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Neck Pain After a Car Accident – Is It Whiplash?

One of the leading causes of neck injuries in the US is motor vehicle collisions. Every year, there are more than 800,000 reported cases of auto accidents involving neck injuries. Each case is unique, varying in the type and severity of the injury. And while the different possibilities of neck injury are numerous and varied after a car accident, whiplash is by far the most common type. Whiplash happens when structures in your neck get damaged due to sudden, forceful back-and-forth movement.

Sometimes it is difficult to tell if neck pain after a car accident is merely a mild injury or a symptom of something more serious. Neck injury symptoms can happen immediately after a crash or be delayed. Furthermore, symptoms can be anything from pain signals that shoot down your arm or lower back to soreness in and around the neck. If left untreated, the symptoms can result in chronic or long-term neck pain. This could eventually lead to ongoing, expensive medical bills that will only add to your frustration after you’ve suffered injuries.

If you or someone you love is suffering neck pain after a car accident, be sure to visit a medical professional as soon as possible. Immediate medical intervention is vital in diagnosing the injury correctly and the only way to know if you have whiplash or not. Once you receive the necessary and proper medical attention for your injury, you can focus on recovering. A Florida personal injury attorney can help you fight for the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering. You should not have to face the challenges of healing from a neck injury alone after a car accident.

How Common Is Neck Pain After a Car Accident?

Since your neck is not well protected during a crash, neck pain is one of the most common complaints after a car accident. Your seatbelt could keep your body close to the seat while your neck is thrust forward with the collision impact. It doesn’t take much force or even excessive speeds for an injury to occur. Low impact collisions at merely ten mph can cause injuries. In addition, certain risk factors make people more susceptible to whiplash after an accident. Research shows that risk factors for the increased possibility of whiplash include:

  • Getting hit from behind (rear-end collision)
  • Having a pre-existing neck condition or injury
  • Getting hit while your car is at a stop
  • Not being at fault in the accident
  • Having tight neck muscles when the accident occurred (can be caused by a sedentary lifestyle or poor posture)

While neck pain after a car accident is common, it should not be ignored or taken lightly.

What Happens to the Neck During Collisions?

The neck region of your spinal column or backbone is known as your cervical spine. The cervical spine area comprises small bones, or vertebrae, and shock-absorbing discs between each bone. These structures protect your spinal cord, an extensive network of nerves that connects the brain to the rest of the body.

The impact of a collision can be overwhelming to our delicate vertebrae, causing injury, possibly to several cervical structures. In addition, the trauma of an accident can damage soft tissues, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and even connective tissues that attach the neck to the shoulder.

Whiplash Injury

The neck pain that occurs due to a car accident is known as whiplash. Whiplash occurs from the rapid force that jerks the sensitive neck muscles back and forth. It’s not just limited to neck muscles but can affect the entire cervical spine. If you recall from earlier, the cervical spine entails joints, nerves, intervertebral discs, and ligaments. All parts of the cervical spine are susceptible to injury with whiplash. The severity of the injury will depend on several factors like:

  • The position you were sitting in
  • The angle of your face at the time of the collision
  • The force of the impact from the collision

Whiplash injuries can feel similar to a common neck sprain or strain, but the difference is that whiplash lasts longer due to the abrupt jolting that causes it. This type of pain should never be ignored, as it can affect your entire nervous system since the neck is connected to the spinal cord. The result of untreated neck injury can range from pain and exhaustion to long-term physical disabilities and chronic pain.

Common symptoms of whiplash, including headache and dizziness, often have a delayed onset. Also be mindful that stomach pain is one of the unassuming symptoms of whiplash that many people are unaware of. The effects of a whiplash injury can be long-lasting and need to be assessed by a medical professional. If you have neck pain or soreness after a car accident, seek medical attention immediately.

Symptoms of Whiplash

Here are some common symptoms of whiplash to beware of after you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle collision:

  • Stiff neck muscles that feel tender or painful upon touch
  • A persistent headache that may even affect your vision
  • Memory disturbances
  • Dizziness
  • Inability to concentrate or focus for extended periods
  • Pain or stiffness in the back and other extremities
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing food, or discomfort in the throat while eating
  • A constant ringing sound in the ear
  • Fever
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Inability to lift objects with hands, especially any lifting that bears weight on the back
  • Muscle spasms
  • Decreased range of motion

What to Do if You Think You Have Whiplash

After you receive the proper medical care you need, the next step is to hire a personal injury attorney. A personal injury claim can be the most efficient means of receiving compensation for damages and losses you’ve incurred. For example, your neck injury may have caused you psychological distress on top of the physical pain. An experienced Florida car accident attorney can help you seek retribution for your pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. Your attorney will also help you with the claims process you need to go through with your insurance company to ensure you get fair compensation.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

At Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., we take the time to listen to your story to help get the outcome you want.

We will prioritize getting to know you and thoroughly understanding your case when you contact us. We will be in your corner and fight to get you justice from the first call. We understand how difficult and emotionally turbulent it can be to navigate complex legal situations. We will do our best to provide you with all the information and resources you need to make your life easier. From start to finish, we will promptly answer all your questions and provide the best legal advice so that you can make informed decisions about your future.

We pride ourselves on being empathetic, compassionate, and caring. This is just one of the reasons we are one of Florida’s top-rated personal injury attorneys – providing customized legal advice tailored to suit your individual needs.

We build trust through open, timely communication and straightforward legal advice. We are an award-winning, established personal injury law firm, fighting for our clients for over 60 years, and have recovered more than $145 million in awards. Contact us today, and we will fight to get the results you deserve.

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