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Whiplash – Auto Accidents

Whiplash – Auto Accidents

Whiplash is a type of neck injury caused by sprain or strain damage. Whiplash, a term coined in 1928 by Dr. Harold Crowe, refers to a hyperextension/hyperflexion injury of the neck which results in a wide range of symptoms. Whiplash most commonly occurs during the initial impact of an auto accident. Upon impact, the head is forced into excessive flexion or extension. Protective reflexes forcefully contract the neck muscles, “whipping” the head back in the opposite direction. The resulting soft tissue injury can cause severe damage to the discs, ligaments, muscles, nerves and joints of the neck structure.

Symptoms of Whiplash Auto Injury

Individuals who suffer whiplash may not feel these symptoms for 24 hours or more following the initial auto injury:
• Neck stiffness and pain
• Headaches and dizziness
• Pain in the shoulder, between shoulder blades, or low back
• Pain or numbness in the arm and/or hand
• Blurred vision or ear ringing
• Memory or concentration difficulties
• Fatigue, irritability and sleep disturbances

If you believe you have been injured by whiplash, do not wait to speak with a knowledgeable auto accident attorney. Auto injury claims are governed by rules, called the statute of limitations. This is a specific time limit within which a claim for damages can be made. The statute of limitations differs among states. Generally, personal injury or wrongful death claims can be filed up to one year from the date of the initial injury. If the claim is not filed within the specified period, the claim will be barred, and it is unlikely it can be refiled.

Diagnosing and Treating Whiplash

Whiplash is most often diagnosed via CT scan or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). No specific whiplash treatment exists. Some years ago, whiplash injuries were treated by immobilizing the neck with a cervical collar. Today, physicians believe gentle movement encourages healing. Over the counter pain relievers, combined with gentle exercises, physical therapy, heat/ice therapy, massage, traction and injections are used to manage symptoms.

What You Need to Know about Whiplash Injury

You may know a whiplash injury can occur from a head-on collision. But you may not know that a “fender bender” carries enough force to cause a life-altering soft tissue injury. Scientists have done numerous studies on the effects of low speed auto accidents that prove a whiplash injury can occur in a mere two-tenths of one second.

How does this happen, even at low speeds? Simple physics. The seat of the car is bolted to the car frame. During an auto accident, the seat moves. When a car is hit from behind, the seat moves forward, but the human body tends to push back. Most passengers weigh more than the seat of the car, forcing the seat to bend backwards as the body pushes to remain upright. When the seat reaches maximum bend, it pushes forward again. This causes the described jerking motion of the head, which leads to whiplash.

Each year, more than one million people suffer whiplash auto injury due to car accidents. More than $ 30 billion is spent to treat whiplash injuries and the long-term, painful health problems that ensue.

Have you or a loved suffered a whiplash auto injury? Please visit the website of The Cochran Firm to find out more about protecting your rights.

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