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Whiplash: One of the most serious car accident injuries

When you think of the most serious injuries people sustain in a car accident, you likely imagine television shows that depict an emergency room at a hospital filled with people on stretchers and bleeding from various lacerations. However, one of the most serious and frequent injuries that result from a car accident is whiplash.

Whiplash occurs when a person's head suddenly jerks forward and backward, similar to the whip of a rope. The most common cause of whiplash is a rear end accident, according to Mayo Clinic. This type of injury can cause serious damage to the muscles and ligaments in the neck when they extend farther and at a faster pace than normal.

Common symptoms of whiplash

Oftentimes, a person will not experience symptoms of whiplash for a few hours to days after an accident. The most common symptoms of whiplash can include:

  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Vision problems
  • Ringing in ears
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability

Sadly, these symptoms can be more severe in older adults and can take longer to treat. While these symptoms can be treated with over the counter medications, painkillers and muscle relaxants, serious injuries might require physical therapy. People who are experiencing these symptoms after a car accident should consult with a doctor immediately before serious damage occurs.

How to prevent whiplash

The easiest way to prevent whiplash injuries is to wear a seat belt, which the law requires in the majority of states. Additionally, drivers should adjust their seat position to a 20 degree angle and position the head restraint two inches from the back of their heads. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, more than 85 percent of drivers position their head restraints incorrectly.

Car accidents can be devastating, especially if you sustain an injury like whiplash. It can be beneficial to consult with a legal professional to determine if you can retain compensation for your injuries.

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