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Whiplash: Are You Affected?

Fulton County incurs the largest number of motor vehicle accidents in Georgia, along with one of the highest rates of vehicle crashes per miles driven. Whiplash is a common injury suffered in these accidents. When whiplash is suffered, consulting a qualified Atlanta personal injury attorney is a necessity. When an individual is struck from behind, the colliding vehicle will push the victim’s car forward. The body is restrained against the seat and moves forward along with the car. But an unrestrained neck will not move forward with the rest of the body, causing the neck to snap backward. Often, the momentum of snapping backward then propels the neck to snap forward with the rest of the body. Likewise, in a frontal collision, the force of the colliding vehicle will propel the victim’s neck forward. A seat belt will prevent the body from moving forward, but the unrestrained neck and head will be propelled forward, and if enough force is present, will afterward propel the neck backwards. A lap and shoulder harness, even when properly used, does not prevent these injuries.

What kind of damage does whiplash cause?

These sudden snapping motions of the neck can damage muscles, ligaments, soft tissue and cervical discs. Often, due to the shock of the collision, symptoms aren’t felt by the victim for days or sometimes weeks. Symptoms are not limited to a sore neck. Headaches may develop and it will usually be increasingly difficult to move the neck, either from side to side or up and down. In the most serious cases the spinal vertebrae or spinal disc will collapse the spinal cord, causing paralysis.

How do you know if you have whiplash?

The use of X-rays may be helpful in diagnosis, but because X-rays only display bones, they do not reveal ligament or soft tissue damage, nor do they reveal a bulging disc. CT Scans and MRI tests are more accurate in revealing whiplash injuries, as well as a thorough examination of the patient. Treatment can include the use of a neck brace and prescription pain killers in minor cases, to surgery for more severe cases. Treatment may last from several weeks to a number of months or longer. Since whiplash cases may have no symptoms immediately, but surface later, it is always recommended that a victim of a whiplash injury seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Seeking medical assistance early will help the medical provider determine the cause of the injury, its extent and prescribe a proper treatment plan. In the Atlanta area, those involved in a whiplash injury should seek legal advice at their earliest instance from a qualified Atlanta personal injury attorney.