Whiplash: What You Need To Know

When accidents occur, injuries often results. One of the most common injuries in car accidents is whiplash. Whiplash is a term applied to a range of neck injuries caused by or related to overextension or distortion of the neck. Whiplash usually occurs in motor vehicle accidents when the vehicle has been hit in the rear. Whiplash is reported to account for nearly two-thirds of all bodily injury claims.


Symptoms reported by those who suffer whiplash include:

• Pain in the neck

• Headache: Pain occuring mostly all over the head with pain points in the forehead, in the back of the head, or behind the eyes.

• Pain to the shoulders

• Sensory disturbance (such as pins and needles feeling) to the arms and legs

Signs and symptoms can appear directly after the accident and injury but often are not felt until days later. The injury is usually confined to the spine. The neck and the middle of the spine are the most common areas of the spine affected by whiplash.

What to Do After an Accident

As soon as you can get a hold of a pen and some paper, take some detailed notes of the accident. Notes should include the period prior to the accident to until after the accident happened. Details such as the place of the accident, witnesses, and exact time of the accident would be necessary. Try to photograph the scene of the accident and the extent of the damage to the vehicles involved, if you have a camera available.

Have a medical examination as soon as possible. This is critical, even if you don’t feel any apparent symptoms of injuries. The more you wait the more chances that your whiplash may have been caused by something other than the accident itself (as the person who caused the accident may argue). Always get a complete medical report of injuries from a doctor which may include the possibility of whiplash injury. Neck injuries can have significant consequences and lead to some serious health problems if left untreated. If you are sent home by the doctor or emergency physician after the accident, be sure to seek immediate medical attention if new symptoms develop or you experience persistent symptoms of whiplash.


It may be necessary for you to prepare a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance claim. It’s important to be well-prepared if you are considering making a personal injury claim for your accident and case of whiplash. Make sure to keep a detailed record of the accident, your injury symptoms, and your medical treatment plus resulting expenses. Hiring an attorney with experience in car accident and personal injury cases provides a level of knowledge that can ensure that proper procedures are followed and all necessary paperwork is obtained. The attorney may recommend further medical examinations by specialists to provide additional documentation that may be needed. The attorney will generally serve as spokesperson and gatekeeper.

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