Many of you have probably heard the term “whiplash injury,”
but what you might not know is how serious this type of injury can be.
Whiplash injuries are mostly caused by rear-end collisions. A rear impact
causes the head and neck to be forced into a hyperextended (backward)
position as the seat pushes the person’s torso forward – and
the unrestrained head and neck fall backwards.
This is followed by an opposite movement when the head and neck recover
to their initial position, but this time they are thrown into a hyperflexed
(forward) position. These rapid back and forward movements lead to an
abnormal S-shape in the cervical spine after the rear impact, which is
different from the normal motion. It is thought that this abnormal motion
causes damage to the soft tissues that hold the cervical vertebrae together
(ligaments, facet capsules, muscles).
Proving the Extent of a Whiplash Injury
The extent of whiplash injuries has often been questioned during legal
fights with insurance companies. Until recently, the veracity of complaints
of neck pain and other symptoms associated with whiplash accidents was
commonly viewed as doubtful. However, recent studies have helped clarify
why drivers and passengers who are rear-ended experience more extensive
whiplash injuries than those in other types of crashes. Whiplash is typically
not a life threatening injury, but it can lead to a prolonged period of
There are significant economic expenses related to whiplash that can reach
30 billion dollars a year in the United States, including: medical care,
disability, sick leave, lost productivity, and litigation. After a
car accident, the patient may be taken to the hospital or a doctor’s office to
be examined. It is probable that, despite complaints of pain, x-rays results
might come back normal. If the pain persists for several weeks, doctors
might consider ordering an MRI in order to detect injuries to the soft
tissues of the neck that may not been seen with normal x-rays of the neck.
The most important issue in recovering from a whiplash is understanding
that this is a real injury. Be conscious about the doctor’s recommendations.
Secondly, having an experienced attorney on your side will help overcome
doubts about the veracity of pain complaints when filling a claim against
the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Being able to demonstrate
in court the severity and negative consequences of whiplash accidents
is a task that requires skillful lawyers.
At Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez, we pride ourselves on maintaining an exceptional
legal team with more than 30 years of experience and an extensive list
of settlements and trial victories. If you have been injured in a car
call our office at (813) 774-3341 for a free consultation. We represent victims in slip and fall accidents,
wrongful death cases, premises liability, and several other cases based
on personal injury.