One of the most common neck injuries is whiplash. Whiplash results when there is hyperextension of the neck from being jerked forward followed by hyperflexion, or a backwards movement of the neck. Physical impact, such as in a vehicle accident, can cause serious injuries to the neck and upper torso, such as the upper rhomboids and trapezium. The damage caused by whiplash can also include intervertebral joint and disc damage, damage to the ligaments and cervical spine injury and other orthopedic injuries. In severe car collisions, this type of motion can also cause traumatic and mild traumatic brain injury.
When intervertebral joints and discs are damage during a whiplash injury, the muscles and nerves of the spine will also often become damaged in such a way as to cause future pain and suffering. Some whiplash accidents may permanently damage the tissues around the neck, which can make the whiplash injury victim more susceptible to injury in the future. A civil claim for damages for whiplash injuries will include claims for pain and suffering, lost wages, and past and future medical expenses.Ten Percent of all Whiplash Injuries in Auto Accident Crash Cases Result in Permanent Disability
In around one out of seven whiplash cases, physical and mental symptoms are present more than three years after the date of the accident
Studies by reputable groups such as the Society for Automotive Engineering (SAE) have shown that rear impact car wrecks even at speeds as low as 2.5 miles per hour can cause whiplash. These studies show that vehicles which do not sustain damage in low speed impacts can produce correspondingly higher dynamic loadings on their occupants.
We advise you to ride in an ambulance to a hospital if you have been in a car wreck and experience any symptoms of whiplash. This will allow your neck to be stabilized by a hard or soft collar depending on your condition. You should tell the doctor how the injury occurred, point out the approximate direction of the vehicles involved, or relate to the doctor specifically what the mechanism of your whiplash injury was.
Always tell your doctor how severe your symptoms are. If the doctor asks on a follow up visit how you are doing, don’t say “better” when you are still experiencing pain. It may seem obvious to you that you meant that you have improved but a defense attorney will argue that if you were “better” at that time, then something else must have happened to cause your pain. Instead, just tell the doctor the level and type of pain you are having and leave out vague terms like “ok” and “better”. Obviously, if you are pain free, tell the doctor “I’m pain free”. If your pain comes and goes, tell the doctor so.