Whiplash & Auto Accidents – The Long-term Effects

Many people suffer from whiplash injury after a car accident, and this injury can be both mild or severe. A severe whiplash injury, and failure to properly diagnose or treat it, can result in serious, long-term injuries and consequences such as disability and significant medical costs. Whiplash is often a slow onset, gradually referring pain to multiple regions of the body. As it progresses, this seemingly small injury can go on to have long-term and sometime, permanent effects.

What is whiplash and when does it happen?

Whiplash is a soft tissue neck injury that is caused by a severe jerk to the head, which often occurs during rear-end car accidents. However it can also happen during many other incidents that involve a sudden movement of the head and neck.

The most common causes of whiplash are:

  • Car and cycling accidents,
  • Physical abuse,
  • Contact sports such as football, boxing, or karate,
  • Amusement park rides,
  • Horseback riding,
  • Falls where the head is violently jerked backwards, and
  • Blows to the head with a heavy item.

Whiplash occurs when your head is jolted forward and then snaps back, or severely rotates to the side. The sudden movement can damage the soft tendons, ligaments, and muscles in your neck as a result of being stretched beyond their typical range of motion. Even the discs between your neck and bones can be torn from whiplash, causing extreme pain as well as other symptoms to some people.

1998 study on whiplash showed that injuries can be sustained at low speeds, even as slow as 4 miles per hour.

The long-term effects of whiplash

The symptoms of whiplash after a car accident can last for days, weeks, months, or even years, depending on the severity of the impact and injury sustained to your neck or upper back. The symptoms of chronic whiplash may never disappear completely. These can include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the neck or shoulders,
  • Upper or lower back pain,
  • Jaw pain,
  • Severe headaches,
  • Dizziness,
  • Blurred vision,
  • Constant weariness,
  • Concentration and memory problems,
  • Ringing in the ears,
  • Difficulty sleeping,
  • Irritability,
  • Travel anxiety, and
  • Numbness or weakness in the arms or legs.

A severe whiplash injury can also lead to osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis in the long term, if there is a true injury to the spine such as a fracture. That is why it’s always important to seek medical treatment immediately after an accident, as sometimes there will be a delay before effects show.

Making a compensation claim for whiplash injuries

If you wish to make a compensation claim for your whiplash injury, you should first visit your general practitioner and have them make a record of the symptoms. Whiplash symptoms can be difficult to document medically by scans or x-rays, which can prevent you from obtaining fair compensation, and for that reason it’s highly recommended that you make a claim with a lawyer.

The Russell Law Firm represents injured clients involved in car wrecks throughout the State of Louisiana, including the parishes of East Baton Rouge Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish, Plaquemines Parish, Livingston Parish, Ascension Parish, Jefferson Parish, Orleans Parish, St. Charles Parish, Terrebonne Parish, Assumption Parish, Lafayette Parish, Lafourche Parish, Lafayette Parish, St. Landry Parish, Evangeline Parish; and the cities of Baton Rouge, Livingston, Denham Springs, Walker, Gonzales, Donaldsonville, Port Allen, Brusly, Addis, Lafayette, Napoleonville,    Kenner, Harvey, Marrero, Estelle, Gretna, Metairie, New Orleans, Terrytown, Westwego, Ville Platte, Eunice, Opelousas, Thibodaux, Houma, Belle Chasse, and Hahnville.

Our firm is experienced and highly skilled in handling car wreck claims. If you or someone you know has been involved in a car wreck  and suffers with whiplash injury in Baton Rouge or anywhere else in Louisiana, make the Right Call, Right Now and contact Louisiana car accident attorneys at the Russell Law Firm today at 225-307-0088. We will take a hands-on, aggressive approach towards getting you compensated for your losses.

**Information furnished herein is only general and not a substitute for personalized legal advice.

By:      Danny Russell, Baton Rouge area personal injury attorney, licensed in Louisiana.

****THE PHOTOGRAPH ABOVE IS NOT A DEPICTION OF ANY ACTUAL EVENT OR SCENE, BUT MERELY A DRAMATIZATION.