How Serious Is Whiplash After a Car Accident?

Whiplash Car Accident Injury Claims

Whiplash is the Single Most Common Car Accident Injury

When you experience the symptoms of whiplash after an auto accident in California, you certainly aren’t alone. Many people suffer whiplash in rear-end car crashes, requiring physical therapy and chiropractic care.

The media tends to downplay whiplash as a minor or “bogus” injury. (As you can imagine, the insurance companies love that myth.) Other people assume their whiplash injuries will just go away on their own.

Whiplash is an injury. The damage to the cervical spine can be significant, and recovery often requires medical treatment. Some people take longer to heal than others. For a small percentage of car crash victims, whiplash becomes a permanent injury.

How serious is whiplash after a car accident? In today’s article, we’re going to clarify that issue and help you understand whether you might be entitled to financial compensation.

What Causes Whiplash?

Whiplash from a rear-end collision can happen even at low impact and relatively slow speeds. Whiplash is a neck injury that happens when your car suddenly stops or makes a quick turn, forcing your head and neck to move back and forth quickly — front to back or side to side.

People don’t always realize they’ve experienced whiplash right away. You can’t tell just by looking at your neck, head, back, or shoulders. Anyone rarely has outward or visible signs of whiplash.

Inside your neck, though, there may be significant damage. Your neck isn’t designed to move like that. The spinal nerve, soft tissue, tendons, ligaments, and other structures inside the neck simply can’t take it. They can become inflamed or damaged.

As time passes, the inflammation and injury can worsen and lead to chronic pain. Soreness sets in and the range of motion diminishes. Day-to-day movement of the head agitates the condition and symptoms get worse. This explains why so many people think they are “perfectly fine” right after a car crash only to find themselves in immense pain (or even unable to work) days or weeks later.

Symptoms of Whiplash After a Car Accident

What are whiplash symptoms after a car accident? The condition manifests somewhat differently in different people, so the symptoms aren’t identical in everyone.

When you have suffered whiplash after a car accident in California, some of the symptoms include:

  • Neck pain, which may get worse with movement
  • Neck stiffness
  • Neck sprain
  • Tenderness or pain in your upper back or shoulders
  • Reduced range of motion in your shoulders, neck, or upper arms
  • Headaches, especially at the back of your head/base of your skull
  • Neck strain
  • Tingling or numbness in your neck, back, shoulders, or upper arms
  • Dizziness, which may feel vague or come and go
  • Fatigue

Long-Term Effects of Whiplash After a Car Accident

Some people may recover from whiplash on their own. Recovery often improves with proper medical treatment, with most people’s recovery period lasting anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

Occasionally, whiplash gets much worse before it gets better — or never gets better at all. Some people’s necks are injured so badly during whiplash that they develop serious complications or long-term (“chronic”) symptoms. Whiplash can lead to the following causes and symptoms:

  • Long-term pain
  • Pain and stiffness in your neck
  • Jaw pain
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Severe headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Chronic pain
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nerve damage
  • Memory problems
  • Cervical strain
  • Numbness or weakness in the shoulders or arms (or even the legs)
  • Vision problems (e.g. blurred vision)
  • Irritability
  • Depression

The jostling that happens during whiplash can also lead to traumatic brain injuries, including concussions.

How serious is whiplash after a car accident? It depends on the person and the nature of the crash, but in general, whiplash can be much more serious than many people realize.

Getting Financial Compensation for Whiplash After a Motor Vehicle Accident

When you have suffered from whiplash because of someone’s negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your:

  • Medical bills
  • Medication costs
  • Lost wages due to time away from work
  • Future or ongoing cost of care
  • Emotional distress
  • Property damage (e.g. vehicle damage)
  • Other losses or damages caused by the crash

You do not have to experience the worst / most severe whiplash symptoms to claim compensation. Many California drivers have been able to recover financially in more moderate cases of whiplash.

After all, even moderate cases of whiplash can cause significant disruption to your life, and such disruptions are often associated with very real financial costs. If your neck and upper back pain was caused by a negligent driver, then you deserve to be compensated. An experienced Bakersfield car accident lawyer at The Law Offices of Mickey Fine can help.

How Do I Treat Whiplash?

Whiplash is a common injury and it is a real medical condition. Depending on the severity of your injury, whiplash can lead to serious neck and back injuries. People with whiplash need spinal treatment. If you are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms of whiplash after a car crash, take the following two steps right away:

  1. See a doctor ASAP. Your care provider will know what to look for after an auto accident. Moreover, a documented medical exam soon after the accident may prove beneficial if you file a personal injury claim later.
  2. Call our office for a free consultation. It’s your chance to learn more about your financial rights and legal options — at zero cost to you, and with absolutely no obligations and no pressure to hire us. We’re only here to help.

The Law Offices of Mickey Fine: Bakersfield Auto Accident Lawyers Who Realize That Every Penny Counts

At The Law Offices of Mickey Fine, we are dedicated to fighting for the rights of unfairly injured Californians.

Please don’t settle for less than you’re owed. Do not make the mistake of trying to handle insurance companies on your own. Let our office fight to get you the recovery you deserve.

Contact The Law Offices of Mickey Fine for a free and confidential case review today. It’s important to seek guidance

We won’t charge a fee for our services unless we get you money first. Call 661-333-3333 in Bakersfield or contact us online right away.

Car Accident
by Mickey Fine Law
Last updated on - Originally published on