A Georgia Accident Victim’s Guide to Whiplash

Whiplash is one of the most common and most annoying injuries caused by car accidents. It is often associated with rear-end impacts. If your doctor has told you that you have whiplash, you may want to know more.  The Shane Smith Law have compiled a list of commonly asked questions about this injury. 

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is a non-medical term used to describe the pain following any injury to the soft tissues of the neck. These tissues include nerves, ligaments and muscles, so whiplash encompasses many types of injuries.

Because whiplash is a non-medical term, doctors may use more specific medical terms such as neck strain, neck sprain, cervical strain, cervical sprain, acceleration flexion-extension neck injury, soft tissue cervical hyperextension injury, or neck hyperextension injury.

What causes whiplash?

Whiplash occurs when a sudden distortion of the neck due to an abnormal movement or force causes the neck to move beyond its normal range of motion. This is exactly what happens when your car is rear-ended.

Can whiplash be prevented?

Having your headrest adjusted correctly can lessen your risk of whiplash.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

The symptoms of whiplash vary, but they may include:

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Aching of neck or back
  • Swelling and tenderness in the neck
  • Muscle spasms in the neck
  • Difficulty moving the neck
  • Shooting pains going from the neck into the shoulders or arm
  • Tingling in the arms and legs
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness

I felt fine after the accident, but now my neck hurts.  Do I have whiplash?

Symptoms of whiplash may appear immediately after the injury, but they are often mild or don’t appear until days after a crash. The sooner after an accident that the symptoms appear, the more likely it is that the injury is serious. So, if you experience any neck pain or discomfort after a car wreck, be sure to mention it to your health care provider.

Do I need to see a doctor for whiplash?

While whiplash can sometimes be treated with rest and pain killers, it is always a good idea to seek medical attention after a car accident. Medical documentation of your pain can help you get full compensation from the insurance companies.

Seek immediate attention if you have any of the following symptoms as they may be a sign of serious neck injury.

  • Neck pain
  • Pain in either or both arms
  • Shoulder pain 
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness, tingling or loss of function in arms or legs

What will a doctor do?

A doctor’s examination may include testing for nerve damage, x-rays, MRI’s or CT scans. The doctor will order the appropriate treatment for you. Treatment may include any combination of massage, physical therapy, ice or heat therapy, bed rest, medication, immobilization of the neck, or bed rest.

Will my insurance cover my whiplash injury?

Whiplash is one of the accident injuries most frequently covered by car insurance companies. However, insurance companies will do everything they can to minimize the amount they must pay. This is why medical documentation of your injury is important.

If you’ve been in an Atlanta car wreck and the settlement your insurance company offers you is not enough to pay for your medical bills, give injury lawyer Shane Smith a call or fill out our form.  Contacting Shane is your first step towards getting those medical bills paid and getting fair compensation for lost wages, pain, and other damages.   

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