What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash After an Auto Accident?

Whiplash injuries are some of the most severe and underappreciated side effects of Virginia Beach car accidents. Depending on the injury’s severity, whiplash can cause chronic pain and other health conditions. Worse still, injured drivers and passengers do not always recognize whiplash symptoms until they become unbearable.

At Deering Hedrick, our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers believe information is power. If you know what the symptoms of whiplash are after a car accident, you can seek appropriate treatment and talk to an attorney about taking legal action.

What Is Whiplash?

At the most basic level, whiplash is a neck injury resulting from a sudden and forceful back-and-forth movement, much like the cracking of a whip. This rapid motion can stretch and potentially tear the muscles and tendons in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. Aside from car accidents, common causes of whiplash injuries include sports accidents, physical abuse, or other incidents of physical trauma.

How Do Car Accidents Cause Whiplash?

Car accidents, particularly rear-end collisions, create a perfect storm for whiplash injuries to occur. But how exactly does a simple crash translate into such a complex injury? Let’s break it down.

  • The Initial Impact: When something strikes a car, especially from the rear, the impact can throw everyone inside the vehicle forward. Even with seatbelts on, this sudden jolt affects the neck dramatically.
  • Rapid Movement: Upon impact, the head, being unrestrained, is propelled forward and then quickly snaps back. This motion is unnatural and abrupt for the muscles and ligaments in the neck and can cause them to stretch beyond their usual range.
  • Force of Collision: Even low-speed accidents can generate enough force to cause whiplash. While modern cars are designed to absorb some of the crash force, the energy that is not absorbed can transfer to its occupants. This transfer can create a powerful forward-and-backward motion of the head and neck.
  • Body’s Reaction: After the sudden stretch, muscles in the neck may contract forcefully, creating a recoil effect. This is the body’s instinctive reaction to protect the spine. Unfortunately, this reactive contraction can sometimes exacerbate the injury.

Common Whiplash Signs and Symptoms

According to the Mayo Clinic, common symptoms of whiplash injuries include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Increased pain with neck movement
  • Limited range of motion in the neck
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Pain or tenderness in the shoulder, upper back, or arms
  • Fatigue

Additional symptoms some people experience include:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Blurry vision
  • Challenges with concentration
  • Memory issues
  • Ringing ears (tinnitus)
  • Irritability
  • Depression

Compensation for Whiplash After a Car Crash

If you sustained a whiplash injury after a car accident another driver caused, Virginia law gives you the right to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver. Depending on your injury’s severity and other factors, you could recover compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Damaged personal property

Deadline to File a Whiplash Lawsuit in Virginia

The Code of Virginia allows an injured party to file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the date of injury. Waiting too long to hire an attorney can make it difficult to build a strong case, so talk to a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a crash.

Contact a Virginia Beach Auto Accident Lawyer Now

The Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Deering Hedrick understand the catastrophic toll whiplash injuries can take. We can protect your rights and help you fight for fair compensation after a collision. Call (757) 383-6848 or complete our contact form for a confidential consultation.

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