The 411 on Rear End Accidents & Whiplash Injuries in California

Many people today associate the word “whiplash” with a fraudulent injury dreamed up by an individual attempting to seek financial gain at another’s expense.  This is largely due to the fact that whiplash injuries can be extremely difficult to diagnose and, has often been overdramatized in the media.  The term whiplash is generally associated with any injury to the soft tissue of the cervical spine including muscles, nerves, ligaments and discs.  In truth, whiplash is a very real, very painful and potentially debilitating injury. In fact, research suggests that as many as 10% of all whiplash injuries can lead to permanent disability with chronic pain and other serious conditions.  With this in mind, it is important to understand how most whiplash injuries are caused, the symptoms associated therewith, the ways of diagnosing and treating whiplash, and its potential long terms effects.  Considering the following:

What Happens During a Rear End Accident that Causes Whiplash?

During a relatively low-speed rear-impact collision, the front vehicle is pushed very rapidly forward from the initial impact. The automobile seat pushes the passenger’s body forward at the same rate of speed, but because the head lacks the same support as the body, the neck is compressed and there is a rapid forward bending (much like the snap of a whip) of the neck followed by an equally rapid backward bend. This “snapping” motion occurs before the head actually makes contact with the seat’s head restraint.

This violent snapping motion can not only force the vertebrae from normal positions, it can lead to serious levels of pain which radiate through the entire upper body and can greatly reduce range of motion. The level of injury will depend on the size of both vehicles, the speed of the collision, the type of headrests installed in the vehicle and whether they were properly adjusted for the driver or passengers, awareness of the impending collision and the prior medical condition of those involved.

What are the Symptoms of Whiplash?

The most common symptoms of whiplash include the following:

  • stiffness or tenderness in the neck area
  • chronic headaches
  • vertigo or dizziness
  • nausea, jaw pain
  • shoulder or arm pain
  • vision blurriness or numbness
  • tingling in the back, shoulders or arms.

Particularly severe cases of whiplash can lead to memory loss, irritability, depression, insomnia, extreme fatigue, difficulty swallowing and other negative cognitive symptoms.

How are Whiplash Injuries in California Diagnosed and Treated?

While the injuries may not show up on x-rays, MRI’s or CT scans, a thorough patient history combined with a comprehensive physical exam can diagnose whiplash injuries. Pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, and muscle relaxants may be the only treatment available to those with whiplash injuries, although chiropractic care can offer positive results for many.

What are the Potential Long Term Effects of Whiplash?

In some cases, once the soft tissue of the neck is injured, the patient’s health may never be restored to anything resembling “normal” again.  Severely injured soft tissue can generate pain for the rest of the patient’s life and damage done to the ligaments could cause arthritis conditions to develop even years later.

Contact the Skolnick Law Group Now for Superior Personal Injury Representation!

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with whiplash as a result of a car accident?  At the Skolnick Law Group, Suzanne Skolnick will fight tirelessly for the compensation you deserve.  She will also take the time necessary to answer all of your questions, guide you through the legal process, and assist you in making informed decisions about your case.  Our law firm serves clients in Carlsbad, Encinitas, Vista, Oceanside, San Marcos and throughout North County San Diego. To learn more about the firm’s comprehensive legal services, contact us at (760) 405-4397, or, feel free to visit us online to schedule your free and completely confidential initial consultation. Attorney Skolnick also offers evening and weekend appointments available, and will also visit you at home in the event you can’t come to us.  For the personal attention and aggressive representation you need, contact Skolnick Law Group today.