Whiplash Injuries Caused by Rear-End Collisions in Georgia
Whiplash Injuries Are a Very Real Injury in Georgia
Many insurance companies today associate the word “whiplash” with non-serious injuries. This is largely due to the fact that whiplash injuries can be extremely difficult to diagnose, butthe stigma associated with whiplash can take away from the thousands who receive very real neck injuries each year. The term "whiplash" is generally associated with any injury to the soft tissue of the cervical spine including muscles, nerves, ligaments and discs. At one point in history when many people traveled by railcar, an injury to the neck which occurred following a minor collision between train cars was known as “railway spine”—a term which suffered the same negative connotation as “whiplash.” In truth, whiplash is a very real, very painful and potentially debilitating injury. In fact, Harvard Medical Research suggests that as many as 10% of all whiplash injuries can lead to permanent disability with chronic pain.
Little Damage to Vehicles Does Not Mean Little Damage to Passengers
While insurance companies and defense lawyers promote the notion that if there is little damage to the vehicles, then no significant injury to the vehicle’s passengers is possible, this is simply not true. Some studies have shown that the likelihood of injury actually increases when there is little damage to the vehicles. The real potential for injury relates to the change in velocity of the passengers with respect to the amount of time in which this change occurs. In other words, even at a very low speed of ten mph, the change in velocity—crash time—could be as little as a third of a second which is equal to approximately 1.9 g’s (the measurement of acceleration felt as weight). To put that into perspective, the astronauts in the space shuttle are subject to only about .24 g’s of acceleration.
What Happens in a Rear-End Accident
Therefore, even during a relatively low-speed rear-impact collision, the front vehicle is pushed very rapidly forward from the initial impact. The automobile seat pushes the passenger’s body forward at the same rate of speed, but because the head lacks the same support as the body, the neck is compressed and there is a rapid forward bend of the neck followed by an equally rapid backward bend. This “snapping” motion occurs before the head actually makes contact with the seat’s head restraint.
This violent snapping motion can not only force the vertebrae from normal positions, it can lead to serious levels of pain which radiate through the entire upper body and can greatly reduce range of motion. The level of injury will depend on the size of both vehicles, the speed of the collision, the type of headrests installed in the vehicle and whether they were properly adjusted for the driver or passengers, awareness of the impending collision and the prior medical condition of those involved.
Symptoms of Whiplash
The most common symptoms of whiplash include stiffness or tenderness in the neck area, chronic headaches, vertigo or dizziness, nausea, jaw pain, shoulder or arm pain, vision blurriness or numbness and tingling in the back, shoulders or arms. Particularly severe cases of whiplash can lead to memory loss, irritability, depression, insomnia, extreme fatigue, difficulty swallowing and other negative cognitive symptoms. While the injuries may not show up on x-rays, MRI’s or CT scans, a thorough patient history combined with a comprehensive physical exam can diagnose whiplash injuries. Pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants may be the only treatment available to those with whiplash injuries although chiropractic care can offer positive results for many. In some cases, once the soft tissue of the neck is injured, the patient’s health may never be restored to anything resembling “normal,” again. Severely injured soft tissue can generate pain for the rest of the patient’s life and damage done to the ligaments can cause arthritis conditions to develop even years later.
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If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of accident caused by someone else's negligence, contact Montlick & Associates today for your free consultation with an attorney from our experienced car accident law firm in Georgia. Montlick & Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over 36 years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
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Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (800) LAW-NEED
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333