How can I tell if I have whiplash from a car accident?

Most people believe whiplash only occurs after a rear-end car crash, but it is possible in almost any type of automobile accident. Some of the most common signs of the condition include pain and stiffness in the neck, and headaches that begin within a few days of the crash. If you believe you are suffering the effects of whiplash from a car accident, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible to get a proper diagnosis and begin treatment.

How does whiplash happen in a car accident?

Whiplash occurs when there is a hyperextension or a hyperflexion of the neck, resulting in a strain or sprain of the neck. The extreme forces in a car accident throw the head forward, then backward. This causes the neck to exceed its normal range of motion, and strains the muscles and ligaments around the spinal column. Whiplash injuries usually involve pain and tenderness in soft tissues such as the ligaments, muscles, and nerves and even in the discs between the vertebrae of the cervical spine.

In some cases, what victims believe are whiplash injuries are actually symptoms of a more serious problem with the bones of the neck. This is one reason it is paramount to get medical attention for any signs of a neck injury quickly.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

Many people who develop whiplash after a car crash begin to see symptoms within the first 24 to 48 hours. These symptoms most commonly include:

  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Neck stiffness and a limited range of motion
  • Increasing pain with movement
  • Headaches
  • Tenderness in the shoulders and upper back and arms
  • Tingling and numbness in the arms

More serious symptoms sometimes develop, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Tinnitus
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Limited ability to concentrate
  • Confusion and memory issues
  • Emotional disturbances including depression

In most cases, whiplash is a treatable ailment and sufferers recover within two to three months. Many, however, require several months of pain medication, physical therapy, and other treatments. This can lead to high medical expenses while also limiting their ability to work. Some people also continue to experience ongoing neck and shoulder issues, including chronic pain and discomfort.

It is important to note that the severity of symptoms does not indicate whether you will struggle with ongoing complications from your injuries. Many people who have severe symptoms do well after treatment, and others with seemingly minor symptoms develop chronic neck pain.

What are my legal rights when it comes to a whiplash injury?

If you suffered a serious whiplash injury in a Florida car crash, you may be eligible to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Although, because whiplash is a soft tissue injury, it is sometimes hard to prove the accident caused your symptoms. For this reason, you need an attorney who is well-versed in these challenging cases. Coffey Trial Law can help.

Contact us today at 954-541-3194 to schedule your free case evaluation.