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Whiplash 101: Frequently Asked Questions about Car Accidents

Getting into a car accident is scary, but it can be even more traumatizing when you deal with chronic pain from the incident. Although there are many injuries possible following an accident, whiplash is a common occurrence regardless of how serious the accident may seem.

Common Injuries After Car Accidents

The severity of the injuries in a car accident depends on several factors. Speed, the type of vehicles involved, the age of the passenger, the location of impact, and more contribute to how serious the injuries from an auto accident are. Still, these are some of the more common injuries.

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Back injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Fractures or broken bones
  • Lacerations

Except for a traumatic brain injury, these conditions are typically easily visible and treated at the auto accident scene. However, whiplash is one of the more common injuries of a car accident; both are left unaddressed and untreated because it doesn’t always show up immediately.

Whiplash and Car Accidents: Answering Your Questions

As an injury related to a car accident, whiplash can be included in your personal injury claim. An experienced car accident attorney knows how to support your injury claim with the insurance company and before the court, but here’s what you may want to know about this condition.

What Kind of Car Accident Causes Whiplash?

The forceful jerking of the head typically occurs with rear-end collisions. You could experience whiplash even if your car doesn’t show any signs of damage. A vehicle can typically handle an accident with speeds between eight and 12 miles per hour without damage. While the car may have protection, the body is different. Despite being at low speeds, under 12 miles per hour, about 60% of injuries occur during these car accidents. Around 18% of soft tissue injuries occur when the impact of the accidents happens at speeds lower than six miles per hour.

What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash gets its name from the motion that causes the injury, as it is a sudden and forceful motion that jerks the head backward and then releases it forward. This motion is similar to cracking a whip. This is a soft tissue injury, sometimes called a neck sprain or strain.

Does Whiplash Affect Other Areas of the Body?

Although it’s a neck injury, other areas of the body can be affected by whiplash. The entire motion could cause injury to the disks between the bones and the bones in the spine, as well as the muscles, ligaments, tissues, and nerves in the neck and upper body. The severity of the car accident impact can expand the impact of a whiplash injury beyond the neck. Your pain and suffering from an accident should be included in your personal injury claim, as you are entitled to fair compensation for the ordeal.

Who Does Whiplash Affect the Most?

In addition to the factors involving the accident impacting the whiplash’s severity, a few personal factors can make a difference. Age is one factor, as the aging process causes you to lose strength and flexibility in your neck. This can make it harder for your neck to handle the strain from the accident. Gender is another factor, with women typically struggling with whiplash more than men. This is usually the case because women have smaller neck bones and less neck muscle strength when compared to men.

What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?

Since the injury can affect more than just the neck muscles, several symptoms are associated with whiplash. These can include:

  • Neck pain
  • Upper back pain
  • Sleep disturbances and fatigue
  • Migraines
  • Impaired concentration

In addition to these physical concerns, the trauma from the car accident and dealing with personal injury can lead to mental health concerns. The medical bills you face following a whiplash injury can make the situation more complex, whether physical or mental health concerns. You can use your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company to help address your medical expenses.

Paying for Whiplash and Other Medical Expenses

When you find yourself in an auto accident, it’s crucial that you don’t leave the accident scene without information from the other driver’s insurance company. Most states require drivers to carry a specified amount of liability insurance, though some may also require personal injury protection. Insurance addresses the expenses related to an accident. If you aren’t at fault for the accident, you will typically use the auto insurance of the other driver to make your injury claim.

Whiplash as a Part of Personal Injury Claims

Motor vehicle accidents often lead to personal injuries, and the law establishes your rights to fair and just compensation when you aren’t the at-fault party. Whiplash can be included in your claim even if you have more severe injuries. Working with a law firm specializing in accidents and personal injury cases can help you develop a plan to get the financial help you deserve.

Treating Your Injuries

Always seek medical attention for your injuries. With whiplash, you may not show symptoms until several hours after the incident. It’s essential to seek medical care if you suspect a bodily injury, even if the signs aren’t noticeable or significant.

Most insurance companies will require formal documentation of your injuries. Medical records from your physician, emergency room personnel, or a treating facility can serve as proof. Still, your law firm may want letters from physicians, treatment plans, limitation notes, and more to highlight the specific nature of your injury, inability to work, or recovery process. Make sure your medical records list the cause of the injuries as a car accident to prevent pushback from other drivers’ insurance.

Filing a Claim

When you are injured in an automobile accident, there are several things you will need to do if you want your injuries covered by an insurance company. Before you ever leave the scene of the accident, make sure you have a police report, the information for the other driver, contact information for any witnesses, and pictures of the scene. If your injuries leave you unable to gather this information, notify your insurance company and get a copy of the police report to submit as evidence.

Seeking Compensation

Most insurance carriers include bodily injury and property damage in their basic liability policies, though the limits on this coverage could vary. When an injury attorney gets involved, your claim will likely seek compensation for your medical expenses, any eligible property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering from the incident. The case will establish the other driver’s fault for how the accident occurred and seek damages as a result. Don’t turn your information over to the insurance adjuster for the other party. Limit your interactions to the attorney, as they know how to handle auto accident claims and will get you the best settlement possible.

Guidance Through a Car Accident or Personal Injury

If you’ve been in a car accident and suffer from whiplash or another injury, compensation may be available. Contact 1-800-Ask-Gary for advice on hiring a lawyer for your claim or finding a doctor to handle your injuries.