Insurance companies and some doctors may downplay the potential seriousness of a whiplash injury, but the fact is, these injuries can have debilitating complications for some people. We take a look at when whiplash is more than just a minor annoyance.
Complications That Can Exacerbate a Whiplash Injury
Whiplash is a common complaint of occupants in a car that has been rear-ended but can occur as the result of a fall or workplace accident as well. A majority of sufferers will experience minimal neck pain and mild headaches and will fully recover within a month. However, for some people, symptoms will be much more severe and could result in long-term or permanent disability. Studies have found that people who experience the following are more likely to have ongoing issues caused by the whiplash injury:
- Severe pain and stiffness immediately following the accident
- Other symptoms, such as nausea, dizziness, or numbness in the arms or legs
- Previous neck injuries
- Advanced age or general poor health before the accident
People who fall into these categories may experience limited mobility, chronic pain, and migraine headaches that can last for many months or even be permanent.
Potential for Traumatic Brain Injury
Because whiplash forces the head back and forth rapidly, it can also shake up the brain inside the skull and cause a traumatic brain injury (TBI). If you have the following symptoms after a rear-end car crash or other accident, you should discuss the possibility of a TBI with your doctor:
- Memory problems
- Blurred vision
- Inability to concentrate
- Ringing in the ears
Unlike broken bones, the strains, sprains, and brain injury caused by whiplash do not show up on X-rays or MRI scans, so it is not easy to prove a claim for compensation for injuries resulting from whiplash.