Signs of Whiplash After a Car Accident

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A car accident can cause a variety of different injuries. One of the most commonly injured areas of the body is the neck. The gravitational pull exerted on a victim in a car accident can be too much for the tendons and soft tissues of the neck to withstand. This can result in a painful and sometimes debilitating injury known as whiplash.

Signs of Whiplash. Person holding back of neck due to pain.

What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash is the common term used for a soft-tissue neck injury that is often caused by rear-end car accidents. It can refer to a range of neck or vertebrae injuries that cause neck pain, stiffness and other complications. Whiplash often involves the muscles, tendons, ligaments, discs and nerves in the neck. The symptoms of whiplash can last several weeks or longer, in some cases.

Whiplash specifically refers to soft-tissue injuries caused by the back-and-forth “whipping” motion of the head and neck in a rear-end collision, when the front of one vehicle collides with the rear of another. Depending on the speed and severity of a rear-end collision, a victim can suffer significant neck and back injuries. However, even a low-impact accident can cause whiplash.

The signs of whiplash may not be immediately apparent to a car accident survivor, especially when adrenaline from the crash is still coursing through the victim’s veins and masking pain. This is why it is important to visit a hospital right away after a car crash for x-rays, imaging scans and other tools that can search for injuries before you notice symptoms.

Common Symptoms of Whiplash

Oftentimes, one of the first signs of whiplash is a car accident victim who cannot turn his or her head from side to side. This can occur when the ligaments or tendons of the neck are strained or sprained. In some cases, the force of the collision can jolt the victim’s back out of alignment, causing neck immobility and pain. The victim may also notice other signs. If left untreated, the signs and symptoms of whiplash can continue to worsen and cause further neck instability.

Each case is unique, but many patients complain of the following symptoms with whiplash:

  • Neck pain and tenderness
  • Stiffness or immobility
  • Pain when attempting to move the neck
  • Lost range of motion in the neck
  • Headaches, typically radiating from the base of the skull
  • Pain or tenderness in the upper back, shoulders or arms
  • Lower back pain
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Pain when chewing, swallowing or yawning
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Depression or behavioral changes
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Problems with memory
  • Other cognitive problems

A victim of whiplash may notice one, multiple or all of these symptoms. If you notice any pain or unusual sensations in your neck or upper back region after a car accident, go to a doctor for a possible whiplash diagnosis. Even if you feel fine after a car accident, explain the mechanics of the crash to your doctor so that he or she knows which hidden or delayed injuries to look for. In a rear-end collision, for example, a doctor will know that your head and neck were likely jerked backward and forward and may have injuries to the muscles and tendons.

Collecting Compensation for a Whiplash Injury in Nebraska

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with a whiplash injury after a car accident in Nebraska, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Nebraska is a fault state, meaning the car insurance company of the other driver may have to pay for your medical bills, lost wages and other damages. Contact a car accident lawyer in Omaha to discuss your legal rights and options for recovering compensation for whiplash today.