The way many people talk about whiplash can be dangerous. It might be a passing reference in a conversation, or joke in a comedy that diminishes the potential seriousness of what happened.

In reality, whiplash can be an incredibly disruptive injury. It can lead to damaging effects that last long into the future. And unfortunately, it is one of the most common types of injuries in car crashes.

What causes whiplash?

The cause of whiplash is fairly straightforward. It’s a neck injury that occurs when something pushes your head and neck back and forth in a quick, forceful manner, the Mayo Clinic explains. While the injury can be the result of any type of impact – such as an assault, or contact while playing sports – one of the most common ways people suffer whiplash is from a rear-end car crash.

Whiplash can cause damage to ligaments, muscles, nerves, neck tissue, bones in the spine and even the disks situated between those bones.

Symptoms of whiplash

It’s important to note that symptoms of whiplash do not always appear right away. In some cases, symptoms might not show up for a few days. That’s one reason it is important to seek medical attention as soon as you think something might be wrong. Common issues include:

  • Stiff, painful neck that is hard to move
  • Headaches, usually at the base of the skull
  • Tenderness or pain in the shoulders and upper back
  • Tingling in the arms
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

Some people also experience blurred vision, ringing in the ears, memory and concentration problems, irritability and depression.

While whiplash symptoms can go away on their own after a few weeks, not everyone is so lucky. Some people suffer pain or physical impairment due to the injury for months or years into the future, potentially dealing with the repercussions the rest of their life. People who have had whiplash before, are older, or have existing back and neck pain may be more likely to suffer worse outcomes.

Considering legal action for compensation

Drivers today are often inattentive or reckless. This behavior can lead to mistakes on the road that cause a crash – and result in other motorists suffering injuries such as whiplash. In these cases, a personal injury lawsuit may be able to hold that negligent driver accountable for their actions.

Through a lawsuit, you are able to seek compensation for things such as medical bills, lost work time and other suffering. If you have suffered neck or spine injuries such as whiplash in a car crash, consider reaching out to a lawyer today.