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South Texas

The Seriousness of Whiplash

Car accidents in Texas can result in a great number and types of injuries, but among the most common injuries are those to the neck and back. In particular, neck injuries commonly range from mild sprains to broken necks. However, the most common of these is known as whiplash, which is portrayed as something of a minor injury, but which can be very serious, and even lead to or even mask other, more serious, neck injuries.

Whiplash happens when someone’s head is jerked either forward or backward with excessive force, which causes the lower neck bones to become hyperextended and the upper bones to become hyper-flexed, which causes the ligaments and muscles to be seriously damaged. The symptoms of whiplash cover a wide spectrum, from simply being a bit annoying to being extremely painful and potentially debilitating.

The most common whiplash symptoms can include:

  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Jaw pain
  • Pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders
  • Discomfort and weakness in the arms
  • Ringing in the ears, or tinnitus
  • Problems with vision and eye pain

Because of these symptoms, and because they can last for a long time, those accident victims who suffer from whiplash also often experience anger, depression, anxiety, or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can often be expensive to treat, and include neck braces, pain medication, surgery, and physical therapy. Car accident whiplash sufferers often experience a significant amount of lost work. Nationwide, whiplash injuries cost an estimated $30 billion annually, including medical expenses and lost productivity.

Though it’s discussed in terms that diminish its impact, whiplash can have a serious impact on a person’s life and, because the neck is actually an extension of the spine, whiplash can sometimes lead to, or even mask, damage to the spine. If there is damage to the neck from an auto accident, it’s possible there is damage to other vertebrae or the spinal cord. There may also be nerve damage, such as a pinched nerve, which can lead to weakness, numbness and pain to various parts of the body.

If you have suffered a whiplash injury from a car accident or any other motor vehicle accident that may have caused your neck to snap back or forth a bit too hard, you will likely visit a medical specialist, such as a back and neck specialist, a neurologist or a chiropractor, and/or primary care physician. These medical providers may treat your personal injuries with neck immobilization with a brace or cervical collar, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), range-of-motion and physical therapy and massage therapy. In some cases, in which there is extensive muscle or ligament damage, they may have to employ cervical traction or even surgery.

Quite often, whiplash injuries may seem minor at first, due to a relative lack of visible physical symptoms, but left undiagnosed and untreated, these types of injuries leave the victim more susceptible to future back and neck injuries and can also lead to chronic injuries and pain.

Texas Whiplash Car Accident Lawyers

If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident of any type that had caused a whiplash injury, it is absolutely critical that you receive prompt medical attention. It is also important that the victim contact an experienced auto accident attorney, such as those at the Gutierrez Law Firm as soon as possible. We have access to the right medical help, and we can investigate, so as to be able to tell you whether or not someone was negligent or reckless in causing your injury, and to help you protect your rights.