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Long Term Effects of Whiplash After a Car Accident

By Butler Prather LLP on December 5, 2019

When a car crash occurs, there are countless ways that a driver or passenger can be injured. One of the most common, yet least understood injuries is whiplash. Whiplash is caused when the force of a car collision causes the head and neck to whip back and forth quickly. While you may think whiplash only happens in high-speed collisions, that is not the case. Even relatively low-speed impacts can cause whiplash. Studies have shown that a person can sustain whiplash in a crash as slow as five miles per hour.

Whiplash happens quickly but can have lasting effects

In the immediate aftermath of a crash, a person may not even realize they have suffered from whiplash. This is due to the adrenaline and confusion that sets in when a crash occurs. However, those who suffer from whiplash may begin to feel the symptoms hours, days, or even weeks after a crash.

Whiplash pulls muscles, tendons, and ligaments in a person’s neck, shoulder, and upper back. For most people, whiplash is treated with over-the-counter pain relievers. More severe cases could require prescription pain relievers or muscle relaxers to reduce muscle spasms. Doctors may prescribe physical therapy to help a whiplash victim recover.

Unfortunately, some people may suffer from the long-term effects of whiplash. The long-term effects we mention here can last for months or years and cause significant pain and suffering for victims. Whiplash victims often incur major medical expenses due to ongoing treatment needs.

The long-term effects of whiplash can include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, upper back, or lower back
  • Numbness, weakness, stiffness, or pain in the arms and legs
  • Severe headaches, including migraines
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Jaw pain
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty sleeping / fatigue
  • Difficulty with memory or focus
  • Ringing in the ears called tinnitus
  • Stomach aches
  • A range of non-painful neurological symptoms
  • Irritability and/or anxiety
  • General ill health

You may be entitled to compensation

Whiplash victims may be entitled to compensation. If long-term whiplash was caused by another driver’s negligence, a victim should be able to secure compensation through the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. This coverage could include:

  • Payment of all medical bills related to the crash injuries
  • Coverage of lost wages if a victim is unable to work while they recover
  • Pain and suffering damages

Because whiplash is so common in car accidents, insurance companies have become adept at tactics designed to lower the amount they pay in a settlement. If an insurance carrier denies a whiplash claim or does not offer enough compensation, a victim may need to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover the amount they deserve.

In Georgia, a car accident victim has two years from the date the injury occurs to file a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault driver (or their insurance carrier).

Always seek medical treatment

If you have been involved in a car accident, you should seek immediate medical treatment. Even if you do not feel any pain at the time of the crash, you may still be suffering from whiplash. If you do not seek treatment immediately after a crash, do so as soon as any pain develops. Seeking medical treatment ensures your well-being, and it establishes a link between your injuries and the crash.

Posted in: Car Accidents

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