Following an auto accident in Illinois, and elsewhere, most people’s first thought is of their own safety, and that of their passengers. After checking to ensure that no one is visibly injured, people may be thankful that they seem to have made it through the collision unharmed. As a Chicago auto accident attorney knows, however, with some injuries, such as whiplash, it may not be immediately apparent that a person has been injured.
What is whiplash?
In general, whiplash is a type of soft tissue neck injury, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. It may also be referred to as a neck strain or sprain. It generally occurs when the neck is suddenly and forcefully thrown in a back-and-forth motion. As a result, the bones in the cervical spine or the disks that sit between them, as well as the nerves, ligaments, muscles or other tissues in the neck may be injured.
Causes of whiplash
Whiplash may result from a number of different causes. According to the Mayo Clinic, people who are involved in motor vehicle collisions frequently suffer whiplash injuries. Specifically, rear-end accidents are the most common cause. Additionally, people who are the victims of an assault or physical abuse may also sustain this type of injury. Whiplash injuries may also be caused by contact sports, such as football.
Symptoms of whiplash
As any Chicago auto accident attorney knows, people who have suffered whiplash may experience a range of symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include the following:
- Pain, decreased range of motion and stiffness in the neck
- Pain or tenderness in the upper back, shoulder or arms
- Numbness or tingling in the arms
Additionally, some people may become irritable, depressed or have difficulty concentrating as a result of a whiplash injury. Blurred vision or tinnitus may also be signs that a person has suffered whiplash. Sometimes, these signs and symptoms may develop immediately. In other cases, it can take several hours or days before the symptoms of whiplash are felt.
Whether suffered in a motor vehicle collision, or by some other cause, whiplash injuries generally heal on their own with time and rest. The Mayo Clinic reports that applying ice or heat may help to alleviate some of the pain associated with whiplash. Furthermore, the use of over-the-counter or prescription pain medications, muscle relaxants or injections may also be used to provide relief.
As a Chicago auto accident attorney knows, people who suffer whiplash may have to deal with undue expenses, on top of their physical pain. This includes medical expenses and lost wages due to time off of work for recovery. When these injuries occur as the result of a motor vehicle crash, the person who caused the wreck could be held financially liable. Working with an attorney may help whiplash victims understand their rights and options for seeking compensation.