First of all, just what is whiplash? In many traffic accidents, the suddenness and severity of the impact strains and even tears soft tissue in the neck. It is also possible that nerve damage and spinal disc damage will occur. In some crashes, ligaments tear or rupture, and cervical vertebrae may fracture. Any or all of these injuries are collectively referred to as whiplash.
Whatever the exact cause, any movement of the head that is out of sync with the body may cause whiplash. Hyper-extension is another term that refers to the bending of the neck beyond its normal range of motion.
Neck injuries short of hyper-extension may still result in damage to nerves. Therefore, even in seemingly modest crashes, the sudden bending of neck vertebrae may cause nerve irritation or damage. Sometimes, the initial injury symptoms are more subtle, and long-term problems like dizziness, headaches and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) eventually appear.
Neck injuries and insurance claims – The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that neck sprains and strains are a frequent factor in insurance claims. For example, in 2007, approximately 57 percent of personal injury insurance claims and 66 percent of bodily injury insurance claims included mention of neck injuries. Neck injuries were the most serious reported problems among 34 percent of personal injury claimants and 43 percent of bodily injury claimants.
In terms of dollars, the U.S. insurance industry paid out $8.8 billion for claims where neck injuries were the most serious injuries reported. The IIHS says that this is about 1/4 of all monies paid out for crash injuries.
If you or a loved one is in a traffic accident, it is important to reach out to medical and legal experts to ensure that proper treatment occurs and that legal rights are protected. Our firm offers a free consultation personal injury attorneys so that you can have your case evaluated from a legal perspective. To learn more, please contact us.