Category Archives: car accident

whiplash car accident

What is Whiplash?

 

Whiplash occurs when the neck and head are suddenly forced backward and then forward, putting the cervical spine through lightning-quick motions and extreme stresses.

 

Most cases of whiplash are caused by car accidents where the person has been rear-ended. Other potential whiplash causes, while comparatively rare, can include assault, bungee jumping, rollercoaster, football, falls while skiing or during equestrian events, and other high-impact activities where extreme acceleration-deceleration forces might be applied to the cervical spine.

Whiplash is medically known as cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD) syndrome.

 

Whiplash Symptoms Can Be Extensive

The most common symptom of whiplash is neck pain, which can range anywhere from mild to pins-and-needles tingling to excruciating. Other symptoms can include neck stiffness or reduced range of motion, neck instability, shoulder and/or upper back pain, or a headache. There could also be tingling, weakness, or numbness that radiates into the shoulder and/or down the arm.

Whiplash symptoms can be numerous, complicated, long-lasting, and hard to diagnose, which is why they are commonly known as whiplash-associated disorders. Concurrent injuries may also be symptomatic, such as a stinger, concussion, radiculopathy (pinched nerve with radiating pain into the arm), or shoulder injury.

If a whiplash injury causes a person to have reduced physical or mental abilities—even if they are just temporary—it can result in increased social isolation.

 

whiplash car accident injury
 

The Biomechanics of Whiplash

The process of a whiplash injury sustained in a car accident can vary depending on many factors, including the angle of the collision.

Usually, the collision happens from behind, resulting in a whiplash injury that can be considered to occur in five general phases:

  • The car gets hit from behind, which causes the seat to push against the back. The spine then gets loaded with forces that compress the cervical spine upward against the head.
  • The torso (in contact with the seat) continues to accelerate forward but the head (not in contact with the seat yet) does not. As a result, the cervical spine’s natural C-shape (lordosis curve) temporarily becomes an unnatural S-shape. The abnormal compression and shearing forces can potentially damage intervertebral discs, facet joints, and other neck structures.
  • Person’s head slams back into the accelerating seat. Soft tissues at the front of the neck are likely to be injured here as the neck rapidly extends backward.
  • The head bounces off the seat and now accelerates forward.
  • The seatbelt restrains the body (likely preventing a much worse injury) and the neck rapidly flexes as the head whips forward. Soft tissues at the back of the neck are likely to be injured here.

While the severity of the car crash usually correlates to the severity of the whiplash injury, there are exceptions.

Sometimes a sturdy car does not crunch up and thus shows no significant outside damage, but the forces that were not absorbed by the car exterior were instead transferred through the seat and thus caused worse whiplash. Also, whiplash injuries have been recorded in incidents where the speed at impact was less than 10 miles per hour.

 

The Course of Whiplash Pain

Most people who sustain a whiplash injury will completely recover within 3 months, but some studies show a significant number will have chronic pain or other symptoms that linger longer – sometimes for years.

Factors that increase the risk for a longer recovery include:

  • Severe pain at the time of injury
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Older age
  • Female gender

Whiplash symptoms may present at the time of the whiplash injury, or there could be a delay of up to 24 hours before they appear.

 

When Whiplash Is Serious

Anyone who experiences physical symptoms after a motor vehicle accident is advised to see a doctor for a checkup. However, any of the following signs require immediate medical attention:

  • Severe pain
  • Neck instability
  • Pain, tingling, numbness, and/or weakness that radiates into the shoulder, arm, and/or hand
  • Problems with balance or coordination
  • Mental health issues, such as increased irritability, depression, trouble sleeping, reduced concentration, or other drastic changes in behavior

Seeking treatment early for whiplash is recommended. Delaying treatment can reduce its effectiveness in some cases.

Originally seen on Spine-Health

 


If you or someone you know was injured in a recent car accident, we welcome you to contact us to see about your treatment options

1-833-FOR APPT

Car Accident Injury Consult

car accident recovery

Types of Car Accident Injuries

Car accidents are a leading cause of injuries. 

The economic cost of car accidents is estimated to be $277 billion each year – or around $897 for every person living in the United States.

While car accident injuries can vary from person to person and from crash to crash, there are some fairly common ones. This article provides a general overview of common car accident injuries. More specific information for a particular case should always be obtained from a doctor.

 

Head and Back Injuries

Head injuries are among the most serious car accident injuries. Seated drivers and passengers involved in high-speed collisions can strike their heads against steering wheels, dashboards, or windows. This can cause traumatic brain injuries, ranging from mild concussions to comas and lasting cognitive problems. Often extensive medical treatment and long-term medical care are required after such injuries. Head injuries can also lead to skull fractures, hearing loss, and vision problems.

Back injuries are also common. Any damage to the spinal cord can cause significant nerve damage. Patients may experience reduced sensation of and control over their arms, hands, legs, feet, and other body parts. More serious forms of spinal damage can leave patients permanently paralyzed.

Another common car accident injury is a herniated disk. This tends to be less severe than spinal damage or head injuries, but can still cause significant problems. Patients often experience numb or tingling sensations, muscle weakness, and arm or leg pain.

 

Neck and Chest Injuries

Probably the most well known car accident injury is whiplash. Sudden movement of the head and neck (such as from a rear-end collision) can cause serious neck muscle and ligament damage. Whiplash injuries can differ from person to person, depending on the accident and the health of the person involved in it.

Generalized neck pain and swelling is also fairly common. It is also not unheard of for patients to suffer temporary vocal cord paralysis after a car accident.

Many serious injuries are related to trauma affecting the chest area. Blunt force trauma from car accidents can cause broken ribs and collapsed lungs. People with heart problems can go into traumatic cardiac arrest from an accident.

