Calvin Smith Law - The Injury Lawyers

How Long Does Whiplash Last After a Car Accident?


After a motor vehicle collision, those involved suffer varying degrees of injuries. They range from minor to severe to fatal depending on the severity of the occurrence. One common injury our Atlanta car accident attorneys have encountered whiplash.

Most victims often overlook the wound as the symptoms sometimes do not appear immediately after the crash. This article takes an in-depth look at the injury and how long it lasts after a car accident.

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a common injury sustained from rear-end collisions. It occurs when the head moves backward and forward suddenly with great force. The sudden movement causes the soft tissues in the neck to extend beyond their typical range of motion.

This injury’s symptoms take a while to appear because of the adrenaline coursing through the body after an accident. Thus, it is vital to check yourself for a few days following the crash, paying attention to physical changes.

Doctors consider whiplash as a relatively mild condition. But it can result in long-term pain and discomfort if not properly treated. Your physician will diagnose you with the injury if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain or stiffness in the neck that comes and goes.
  • Severe neck pain.
  • Pain, numbness, or tingling in your arms, legs, or shoulders.
  • Issues with the bowel and bladder.
  • Localized weakness in the leg or arm.

Once diagnosed, your doctor will order an X-ray to rule out other factors contributing to your pain. The physician might also request CT scans and MRI. The two will provide a thorough assessment of the inflammation in the soft tissues, spinal cord, or nerves.

What Does Whiplash Feel Like?

Symptoms of this injury appear within the first 24 hours of the car accident. In addition to the signs mentioned above, you might feel:

  • Headaches at the base of the skull
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Constant weariness

The less common whiplash symptoms are:

  • Problems concentrating or memory loss
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Inability to sleep well
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain in the neck or shoulders

Once you notice any of these signs spreading to your shoulders or arms or find it hard to move your neck, call your doctor.

How Long Does Whiplash Last? 

As mentioned earlier, most people do not experience whiplash symptoms immediately after a crash. Sometimes it takes years for the signs to show. In such instances, doctors trace the symptoms to damaged neck joints, discs, and ligaments.

Very few people have long-term complications from whiplash. The standard recovery time takes from a few days to several weeks. Most individuals recover within three months after the injury.

However, some people continue to have residual pain in their necks and headaches. Those experiencing whiplash symptoms can treat it with over-the-counter pain medications.

Other treatment options are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, and muscle relaxants. You might wear a cervical collar for two to three weeks while waiting for the pain to subside.

Different range of motion exercises, physical therapy, and cervical tractions are possible treatments. Your physician might also recommend supplemental heat application to relieve muscle tension.

How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help With Your Whiplash Injury?

We’ve established that whiplash injuries occur mostly in rear-end collisions. The latter happens when a car hits another from behind. In crashes of this nature, it is vital to establish who the at-fault driver is.

If you are the driver of the vehicle hit from behind, it means you are the victim. However, note that Georgia is an at-fault state, meaning you must not have contributed to the accident in any way.

Once it is clear that you have no liability for the accident, you can hire a car accident attorney. With the help of your physician, the lawyer will ascertain the extent of your injury and file a personal injury claim.

Trial verdicts and settlement values for whiplash cases vary significantly. The court considers whether the injury is mild or moderate. Your lawyer can get you a settlement between $2,500 and $10 000.

If your case is more severe, and you had to undergo physical therapy for several months, you might get up to $30 000. If whiplash injury extends beyond soft-tissue damage to the nerves or vertebrae, you can get up to $100 000.

Consult a Car Accident Attorney at Calvin Smith Law for Help!

A personal injury lawyer is the only one that can advise you on the success of your whiplash case. Without legal representation, your chances of succeeding are very slim. At Calvin Smith Law, our attorneys have years of experience getting compensation for crash victims. Schedule a free consultation with us today!

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