The Dangers of Whiplash Caused by a Rear-End Collision
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are approximately 2.5 million rear-end automobile collisions every year. This represents about 40% of all the car accidents in the country, making a rear-end collision the most common type of traffic crash. Many of these are minor fender-benders, but it does not take much speed for a rear-end collision to cause serious bodily harm through whiplash.
The Physics of a Rear-End Collision
As Newton’s first law of motion states, a body in motion tends to stay in motion, and a body at rest tends to stay at rest. When you are sitting in your car and are hit from behind, your car accelerates forward while your body tries to stay in place. This will push your body backward into the seat. At slower speeds, your head might bump back into the headrest and, other than damage to the car, you will be all right. If the car behind you hits at a faster speed, there may be a whiplash injury.
What Is Whiplash?
When there is greater force in a rear-end collision, it will cause your neck to snap backward quickly and violently. This motion strains the muscles of the neck and back. It can overextend the vertebrae in the neck. Most importantly, if you think of the neck as the whip, your skull and brain are at the tip. With the force of whiplash, your brain can actually make contact with the inside of your skull, causing bruising, inflammation and more serious damage.
Consequences of Whiplash
There are many possible consequences of whiplash. Some of them are temporary, and others involve permanent damage. Even at slow speeds, whiplash can cause muscle strain and muscle and ligament tears in the neck. Many people who suffer this injury need to wear a neck brace while they recover. They may also need to miss work due to pain and lack of mobility.
- Temporary paralysis
- Loss of balance
- Loss of fine motor skills
- Numbness in the hands and feet
At higher speeds, there can be temporary damage to the spinal column. The overextension of the neck and back muscles and bones can irritate or bruise the spinal cord. When inflammation puts pressure on this critical bundle of nerves, there can be several symptoms that may require weeks of recovery time. Some of them include:
The most troubling consequence of whiplash injuries is brain damage. Such injuries can result in temporary or permanent loss of both physical and mental abilities. The extent of the damage depends on the nature of the injury. Bruising and minor swelling in the brain is often temporary. More serious concussions can lead to tissue death and permanent damage. Recovery from serious brain trauma is a long process that will leave the injured party unable to work for an extended period.
Signs of Brain Injury
If you suspect that you may have any level of brain injury, it is important that you are seen by a medical professional right away. Doctors can work to relieve swelling in the brain and minimize damage. Some common signs of a brain injury include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Persistent headache
- Loss of consciousness
Finding the Right Legal Representation
Whiplash injuries can have long-lasting effects. They can leave you with permanent disabilities, lost income and chronic pain. If you have been involved in a rear-end collision, you need an attorney who can help you obtain appropriate compensation for your damages through the legal system.
Attorney Denis Driscoll has many years of experience in handling car accident claims and other personal injury cases. Our firm can help you gather the reports and assemble the evidence you need to argue your case with the insurance companies. Contact our Parsippany, NJ, office today at (973) 585-6982 to schedule a free consultation with a lawyer. With proper legal assistance, you could get compensation that covers all of your crash-related medical bills.