Whiplash is one of the most unacknowledged and potentially serious injuries caused by car accidents in Virginia Beach, and more technically speaking whiplash is an injury to the soft tissues of the neck and can extend into the adjacent shoulder musculature. Depending on its severity, whiplash can lead to long-term side effects such as chronic pain, never damage, and even high blood pressure. To make matters worse, injured crash victims do not always realize they have a whiplash injury until they are in a significant amount of pain, which could be several days after their accident.
Can I get whiplash from a minor car accident?
Certainly. If you experience considerable pain in your neck or shoulders, or ringing in your ears after a Virginia Beach car accident, you could have a whiplash injury. Contact the Virginia Beach car accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to discuss the details of your potential case and find out if you could be entitled to compensation.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is an injury to the neck that is caused by a sudden and violent back-and-forth motion. This “whipping” movement can stretch and possibly tear the tendons and muscles in a victim’s upper back, shoulders, and neck. Although motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of whiplash injuries, they can also be caused by physical abuse, sports injuries, and other form of trauma.
How Does Whiplash Occur in Car Accidents?
Although your neck is strong, it is not designed to withstand the force generated by a car accident. Car accidents, especially rear-end accidents, involve all these facets:
- Impact: When your car is struck by another object, especially from behind, the impact jolts the occupants forward. Even when the driver and passengers are properly restrained, the sudden impact can have a considerable effect on a victim’s neck.
- Rapid Movement: Since the head and neck are unrestrained, they quickly snap back after the initial impact. This abrupt and unnatural motion can stretch the ligaments and muscles in the shoulders and neck well past their normal range.
- Force: Even car accidents that occur at speeds as low as 15 miles per hour can produce enough impact force to cause whiplash. Although newer vehicles are specifically designed to absorb and disperse most of the impact, some of this force can still be transferred to the vehicle’s occupants. This results in a forceful snapping movement of the victim’s neck and head.
- Reaction: After being suddenly stretched beyond their normal range of motion, the neck muscles often contract, producing a recoil effect. This is an involuntary reaction designed to protect your spine. Unfortunately, this contraction often exacerbates whiplash injuries.
Common Symptoms of Whiplash
Although not every whiplash victim will experience the same symptoms, some of the most common signs of whiplash include:
- Chronic headaches
- Neck stiffness and pain
- Neck pain that worsens with movement
- Reduced range of motion in the shoulders and neck
- Numbness or tingling in the arms
- Tenderness or pain in the arms, upper back, or shoulders
- Chronic fatigue
Less common whiplash symptoms include:
- Sleep disturbances such as insomnia or nightmares
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating
- Trouble with memory
Can I Be Compensated for a Whiplash Injury After a Car Accident?
If you were diagnosed by an ER doctor, or any other physician, with whiplash after a car accident caused by another driver, the law entitles you to seek financial recovery from the other party. Based on the severity of your injury as well as other factors, you could be eligible to collect compensation for damages such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost earnings
- Decreased future earnings
- Emotional anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced quality of life
- Property damage
Virginia Statue of Limitations
Virginia personal injury laws state that a personal injury lawsuit must be filed with the appropriate court no more than two years from the day the accident occurred, in normal cases and there are exceptions that can apply which are not discussed here. The longer you wait to hire an attorney, the harder it will be to build a strong case for compensation. You should reach out to a qualified car accident lawyer as soon as possible after an accident.
Talk to a Virginia Beach Car Accident Attorney
If you sustained a serious whiplash injury in a Virginia Beach car accident through no fault of your own and are wondering if you are entitled to financial compensation, we can help. Schedule a free consultation with the experienced Virginia Beach car accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp by calling (833) 997-1774 or through the form on our website. Our offices are located in Virginia Beach, Hampton, Portsmouth, and Norfolk.