On the spectrum of injuries that you can suffer in a car crash, whiplash falls far to the side of the less severe consequences. Many people worry about dying, brain injuries or spinal cord injuries after a crash. They may even look at a broken bone as more severe than whiplash or similar soft-tissue injuries.
However, there is a reason that many people associate whiplash with car crash lawsuits. Often, those with serious whiplash may experience lasting consequences that can both require expensive medical treatment and may also limit someone’s ability to earn their income.
What exactly is whiplash?
To understand why whiplash can have a powerful negative impact on your earning potential, you have to first understand the nature of the injury. Whiplash is an injury to the muscles and connective tissue in the neck caused by the rapid movement of the head during a car crash, particularly during a rear-end collision where the vehicle jerks forward and stops quickly.
Some people recover with rest or pain medication, but others report lasting symptoms. Whiplash can cause pain in the shoulders, arms and back as well as in the head and neck. It can cause numbness or tingling in the hands and arms. People may have trouble turning their neck and may feel fatigued, irritable or dizzy.
The more intense your initial symptoms are, the more likely you are to have lasting symptoms that include chronic pain and a limited range of motion. Those with more serious symptoms may require a longer leave of absence from work. Sometimes, they may even exhaust the medical benefits available through car insurance, requiring a civil lawsuit.
Understanding the severity of different common car crash injuries can help you know how to respond — and what legal actions to pursue.