Hidden Danger of Car Accidents Big and Small: Whiplash

Car accidents in Cook County are, unfortunately, an everyday occurrence. Car accidents can cause many types of injuries, even at low speeds, and one of the most common is whiplash.

It is estimated that around three million Americans are injured by whiplash every year.

A whiplash victim will generally not experience any symptoms until two hours after the accident – and sometimes symptoms may not show up for two to three days.

So what exactly is whiplash and how can it affect your health?

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash occurs when the head and neck are shot forward and then thrown backward in quick succession. Whiplash can happen in any type of auto accident, but it is most common in rear impact crashes when the passenger or driver who is hit is stationary. The lowest risk of whiplash occurs in front impact crashes. And, surprisingly, speed does not determine how badly someone can be hurt by whiplash.

Health Problems Caused by Whiplash

Whiplash can cause chronic neck pain and a myriad of other health problems including:

  • Headaches
  • Shoulder pain
  • Dizziness
  • Jaw pain
  • Back pain
  • Arm pain

Whiplash can also cause emotional injuries such as depression, anxiety and sleep disturbance.

Unfortunately, almost 25 percent of whiplash cases result in chronic pain or disability. Around 10 percent of people injured in car accidents sustain long-term disabilities from whiplash.

Difficult to Diagnose

It is likely that the approximated three million Americans who sustain whiplash injuries every year is inaccurate. There are almost certainly more people who sustain whiplash than estimated. Most whiplash victims do not experience symptoms immediately after the crash and, since whiplash is considered a soft tissue injury, it does not show up on x-rays.

However, a CAT scan or an MRI may be able to reveal injuries that can be used as proof for insurance and litigation claims. If you have sustained a whiplash injury in an auto accident, talking with an attorney is advised.