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Whiplash Injury

Whiplash Injury

It’s a common myth that whiplash is a frequently faked or exaggerated injury. The truth is that whiplash injuries can be serious and even cause disability and lifelong pain. If you were involved in a car accident or fall and have been experiencing headaches, neck pain, and stiffness, you may have whiplash. 

Whiplash Overview

Whiplash Overview

Whiplash is a very common yet misunderstood injury. This neck injury is often a result of a motor vehicle accident and may be more serious than you think.

What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a soft tissue injury of the neck. It’s also known as a neck strain or cervical acceleration-deceleration syndrome. Sudden, forceful forward and backward movement of the head causes damage to tendons, nerves, muscles, and discs in the neck as they are forced beyond their normal range of motion.

How Common Is Whiplash?

Whiplash is believed to affect up to 83% of people who are involved in a crash. Whiplash injuries can happen in an accident, even at speeds of 10 mph or less. 

Some are at a greater risk of suffering whiplash in a crash. Children, seniors, and people with pre-existing conditions like degenerative disc disease have a higher risk of whiplash in a low-speed accident. 

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Whiplash?

Whiplash can cause a range of symptoms that vary depending on the person and the severity of the injury. 

Common whiplash symptoms are: 

  • Neck pain: This pain may be noticed immediately after the accident and worsen. It can also be delayed and take hours or days to appear. 
  • Pain in the shoulders, arms, or back: This may result when an injury to one area of the body is felt elsewhere. It can also be caused by nerve impingement or damage to muscles and ligaments involved in shoulder and back movement. 
  • Occipital headaches: This type of headache causes intense pain that usually starts at the base of the skull and spreads along the scalp or behind the eyes. It’s usually caused by a pinched nerve or tight muscles. 
  • Stiffness or decreased range of motion: You may find it challenging to turn your head due to tightness or pain.

Less common symptoms of whiplash include tinnitus, blurry vision, difficulty sleeping, and fatigue. 

What Are the Long-Term Consequences of a Whiplash Injury?

For many, whiplash is a minor to moderate injury that heals with time. Some people, however, experience long-term consequences. It’s believed these long-term effects are more common than many realize. One study found that up to 50% of whiplash victims do not recover completely, and up to one-third are left with moderate to severe disability. 

Impingement syndrome is one possible consequence. This is shoulder pain caused by a tendon rubbing directly on a shoulder blade. It’s often related to whiplash and usually caused by seat belt trauma. It usually requires physical therapy and sometimes cortisone injections or even surgery. 

Reduced range of motion is a common consequence of a neck injury. Victims may have long-term or permanent neck stiffness and limited range of motion that can be disabling. 

Nerve damage is also common. This can cause chronic pain in the neck, upper back, and shoulders. 

Some people are at risk of developing cervical lordosis after a whiplash injury. This condition is an abnormal curvature of the cervical spine. 

Whiplash-associated disorders can cause long-term or chronic physical and neurological effects. This may include headaches, tinnitus, trouble concentrating, and central hypersensitivity. This causes higher levels of pain, longer pain duration, and larger areas of localized or referred pain. 

What Causes Whiplash? 

Whiplash injuries happen when the head violently moves side-to-side or back and forth. This movement is usually very fast and stretches tendons, muscles, and ligaments to the point of injury. 

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of whiplash, particularly rear-end collisions. When a car is hit from behind, an occupant’s body is initially pushed back into the seat. Due to inertia, the head lags in this movement and snaps forward and then backward rapidly when the neck’s muscles and ligaments reach their limit. 

Rear-end car accidents are more likely to cause whiplash than any other type of crash. 

Whiplash can happen in other ways, too. Less common causes of whiplash include: 

  • Physical assault or abuse
  • Sports accidents, especially involving contact sports like football
  • Falls
  • Boating accidents
  • Amusement park rides like roller coasters and bumper cars

Essentially, any incident that forces the head to move forward and backward violently can cause a whiplash injury. 

What Is My Whiplash Injury Case Worth?

Every case is unique. The only way to estimate the value of your whiplash injury case is by evaluating factors like: 

  • The severity of your injury 
  • Medical treatment you received
  • Any injuries visible on medical tests
  • The impact of your injury on your daily life
  • Whether liability is clear

Many other factors could influence the value of a personal injury case. An experienced whiplash injury lawyer will carefully investigate your accident to determine the full value of the losses you have suffered. 

What Compensation Can I Recover For My Whiplash Injury in Colorado?

Injury victims are entitled to compensation for all the losses they sustain. This compensation falls into two broad categories: economic damages and non-economic damages

Economic damages are the financial expenses and future costs of your injury. Non-economic damages are personal, physical, or psychological losses you suffered without monetary value. 

You may be entitled to money to compensate you for: 

  • Medical bills and future medical expenses
  • Physical therapy
  • Transportation to and from medical appointments
  • Reasonable out-of-pocket expenses
  • Lost wages while recovering
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress

Your lawyer will help you document your damages and work with experts, if necessary, to fight for the full compensation you are owed. 

How Long Do I Have to File a Whiplash Injury Lawsuit in Colorado?

Your time to file a personal injury lawsuit is limited. In Colorado, the statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of your injury. Cases involving a motor vehicle accident have a longer deadline of three years. 

It’s critical to take action quickly to preserve your right to compensation. If you miss this deadline, you will be barred from recovering the money you deserve. Waiting too long can also make it harder to gather critical evidence to prove your case. 

Contact Our Denver Personal Injury Lawyers For a Free Consultation To Discuss Your Whiplash Case

Have you suffered a serious whiplash injury in Denver, CO? You may be entitled to compensation, and our Denver personal injury attorneys are here to help. 

At Zaner Harden Personal Injury Lawyers, we have decades of combined legal experience helping accident victims like you. We have recovered tens of millions in settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients. 

Call (720) 613-9706 today to schedule a free case review to discuss your legal options and what we can do for you. 

Where We Are

We are located across the street from Union Station in downtown Denver and offer validated parking for all our clients. We also have offices in Boulder and Colorado Springs.