What Is Whiplash and How Do You Know If You Have It?

Whiplash. What is it? It’s a term you might have come across in the past, but could it be affecting you? Learning what whiplash is and how it presents can help you identify whether or not you have it.

Put simply, whiplash is a soft tissue injury in the neck. It often happens from an impact, like a rear-end car accident. That being said, other incidents, like sporting accidents or falls, can also cause whiplash. When you sustain whiplash from a car accident, you may notice stiffness or soreness in the neck or upper areas of your body in the coming days or weeks. If you do, you should visit a doctor immediately. If a negligent driver caused your whiplash, you can hire a lawyer and pursue litigation to recover compensatory damages.

The Carrion Law Firm represents all types of car accident victims, including those who have sustained whiplash. Our team can represent your interests and help you file a lawsuit against the responsible party. To schedule a free case evaluation, call the NYC car accident attorneys at The Carrion Law Firm today at (718) 841-0083.

What Is Whiplash?

You’ve probably heard of whiplash before but might now know what it actually means. Whiplash is a type of injury you can sustain when the head and neck rapidly move back and forth, usually caused by an outside force. Whiplash injuries can range from mild to severe, depending on impact and cause. Understanding what whiplash is can help you identify it for yourself.

Basically, whiplash is a soft tissue injury to the neck. It can happen when your neck and head jerk back and forth very quickly, resulting in damage to the soft tissue in the area. Nodding fast won’t cause whiplash. Usually, an outside force, like an impact, will cause your head and neck to move backward and forward too quickly. The soft tissue in your neck is relatively delicate, so such movements can cause damage.

Because whiplash is considered a soft tissue injury, it may go unnoticed at first. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. If you believe you have whiplash, it’s important to see a doctor. Such damage can worsen the longer it goes untreated, causing severe issues to the neck and possibly further down your spine.

What Are Common Ways to Get Whiplash?

Whiplash doesn’t just happen but is caused by impact and force. Learning about the common ways people get whiplash can help you figure out whether you have it. So, what are some things that tend to cause whiplash?

Generally, rear-end car accidents are some of the most common causes of whiplash. That’s because the force of impact to the back of your car surges your body forward, but not necessarily your head. Your head can hit the headrest hard and spring forward too quickly when this happens. This rapid back and forth motion caused by force is likely to result in whiplash. Wearing your seatbelt while driving can lower the risk of severe whiplash from rear-end collisions, as it will keep your body close to the seat, lessening the room for total movement in an accident.

Other incidents, like falls, sporting accidents, or physical assaults, can also result in whiplash. While force is often a factor in sustaining whiplash, it doesn’t have to be extreme. In fact, whiplash can occur in car accidents at speeds as low as ten miles per hour.

Although whiplash can happen to anyone in certain circumstances, seniors are more at risk of sustaining severe cases of whiplash or minor cases from lesser causes. That being said, any driver on the road is at risk of whiplash in the event of a rear-end accident.

How Do You Know If You Have Whiplash?

Now that you know more about whiplash, it’s time to go a bit deeper. How can you identify it? If you’ve been in a car accident and suspect you have whiplash, how can you know for sure? Learning about whiplash’s common signs and symptoms can help you figure that out.

At first, whiplash can present itself as general soreness. After a car accident of any kind, victims often expect to feel a bit stiff or sore for a few days. However, you may actually have whiplash, depending on where your pain is located. The following are examples of common signs of whiplash:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Pain in the neck
  • Pain in the upper back
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Muscle spasms

Generally, any pain or stiffness you feel in the upper areas of your body, like your shoulders or neck, may be from whiplash. Remember, whiplash is a soft tissue injury located in the neck, so discomfort will likely concentrate in that area. You may also experience dizziness or headaches from whiplash. When these signs are all added up, you may begin to believe you have whiplash. If you do, it’s important to seek medical attention quickly.

When Do Signs of Whiplash Appear?

Often after a car accident or another incident resulting in whiplash, victims may notice signs within a day or two. Depending on the initial severity of the damage, it may take weeks for you to recognize signs of whiplash.

It’s common for signs of whiplash to appear within 24 hours of sustaining damage. That being said, immediately after a car accident, victims may be too shaken up to notice any strange pain or discomfort. Anxiety and stress can cause you to ignore signs of whiplash for days or weeks after an accident.

Additionally, because whiplash is considered a soft tissue injury, the damage may not affect you at first. As it worsens over time, you may begin to notice signs of whiplash. However, that could be long after a car accident has occurred. Regardless of when signs of whiplash appear after a collision or incident, visit a doctor and seek treatment.

Do You Need Medical Treatment for Whiplash?

Although whiplash may seem like a minor injury at first, that’s not always the case. Some instances of whiplash can be immediately severe or worsen over time. After a car accident, it’s important to get medical attention. If you have whiplash, you may need treatment.

