What is Whiplash After a Car Accident?

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In 2018, there were 128,420 accidents on Pennsylvania’s roads and 1,190 fatalities. While some accidents may not cause damage to your vehicle or physical injury, many collisions can cause extensive and lasting injuries that can affect you for the rest of your life.

Injuries sustained in accidents can vary greatly, but even minor accidents can lead to serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury. But one common injury is whiplash with more than 2 million Americans experiencing this condition annually.

What is the Medical Definition of Whiplash ?

The term whiplash is used to describe a number of injuries to your neck, most often caused by a car accident though it does occur after other types of accidents, including slip and fall injuries. When discussing whiplash, medical professionals will likely use one of the following terms:

  • CAD (Cervical acceleration-deceleration) is used to describe the actual mechanics of how the injury occurs.
  • WAD (whiplash associated disorders) describes the actual effects of the injury and the symptoms the patient presents.

If asked to describe how a whiplash injury happens, a medical professional may describe it as:

“A hyperextension and flexion injury to the neck…The victim may be first pushed or accelerated forward, pushing the body forward, but the head remains behind momentarily… and some muscles and ligaments in and around the spine may be stretched or torn.”

What are the Symptoms of Whiplash ?

Symptoms of whiplash usually show within the first 24 hours, but in some cases, they may not manifest for several days. Even when you believe you are uninjured after a car accident, you should always be examined by a doctor. Not only will they spot possible whiplash symptoms, but it also creates a paper trail for any court or insurance claim that comes later.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Pain or stiffness in your neck which will worsen if you try to move or rotate your neck.
  • Restricted movement in your neck.
  • Headaches, particularly with an origin at the back of your neck or base of your skull.
  • Numbness or tingling feelings in your arms.
  • Frequent feeling of fatigue.
  • Dizziness or loss of balance.
  • Tenderness at the back of neck, shoulders, and arms.

Secondary symptoms can include:

  • Blurred vision.
  • Tinnitus.
  • Disturbed sleep patterns.
  • Mood swings.
  • Concentration and memory problems.
  • Depression and low moods.

Whiplash injuries can range from minor to serious, but as your injury may not be diagnosed for days – or even weeks – the problem could worsen. Though only the most severe cases have any long-term effects, it can still take weeks to recover fully. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke state that most sufferers fully recover within three months.

Why Should I Speak to a Car Accident Lawyer ?

Pennsylvania auto accident laws can be complicated to navigate, and you may not be in a position to fill out the numerous insurance form or collect the documentation necessary to file a claim after your accident.

Engaging a competent Philadelphia back injury or car accident lawyer can make any dealings with insurance companies a far smoother and quicker process. They can also identify if there is any legitimacy to filing a claim against a liable party to compensate you for your injuries.

How Do I Get Help ?

The Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky has vast experience in all types of personal injury cases and has successfully represented clients in whiplash injury cases on many occasions. Call us today at (215) 735-4800 to schedule your free consultation. Our law firm works on a contingency basis and never charges a fee unless we win your case.