You’re stopped at a light when, out of nowhere, the car behind you crashes into your back bumper. Your head snaps forward and back, slamming into the headrest. Twenty-four hours later, your neck is stiff, moving is painful, and you have a severe headache. You might not know it, but you’ve sustained a Cervical Acceleration-Deceleration (CAD) injury — also known as whiplash.
In this blog, the Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys team will review the basics of whiplash injuries and offer solutions for victims of whiplash to protect themselves after a crash.
How Whiplash Injuries Occur
While any quick acceleration-deceleration can cause damage to the soft tissue in the neck, most cases occur when someone has been rear-ended in a car crash. When you’re rear-ended, the acceleration pushes your body forward, forcing your neck into an unnatural and unstable position before it slams back into the headrest. Your head and neck then snap forward as the vehicle quickly decelerates.
These forces cause most of the damage. As your neck overextends, this puts stress on its discs, joints, muscles, and tendons. The hyperextension can cause a range of injuries — including torn or herniated discs, pinched nerves, and torn muscles or ligaments. Even the strain of moving in such an unnatural forward-and-back way is enough to cause lasting pain and stiffness.
Despite being viewed by many as a commonplace injury, whiplash can have serious long-term effects. Most people recover in about three months, but sometimes the recovery period is longer. In fact, according to the National Institute of Health, crash victims who experience whiplash have a poorer quality of life five years after the crash. Whiplash and concussion injuries commonly occur at the same time, making your symptoms and recovery more challenging.
Common Whiplash Symptoms
No two whiplash injuries are the same; symptoms vary depending on the person and severity of the crash. You could have whiplash if your symptoms include:
- Neck pain and stiffness: Neck pain after a crash can affect the ligaments, tendons, bones, and soft tissue in the neck. Pain and stiffness can also cause a decreased range of motion.
- Headache: Inflammation and damaged muscles and nerves can cause headaches. These symptoms are often aggravated if victims also have a concussion.
- Shoulder, back, or arm Pain: Nerve and muscle damage can cause radiating pain into the shoulders, back, and arms.
- Nerve damage: Because so many nerves are housed in the neck, any damage or misalignment can cause pain, tingling, numbness, or other uncomfortable sensations.
- Dizziness: Neck instability or a concussion can cause persistent dizziness after a crash.
- Blurred vision: Blurry vision or other visual challenges could be a result of nerve damage in the neck or a concussion.
- Mood changes: Irritability, anxiety, and depression are common after a whiplash injury, especially if the victim is also experiencing PTSD or other emotional challenges.
These symptoms can make it challenging to work, carry out daily activities, and even sleep. When an injury caused by an accident that wasn’t your fault is keeping you from living your life the way you’d like to, you deserve justice.
RELATED ARTICLE: Head Injuries: What Every Accident Victim Needs to Know
Getting Justice for Whiplash Injuries and How a Lawyer Can Help
Despite the devastating nature of whiplash injuries, it can be challenging for victims to get the justice they deserve after a crash.
Bias Against Whiplash Injuries
Whiplash has a reputation for being a fairly inconsequential injury, which keeps victims from getting the necessary time off, settlements, and even treatment they need to ensure a proper recovery.
Whiplash Affects Soft Tissue
Whiplash injuries are usually limited to soft tissue in the neck. These injuries won’t show up on x-rays, making it even more complicated to obtain evidence.
Effective Whiplash Treatment Is Looked Down Upon
Additional stigma surrounding whiplash can make it difficult for victims to get the compensation they need after a crash. Time and again, we find that some of the most effective treatment options include physical therapy or chiropractic care. Some victims struggle to have their claims taken seriously because their injuries aren’t “bad enough” to necessitate surgery or other aggressive treatments.
How an Experienced Attorney Can Help
No one should struggle to get the help they need after a crash. If a whiplash injury is keeping you from working, taking care of your family, or enjoying life, there’s no shame in reaching out for help. With the assistance of a skilled and experienced car crash lawyer, you can recover the financial compensation you deserve to get your health and your life back on track.
An experienced car crash attorney can help you recover compensation to cover:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages from missing work
- Medical bills and expenses
- The cost of long-term treatment
- The repair of damaged property
- And more, depending on your case
Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys: Fighting for Whiplash Victims in Alabama and Across the Gulf Coast
If being rear-ended has left you with a painful whiplash injury, you don’t have to suffer alone. At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we’re proud to represent victims just like you who need help getting the justice they deserve after a crash.
If you would like to speak with one of our experienced, empathetic attorneys today, please reach out to us by calling (251) 888-8888 or completing this brief form. We’ll meet with you individually, listen to your story, and offer sound legal advice about what to do next. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Charnay, P., Chossegros, L., Hours, M., Tardy, & H., Tournier, C. (2016, January 5). Five years after the accident, whiplash casualties still have porer quality of life in the physical domain than other mildly injured casualties: analysis of the ESPARR cohort. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4702400/
Johnson, S. (2017, April 11). Whiplash. Healthline. Retrieved from
Meyler, Z. (2017, April 4). Whiplash symptoms and associated disorders. SPINE-health. Retrieved from https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/neck-pain/whiplash-symptoms-and-associated-disorders
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.