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Whiplash is a neck injury. It occurs when a person’s head suddenly stretches backward and then is snapped forward. The motion is similar to that made by a cracking whip. The victim’s neck muscles and ligaments are pushed beyond their normal range of motion, the Mayo Clinic explains.
The severity of a whiplash injury can vary. Mild whiplash neck trauma may be treated with over-the-counter pain medications. It should clear up in a few weeks. But some people who have suffered whiplash do not get relief. Some whiplash victims develop chronic pain. Whiplash can also cause problems with memory, concentration and sleep. Whiplash can cause soft tissue injuries as well as spinal injuries.
In most cases, whiplash is caused by a rear-end car collision.
When a car is hit from behind, passengers wearing shoulder-strap seatbelts move forward with the car. But as the car lurches forward, the driver’s and passengers’ heads and necks, which are not stabilized by the seatbelt, extend backward as their bodies move forward and then snap back into position. This is whiplash. It injures neck muscles, neck ligaments and spinal discs.
While whiplash is most commonly caused by motor vehicle collisions, any sharp, jerking action applied to the neck and head – including sports injuries, being punched or being shaken – can result in whiplash. Whiplash is a hallmark of the child abuse known as “shaken baby syndrome,” the U.S. National Library of Medicine says.
Symptoms of whiplash may not occur until 24 hours or more after the initial trauma, according to the WebMD website. Whiplash can cause muscle pain and stiffness in the victim’s head (usually at the base of the skull), neck, chest, shoulders and arms.
Common whiplash symptoms include:
The PubMed Health site says whiplash victims should call immediately for emergency medical assistance if:
Whiplash is normally treated with pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). After a few days, the victim should be able to take on light exercise.
It should take two or three months to recover from most whiplash injuries, the Mayo Clinic says. But severe whiplash may cause pain that lasts from several months to a couple of years. Some whiplash patients experience neck pain that persists with little or no relief despite prescription pain relievers and/or muscle relaxers, stronger medication such as lidocaine (Xylocaine) injections and physical therapy and/or the use of assistive devices like cervical collars.
If you have suffered a lasting whiplash injury in a rear-end car accident or any accident that was someone else’s fault, you could be entitled to compensation from the responsible party.
We have a legal duty to our fellow citizens to not inflict harm upon them, either intentionally or through negligence. When another person or company harms you or damages something that belongs to you intentionally or because they were negligent, they may be liable under Florida personal injury law.
Contact Disparti Law Group, P.A., toll free at 866-678-1184 or through our online form for a free, no-obligation initial consultation.