For many years, there have been a lot of jokes about people claiming whiplash after a vehicle crash. We've all seen movies and TV shows where people walk (or pushed in a wheelchair) into a courtroom wearing a cervical collar to seek money for an injury that may or may not be real.
In reality, whiplash is a real and potentially serious injury suffered by many people involved in crashes -- even relatively minor ones. It is the most common type of car crash-related soft tissue injury. These are injuries to "soft" areas of the body, including muscles, tendons and ligaments.
The term "whiplash" actually refers to hyperextension or a cervical sprain or strain. It's caused by the sudden, violent back-and-forth movement of a person's head and neck when the vehicle he or she is in is struck from behind.
Whiplash can be a relatively minor injury. However, it can also be serious. That's why it's best to seek medical treatment if you've been rear-ended in a crash, even if symptoms don't appear right away. Common symptoms include:
- Sharp neck pain
- Stiff neck
- Back discomfort
One or more of these symptoms may appear immediately or not for a few days after the crash. If whiplash isn't treated promptly, it can get worse.
It can sometimes be difficult to prove whiplash and other soft tissue injuries because they don't show up in x-rays like broken bones do. However, that doesn't make the damage to your body or the pain any less real. That's why it's essential to seek legal guidance to help prove your case and seek the compensation you need and deserve as you heal.
Source: FindLaw, "Soft Tissue Injuries Caused by Motor Vehicle Accidents," accessed May 18, 2018