It is human nature to try to organize concepts to better understand them. For example, there are nearly infinite possible ways in which people could get hurt in a car crash, and people often rank those potential injuries on a broad spectrum. At the low-impact end, people often include minor contusions and soft tissue injuries. Death and spinal cord injuries would likely be on the other end of the spectrum.
Whiplash is a common soft tissue injury with a strong association with motor vehicle collisions. Despite how dismissive people may be about whiplash, because there are other potential injuries that victims can suffer that are unquestionably more severe, it can often be a debilitating and expensive medical issue.
What exactly is whiplash?
Whiplash is an injury to the neck and possibly also to the shoulders and upper back caused by rapid motions during a car crash. Whiplash is particularly common in rear-end incidents where the vehicle struck was already stopped or moving very slowly. The motion causes tension and inflammation to the musculature and connective tissue in the neck, which then results in severe pain, reduced range of motion and reduced strength. People may not be able to turn their heads or lift their arms when they have whiplash.
Whiplash can be a very serious issue
Many people with whiplash won’t notice any symptoms after the crash occurs because it takes a while for the body to react to the initial injury. It may only be the next morning when they wake up with severe pain and a throbbing headache that they realize there is something wrong. Some people will improve with rest and treatments after a few weeks. Others may have symptoms that last for months.
Whiplash can prevent someone from working and could result in thousands of dollars in medical expenses. Physical therapy, prescription medication for pain and muscle relaxation and other forms of care could add up to tens of thousands of dollars, particularly in severe cases. People may also have lost wages to consider, as they may need to take an extended leave of absence until their symptoms subside. More serious cases of whiplash may actually produce medical costs and lost wages that go far beyond what insurance will pay, leaving someone in need of additional financial support.
Pursuing a personal injury lawsuit may be a necessary step for those struggling with the financial consequences of a recent car crash and the whiplash it caused. If another’s negligence or intentional actions caused the crash in question, victims may be entitled to significant compensation for their whiplash treatment and other losses.