Whiplash does require medical treatment and professional advice to promote healing. If you visit the hospital immediately after sustaining your injuries, you may only need to take pain medication and engage in frequent exercise. However, depending on the severity of your injuries, you may require more intense treatment. This could include physical therapy or expensive medications.

Because treatment for whiplash can be costly, it’s helpful to hire a skilled Long Island car accident attorney. A lawyer, like those at The Carrion Law Firm, can help you understand your options if you’ve sustained whiplash from a car accident. You shouldn’t have to pay for treatment for whiplash caused by a negligent driver.

Often, the best thing you can do to heal from whiplash is to keep moving. Resting after sustaining soft tissue damage to the neck, or ignoring it, can allow damage to worsen over time. Targeted exercises are crucial when treating whiplash injuries.

What Happens When Whiplash Worsens?

While whiplash may seem minor at first, it can worsen when left untreated. Over time, your quality of life and mobility can decrease. Learning what happens when whiplash is ignored or unnoticed can help you understand why you should seek treatment for your injuries.

When whiplash worsens, so can your quality of life. Soft tissue injuries to the neck that go untreated or are severe can result in mobility loss in the neck and head. The following are examples of some common long-term effects of whiplash:

  • Chronic headaches
  • Vertigo
  • Spine issues
  • Mobility issues
  • Chronic pain

Whiplash from a car accident caused by a negligent driver can have long-term effects on your life, past the initial bills for medical treatment. Because of this, victims should consult with a skilled Queens car accident attorney, like those at The Carrion Law Firm, to learn more about how to recover compensatory damages. Long-term effects of whiplash can affect you for the rest of your life, causing chronic pain and discomfort. Luckily for car accident victims with whiplash, they can pursue litigation against a negligent driver.

A reminder: if you notice these long-term symptoms of whiplash, don’t hesitate to visit a doctor. Getting the proper treatment is essential to reduce these problems and hopefully improve your quality of life.

Can You File a Lawsuit for Whiplash?

When we think of filing a lawsuit after a car accident, we often think about obviously serious injuries. Because of that, whiplash may not immediately come to mind. However, whiplash is an injury, one that can impact your quality of life in more ways than one. If you’ve been injured in a car accident and have sustained whiplash, you can file a lawsuit against the negligent party.

Car accident victims are entitled to file a lawsuit for compensation for injuries caused by a negligent driver. Suppose your injuries have affected you financially or emotionally. In that case, you can sue the responsible driver with the help of a skilled Staten Island car accident lawyer, such as the ones at The Carrion Law Firm.

Sometimes, it seems unnecessary to file a lawsuit after a minor car accident, like a fender-bender. However, if you’ve been injured, there’s no reason you shouldn’t sue. Recovering from whiplash can be expensive. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may have high medical bills or lost wages. You have the right to file a lawsuit against a negligent driver for compensation after a car accident that caused whiplash.

When Should You File a Lawsuit for Whiplash?

When it comes to injuries like whiplash that require immediate medical care, it’s best to file a lawsuit fast. Car accident lawsuits often have a relatively short statute of limitations, and receiving compensatory damages for your injuries as soon as possible is always beneficial.

If you plan to sue a negligent driver for compensation after an accident where you sustained whiplash, consider doing so quickly. Before you can sue successfully, you should do a few things. The first is to visit a doctor. It’s important to see a doctor immediately after a car accident or as soon as you notice signs of whiplash so a medical professional can assess your injuries. Next, hire an experienced Brooklyn car accident attorney, like those at The Carrion Law Firm, to represent your interests. Acting quickly during this stage is important. It shows that you have urgency and a real need for compensatory damages.

The statute of limitations is another reason to file a lawsuit for whiplash quickly. Depending on the state you live in, you may only have a year or two to sue a negligent party for compensation. Hiring a lawyer can help you file quickly, so you can recover the damages you need to heal from whiplash in a timely fashion.

Types of Damages for Whiplash Injuries in a Lawsuit

In whiplash lawsuits, you can recover two types of damages: economic and non-economic. The former relates to the financial impact of your injuries, and the latter relates to the emotional impact.

Economic Damages

Think of economic damages as the bare minimum you may receive from a whiplash lawsuit. If your lawyer can show that the defendant is at fault for your injuries, you can recover economic damages. Economic damages seek to compensate plaintiffs for all the financial expenses and losses related to whiplash injuries. For example, medical treatments like physical therapy or specific medications are compensated for. Economic damages also refer to any wages a plaintiff may have lost from having whiplash.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are all about the emotional impact injuries like whiplash can have on your life. These damages attempt to compensate victims for seemingly unquantifiable things, like pain and suffering. Showing how whiplash has negatively impacted your life in different ways, not just financially, may result in you recovering non-economic damages in a successful lawsuit against a responsible party.

Call Our Lawyers If You Have Whiplash from a Car Accident

If you’ve sustained whiplash from a car accident caused by a negligent driver, our Sunset Park, Brooklyn car accident lawyers can help. Call the NYC personal injury lawyers at The Carrion Law Firm today for a free case evaluation at (718) 841-0083.