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Whiplash Is More Serious Than You Think

Fiol Law Group|Posted in Car Accidents on April 27, 2017

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a painful neck and spine injury that is often caused in rear-end crashes. With the numerous types of injuries that people can get from a car accident, it can be easy to overlook the potential severity of whiplash. When someone gets whiplash in a minor fender bender, they may be in pain for a while, but others might tell them they should be grateful it wasn’t much worse. However, whiplash can cause a great deal of ongoing problems that Tampa residents may never expect.

Most Common Cause of Whiplash

Although someone can get whiplash from any type of crash, this type of injury is most often caused by rear-end collisions, which in turn are a common result of following another vehicle too closely. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2013 there were 7,928 accidents and 10 fatal crashes in Florida that resulted from following too closely.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that rear-end crashes contribute to a great number of deaths and injuries each year in the United States. NHTSA statistics show that younger, less experienced drivers most frequently get into rear-end crashes, especially males.

What Happens When Someone Suffers From Whiplash?

According to the Mayo Clinic, this injury is initially caused by the rapid movement of the neck whipping back and forth and injuring the bones, ligaments, muscles and soft tissues of the neck and spine. Numerous activities or accidents can cause whiplash, from a fall to a sporting mishap. However, rear-end collisions are by far the most common culprit of this painful injury.

Most Common Symptoms of Whiplash

Neck pain and stiffness are the most common symptoms of whiplash, which usually show up the day after an accident, to a few days later. Most victims of whiplash will start to get better within a couple of weeks to a few months. However, many others will continue to experience ongoing complications, which may include:

  • Chronic, severe neck and spinal pain
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Numbness or tingling down the arms
  • Difficulties with memory, concentration and sleep
  • Irritability and depression
  • Dizziness and blurred vision

The treatment for moderate to severe cases of whiplash can be extensive and require weeks, months or even years of physical therapy, prescription medications and other care.

Can Vehicle Safety Prevent Whiplash?

Auto manufacturers have attempted to address the risk of whiplash in accidents, states Consumer Reports. More recent vehicles contain better head restraints that are built to support the neck and spine in a rear-end crash and prevent the worst effects of whiplash. Vehicle occupants should position the restraints so they align with the top of the ears to the crown of the head, and rest four inches or less from the back of the head.

However, improved safety features or the proper position of head restraints cannot completely guarantee one will not suffer from whiplash in a rear-end accident. Tampa drivers who follow others at an unsafe distance can be held liable for the injuries they cause others. An experienced car accident attorney can protect the rights of those who are suffering from whiplash and other injuries.

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