How Serious Is Whiplash After a Car Accident?

Whiplash Car Accident Injury Claims

Whiplash is the single most common car accident injury.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of whiplash after an auto accident in California, you certainly aren’t alone. Many people suffer whiplash in car crashes, and a number of them are able to obtain financial compensation for it.

But you might be wondering whether that could be true for you. After all, the media has a tendency to downplay whiplash as a minor or “bogus” injury. (As you can imagine, the insurance companies love that myth.) Other people assume their whiplash will just go away on its own.

On the contrary, whiplash is very real. The damages 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.

So just 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.

The Basics of Whiplash

One of the reasons whiplash is so common is that it can happen even at low impact and relatively slow speeds.

It happens when your car comes to a sudden stop 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. It’s rare that anyone 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 soft tissue, tendons, ligaments, and other structures inside the neck simply can’t take it. They can become inflamed or damaged.

As time goes on, the inflammation and injury can get worse. Soreness sets in and range of motion diminishes. Day-to-day movement 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

So what are the symptoms of whiplash? The condition manifests somewhat differently in different people, so the symptoms aren’t identical in everyone.

If you have suffered whiplash after a car accident in California, you may be experiencing:

  • Neck pain, which may get worse with movement
  • Neck stiffness
  • Tenderness or pain in your upper back or shoulders
  • Reduced ranged of motion in your shoulders, neck, or upper arms
  • Headaches, especially at the back of your head / base of your skull
  • 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 cases of whiplash go away 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, however, 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. These may include:

  • Long-term pain and stiffness
  • Jaw pain
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Severe headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Memory problems
  • 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 concussion.

So 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 Car Accident

If you have suffered from whiplash and someone else’s negligent driving is to blame, 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 in order 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 someone else caused those, you deserve to be compensated. An experienced Bakersfield car accident lawyer at The Law Offices of Mickey Fine can help.

Whiplash Is a Real Medical Condition. Treat It Like One. Steps to Take:

Are you experiencing any of the signs or symptoms of whiplash after a car crash? Please take these two steps right away:

  1. See a doctor ASAP. Physicians know what to look for after an auto accident. Moreover, having a documented medical exam soon after the accident may prove beneficial should you file an 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. Don’t make the mistake of trying to handle insurance companies or employers 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.

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