Whiplash: It’s A Real Personal Injury.

May 6, 2013

Nearly every Buffalo resident has heard this personal injury cliché:  at a stoplight on some city street, a driver lightly bumps the car ahead of him.  The other driver immediately jumps out of his car, holding his neck and shouting, “Whiplash!”  He then sues the first driver for causing a personal injury.

It is unfortunate the whiplash has become a word so associated with false claims of injury.  Whiplash is an actual medical term used to describe an injury to the neck caused by over-extension.  It happens when a person’s body is pushed violently forward, but the head remains momentarily behind.  This causes the head to rock up and back, which may lead to stretching or tearing of muscles and ligaments in the neck.

These damaged neck muscles then respond to the injury by contracting.  The purpose of this is to bring the head forward again and prevent excessive injury.  Unfortunately, in situations such as automobile accidents where the body is rapidly slowing down after the initial impact, the head can be violently rocked forward by the muscles response to the initial injury, causing even more stretching and tearing of muscles and ligaments in the neck.

Obviously, this type of personal injury can easily occur in a rear-end collision and, when present, should be taken seriously.  If you experience neck pain following a motor vehicle accident, you should see your doctor.  If you need legal advice, please feel free to call my office at 716-400-0000.  We would be happy to help you.