West Virginia personal injury: whiplash from rear impact car accidents

Whiplash from a rear impact motor vehicle accident can cause significant pain.

People sometimes joke about whiplash injuries from motor vehicle accidents, but there is nothing funny about whiplash. Whiplash, also called neck sprain or strain, is a soft tissue neck injury that commonly occurs when a car is hit from behind by another vehicle, causing the impacted car's driver or passenger to experience the head unexpectedly and uncontrollably moving backward and then forward from the impact.

The Mayo Clinic describes this phenomenon as "similar to the motion of someone cracking a whip," forcing the neck's "muscles and ligaments beyond their normal range of motion" and potentially causing pain and other problems. Most whiplash symptoms develop fairly quickly, but sometimes after not until days have passed, but medical attention should be immediately sought after the accident, with regular follow up as the extent of injury unfolds.

Whiplash victims should not think that because impact was relatively soft, they should not worry about resulting soft tissue injuries. Even minor accidents can cause serious whiplash symptoms. Interestingly, Mayo also reports that females are at higher risk of whiplash than are men.

Whiplash injuries can cause symptoms that range from very mild and short term, to serious and sometimes long term. Symptoms may include:

  • Neck, shoulder, arm or back pain
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Inflammation
  • Dizziness
  • Blurry vision
  • Headache
  • Low energy or problems with sleep
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Impaired concentration or memory
  • Irritable or anxious mood
  • Depression
  • Burning or prickly sensations
  • And more

Treatment varies and may include:

  • Ice or heat
  • Pain medication
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Antidepressants
  • Stretching exercise
  • Physical therapy
  • Lidocaine injections
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Massage
  • Ultrasound
  • TENS units
  • Traction
  • Chiropractic care
  • And more

The use of a cervical collar (a high foam collar) to immobilize the neck was historically used after whiplash, but opinions now differ about their use. A whiplash patient should carefully follow the advice of the medical provider as concerns a foam collar.

It can be extremely important for a car accident victim to seek legal counsel as early as possible after the crash for many reasons, but in a whiplash case, a personal injury attorney with experience presenting this unique injury in negotiation and trial can make all the difference.

According to Mayo Clinic, when a patient develops chronic pain from whiplash, there may be objective medical findings like damaged neck "joints, disks and ligaments." However, sometimes no physical "abnormality" accompanies the ongoing pain experienced by the victim. In that type of case in which it may be more difficult to prove whiplash injury in a lawsuit, a lawyer who understands the complexity of the condition can be critical for the plaintiff.

In West Virginia, a personal injury lawyer from the Huntington firm of Cyrus & Adkins, Attorneys at Law, has the experience and knowledge to take on serious whiplash cases.

Keywords: whiplash, motor vehicle accident, pain, soft tissue injury, symptoms, treatment

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:Do I have to pay for hiring experts, depositions, and other expenses of getting my case to trial?

A:At Cyrus & Adkins, we will advance all costs necessary for the development and presentation of your case. In the event of a successful recovery, whether by settlement or verdict, these necessary costs and expenses are reimbursable to our firm.