Whiplash is a commonly reported injury after car accidents. Symptoms may appear immediately after the accident, or they may take hours to days to manifest. The symptoms might initially be minor, but they can increase in intensity over time.

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury to the neck’s structures caused by a crash’s momentum, causing a passenger’s head to experience violent back and forth movement. The rapid motion causes the structures in the neck to overextend, causing them to stretch and tear.

Although whiplash is most commonly associated with rear-end collisions, it can occur in any type of vehicle accident. It is also not uncommon for athletes who play contact sports to experience the effects of whiplash. Slip and fall accidents can also result in a whiplash injury.

What are the Symptoms of Whiplash?

After a car or truck accident, it is essential to be aware of the potential signs and symptoms of whiplash and seek medical treatment immediately if you experience them. 

Symptoms can include:

  • Headaches
  • Neck stiffness
  • Neck pain that worsens when you attempt to turn your head
  • Limited or painful range of motion in the neck or shoulders
  • Pain in the shoulders, arms, or upper back
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Whiplash can be mild or severe but should be evaluated by a medical professional to ensure a proper diagnosis.

What to Do if You Develop Signs of Whiplash

Whiplash often heals on its own without invasive treatment, but it can take an extended period of time to heal. More severe cases may require surgery or other invasive measures. After a car accident, you should never assume that an injury is “just whiplash” and wait it out.

While whiplash itself can be serious, it can also mimic severe injuries that require emergency medical treatment. Whiplash can mimic traumatic brain injuries, bulging disc, a broken neck, and even spinal cord injuries.

You should take the following steps if you develop any of the symptoms of whiplash after an accident.

Seek Immediate Medical Attention

It is almost always a good idea to seek emergency medical attention in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. Adrenaline and other stress hormones are released during a car crash and can mask injuries. A full evaluation, complete with imaging of the neck and head, will help ensure you are healthy after an accident.

Medical attention is also crucial to establish that your injury is the result of the car accident. Visiting a medical provider will help establish causation for your injury, should you need to pursue compensation from an at-fault party.

Document the Accident

Filing a police report is essential after a car accident. You also need to contact your insurance company as soon as possible and give them the full details of the accident. Write down everything you remember leading up to and after the accident. 

Details can quickly fade over time, so getting it down in writing can help you make sure you recall facts accurately. These details can be crucial if you need an attorney’s help in seeking compensation for injuries.

Direct Other Parties to Speak With Your Personal Injury Attorney

Once you make a claim for damages, at-fault parties and their insurance companies will do their best to blame you for at least some part of the accident. You may also face allegations that you are faking or exaggerating your injury if there is a delay in reporting that you were hurt during the accident.

To make sure these tactics have no effect on your case, refer all conversations with other parties to an experienced Houston personal injury attorney familiar with whiplash injuries. Your lawyer’s job is to make sure your injury claim is taken seriously and to fight for a fair settlement offer.

To learn more, call our law firm at (713) 224-4878 or visit our contact us page to send us an email.