What Causes Whiplash?

While whiplash can happen in a fall, physical attack, or while playing sports, the most common cause of whiplash is a rear-end car accident. When you are in a car that is hit from behind, your seatbelt will prevent your entire body from being thrown forward, but your neck doesn’t have that protection. Instead, your neck and head will whip back and forth violently.

Treatment for Whiplash

Whiplash is usually considered a minor injury, but it can take weeks of treatment before the pain subsides and you have full range of motion again. Treatment may include:

  • Pain medication, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxants
  • Wearing a neck collar and avoiding strenuous work
  • Applying ice or hot packs
  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic treatments
  • Injections in the neck to block pain

It is important that you follow your doctor’s treatment plan, whatever that may be. Because you will not have x-rays or other concrete proof of your injury, seeing your doctor, following up with specialists, doing assigned stretches or other therapy, and taking prescription medications will demonstrate that you are taking your injury seriously.

When You Might Be Able to File a Claim for Whiplash Damages

In a rear-end vehicle collision, the driver of the car that hits from behind is almost always at fault for the crash. If your whiplash or other accompanying injuries are serious enough to cause significant medical bills, time off work, and pain and suffering, you might be able to hold the at-fault driver accountable for your damages. Common causes of rear-end collisions in Virginia include the following:

  • Speeding
  • Running a red light
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Falling asleep at the wheel
  • Distracted by a cellphone or navigation system
  • Aggressive driving

If the driver is ticketed at the scene for one of these reasons, that will strengthen your claim for damages. 


Kevin W. Mottley
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Richmond, VA trial lawyer dedicated to handling brain injuries, car accidents and other serious injury claims