Whiplash is a hidden, sometimes delayed neck injury that occurs frequently in rear-end car crashes. Whiplash occurs when the head is jostled back and forth suddenly, placing a strain on the neck. What is dangerous about whiplash as a car accident injury is that it may take several hours or even days before symptoms develop. By the time the injury becomes apparent, car crash victims suffering from whiplash may have already told an insurance company that they did not experience an injury in the collision. Insurance companies may use this as an excuse to deny an injury claim.
Why could the onset of whiplash symptoms be delayed? For a few reasons. The main reason is adrenaline rush. Adrenaline is a hormone that is released in a stressful situation, triggering what is sometimes called the “fight-or-flight” response. Adrenaline will reduce the body’s ability to feel pain, for the purpose of allowing it to keep fighting or fleeing whatever is causing the stress. Car crashes may only last seconds, but the effects of adrenaline can last for hours, leaving victims in a state of shock and unable to notice some injuries, especially invisible soft tissue injuries. Symptoms of whiplash can include neck pain, stiffness, reduced range of motion, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and difficulty sleeping.
Whiplash is the result of car crash physics. Newton’s first law of motion, sometimes called the law of inertia, explains the phenomenon well. An object at rest will stay at rest and an object in motion will stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless an outside force acts upon the object. In a car crash, your car (and by extension, you) is the object and the outside force is the car rear-ending you. A sudden jolt, even at low speeds, will move your entire body forward quickly. If you are wearing your seat belt, your body is being restrained. Your neck, however, is not. This causes your neck to snap back and forth in a way it is not meant to, causing potential damage to muscles, ligaments, discs, and vertebrae. The larger the force, the greater potential for injury. To be clear though, if you were not wearing a seat belt, you might suffer a milder whiplash injury but are likely to suffer overall greater injury when your head and body slam into your steering wheel. Always wear a seat belt when you are traveling in a vehicle.
If you think you have suffered whiplash after a rear-end collision, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible to receive a proper diagnosis and begin treatment. The personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth can help you find a doctor who will examine and treat your whiplash with no out-of-pocket costs. Our team of car accident professionals can help you pursue an injury claim, even if you prematurely told an insurance company that you were not injured. Time, however, is of the essence. The longer you wait to contact an attorney and begin medical treatment for whiplash, the less likely it becomes that the insurance company will accept your claim. Speak with an auto accident expert today – call 888-517-9888 to receive a free injury consultation!