer at The Graham Firm
If you experience symptoms of whiplash from rear-end collisions an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer at The Graham Firm can help you protect your legal rights and recover the maximum compensation you can obtain for your neck pain and whiplash injuries. We have recovered millions of dollars for whiplash accident victims and are available seven days a week to take your call. Do not accept any financial compensation for mild or severe whiplash, a spinal fracture, or other trauma to the spine without first speaking with a lawyer about your potential case. Call us at 888-404-PAID or fill out our contact form to arrange your consultation.