Internal bleeding in the chest area can be an immediate problem following an accident. Damage to internal organs, the pelvis, and the abdomen can also occur. These kinds of injuries require immediate medical attention.

 

Other Injuries

Injuries to the arms, legs, hands and feet can be common. Accidents involving pedestrians can see leg and foot damages in addition to all those mentioned above.

Motorcyclists involved in car accidents can suffer significantly more serious and more numerous injuries. These can include broken bones, ligament damage such as a torn ACL, and even severed limbs. The fatality rate for motorcyclists is also significantly higher than that for drivers and passengers in cars.

Emotional distress following a car accident is also common. People most often drive or ride in a car with friends and family members. Serious car crashes can leave emotional scars on those who suffered serious injuries as well as those who witnessed them. Counseling and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and similar psychological injuries is fairly common.

Originally published on FindLaw


 

Have You Been Injured in a Recent Car Accident?
Get Your Car Accident Injuries Evaluated in a FREE NO-OBLIGATION In Office Consultation With Us Now!
Just Fill Out The Form Below and We Will Call To Get You Scheduled!
Same Day Appointments Also Available! Call now!
1-833-FOR APPT

Car Accident Injury Consult


car accident injuries

Common Vehicle Accident Injuries

 

What are the Most Common Vehicle Accident Injuries?

A look at soft tissue injuries and other common kinds of vehicle accident injuries suffered by drivers and passengers.

 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than three million people are injured each year in vehicle accidents across the country. The different injuries resulting from a car accident can be as varied as the individual circumstances of each collision, but there are some types of injuries that are more common than others.

Some vehicle accident injuries may resolve within a matter of days without any medical treatment at all. More serious injuries might become permanent and result in some level of physical disability.

The type and severity of injuries suffered by drivers and passengers involved in a car accident depend on factors that include:

  • Was the person wearing a seatbelt?
  • Did the person’s car get hit from the rear, side or front?
  • Was the occupant facing straight ahead in the seat? Or was the person’s head or body turned in a certain direction?
  • Was it a low-speed collision or a high-speed crash?
  • Did the car have airbags?

There are two broad categories of vehicle accident injuries: (1) impact injuries, and (2) penetrating injuries.

Impact injuries are typically caused when part of the person’s body hits some part of the interior of the car. Often this can be a knee hitting a dashboard or the head hitting the seat rest or the side window. Penetrating injuries are typically cuts and scrapes. Shattering glass or loose objects flying inside the car on impact often cause these types of injuries.

 

Soft Tissue Injuries and Car Accidents

A soft tissue injury is damage to the body’s connective tissue, which means muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This is the most common type of injury resulting from a car accident. Soft tissue injuries can take many forms.

A “whiplash” type injury to the neck and upper back is a form of soft tissue injury. In that type of injury, the muscles and ligaments are stretched due to sudden movements imposed on the head and neck in the collision. These same mechanisms and forces can cause soft tissue injuries in other areas of the body such as the back. Car accidents often cause mid-back and low-back muscle sprains and sometimes cause more serious back injuries because of the impact force against the spine.

 

Scrapes and Cuts

In a car collision, any loose objects inside the car immediately become projectiles thrown about the car’s interior. This includes cell phones, coffee mugs, eyeglasses, purses, books, dash-mounted GPS systems, etc. If any of these items hit your body, they can easily cut your skin or cause other injuries.

Sometimes these scrapes and cuts are relatively minor and require no medical treatment. More serious injuries can result in loss of blood and may require stitches.

Cuts or scrapes can also result if your airbag deploys in the collision.

 

Head Injuries and Car Accidents

Head injuries can take a number of forms, some relatively minor and others quite severe. A car’s unexpected stop or change in direction often causes the heads of the car occupants to experience sudden and unnatural movements. This can cause muscle strains in the neck and back (as discussed above). But the head itself can also be injured. Impact with a side window or steering wheel can cause scrapes and bruising to the head, or even deeper lacerations. More severe collision impacts can cause a closed head injury. In that situation, the fluid and tissue inside the skull are damaged because of the sudden movement or impact of the head. Less severe closed head injuries often result in concussions, while the most severe impacts can cause brain damage.

 

Chest Injuries

Chest injuries are also common vehicle accident injuries. These injuries typically take the form of contusions or bruises but can be more severe, such as broken ribs or internal injuries. Drivers often experience chest injuries because of their position behind the steering wheel, which allows very little freedom of movement before the chest collides with the steering wheel. If a person’s body is thrown forward in a collision, even though it might not impact the steering wheel or dashboard, the chest area will still experience a high level of force against the shoulder harness or seatbelt, which can cause severe bruising.

 

Arm and Leg Injuries

The same forces that unexpectedly throw a person’s head about in car collisions act similarly on arms and legs. If your car suffers a side impact, your arms and legs might be thrown hard against the door. While positioned as a passenger in a car, your legs typically have very little room for movement. Car accidents often cause an occupant’s knees to hit the dashboard or seats in front of them. Depending on the nature of the collision, injuries to your arms and legs might be mere bruises or scrapes, but sprains and even breaks can occur.

Keep in mind that some injuries are not readily apparent following a car accident. Depending on the nature of the injury, it may take days, weeks, or even months for symptoms to appear. So if you are in a car accident, it is best to seek medical treatment for even the slightest discomfort or early indication of injury.

 

Article originally from NOLO.com


 

If you or someone you know was injured in a recent car accident, we welcome you to contact us to see your treatment options. Convenient locations on the East and West sides of Cleveland, also in Akron, Canton, and Elyria.

1-833-FOR APPT

 

Car Accident Injury Consult