Whiplash Injury


Whiplash X ray image
True color X-Ray film of the neck – front and side.
[Page updated: 01-15-2021

Unfortunately, if you’ve been in a car, bus, or boat accident, you probably jolted or jarred your neck, suffering some form of whiplash. The fragility of the human body and the neck, in particular, allows for such an injury to occur caused by the sheer force of a sudden stop or trauma, resulting in muscle swinging motion pulling your head/neck ligaments and bones rapidly compressing and pulling apart.

What Is A Whiplash Injury?

A whiplash injury remains associated with a quick, snapping, or whipping motion of a flexible object. Take your neck, for example; imagine it snapping back and forth in 2 directions all at once. That’s whiplash.

  • During a car accident, this movement mostly involves the head and neck’s motion in extension and flexion about the torso but can involve lateral moves.
  • Many medical experts say that “whiplash” is an oversimplification of the complex forces that occur.
  • Whiplash forces take place during rapid head acceleration. Sometimes this force is 2 to 3 times greater than the forces a vehicle undergoes. So naturally, this results in injury to the internal structures of your neck.

“Previous studies have described these as tensile, compressive, shear, and torque forces.”

Although whiplash most commonly occurs during a rear-end collision. But whiplash can happen with any impact at any place on the automobile or some other mechanism.

  • Head-on collisions can result in whiplash injury too.
  • “T-Bone” type accidents. Mainly, this happens either broadside of the vehicle gets impacted during a left-hand turn, resembling a “T.”  Even a relatively minor “fender bender” or accident with no visible damage can result in whiplash.

During any impact to an automobile, even at low speeds, the seats may move.  A seated person’s natural to moving forward or back is to push it back against the movement. But when the seated vehicle occupant violently comes to a halt, it drives the occupant’s head, neck, and shoulders forward, creating a snapping, whipping motion called “whiplash,” correctly describing the resulting physical lordosis injury.

  • Hyperextension of the neck can cause severe damage to the tissue. So this ends up resulting in a myriad of medical issues.

When suffering from such an injury, there is a need for immediate medical attention. Consultation with a legal expert to assess the road ahead is of utmost importance.

Is there a Relationship Between Whiplash Injury and Temporomandibular Disorders?

Most insurers (and therefore most personal injury law firms) dismiss whiplash claims as low value “soft tissue” cases.  The very term “soft tissue” (no broken bones) makes the insurance adjuster tell you that you have no case.

But whiplash can lead to:

Whiplash can :

  • Exacerbate a previous condition
  • Create a new ailment with lifelong consequences to a victim like you, your wife, kids, or parents.

Have Insurance Carriers Conditioned Attorneys To Think All Soft Tissue Cases Are Low Value?

Yes. We think so. Personal injury mills just want to settle for whatever they can, according to many consumers.

  • Insurers like to settle clear liability soft tissue cases between $4,000 and $5,000 to cover all your pain, suffering, attorney’s fees, and medical bills.

If it’s a minimum policy, your attorney may jump on it and move on to the next client. But is that fair to you? What about the relationship between whiplash and other ailments? What if you have a lifelong condition from that rear-ender?

Ehline Law Firm thinks the defendant should pony up $$ even if it’s a minimum insurance policy! They can pay out of pocket or risk a wage garnishment, judgment, etc.

  • But is your lawyer leaving money on the table due to a simple inability to understand medicine?

For example:

  • Whiplash injury.
  • Temporomandibular disorders.
  • Craniomandibular disorders all can arise from a low impact car accident.

What Is A Temporomandibular Disorder, And What Is Its Relationship To Whiplash?

One of the many types of long-term health implications of a soft tissue whiplash case could be TMD. In any event, there is much scientific evidence that a car accident with whiplash-like movements can bring on the onset of conditions like TMD.

Attorneys should not rule this out when searching for input codes for the Colossus liability insurance software.

  • TMD is a cluster of disorders characterized by pain in the preauricular area. TMDs show many standard features. The most common symptom shown right away is pain aggravated by chewing and related jaw functions.

What Are The Most Common Symptoms Of TMD?

Other symptoms of TMD can be:

  • Pain in your face.
  • Headaches.
  • Earaches.
  • Jaw ache.

Also, pain patients with these miserable conditions will regularly have limited movement of the jaw. Sometimes it makes noise described as clicking, popping, grating, or crepitus. (Source.)

What is a Craniomandibular Disorder, and What is its Relationship to Whiplash?

Craniomandibular disorders (CMD) are a series of clinical dysfunctions involving masticatory muscles. But it could also affect the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or both.

  • Science shows a strict relationship with other muscle-articular structures of your posture, neck, and head. (Source.)

If you notice symptoms like this after a car accident, lousy slip, fall, etc., you must immediately create a medical record. Next, you need to speak to a lawyer. In any event, the insurance industry will argue there is no relationship between your TMJ, etc., and the wreck.

But a medical expert hired by your lawyer may be able to show a causal connection and get your money for these injuries.

  • How much money can you get? Well, that all depends upon your attorney and how badly you are hurt.

Can Whiplash Cause Permanent, Excruciating Pain?

Spine Injury Car crash
Photo of a doctor reviewing a whiplash X-Ray with a Patient.

Yes, it does. And this is why you should not act so fast to take that first offer of the insurer. Sadly, car accident lawyers will reject cases involving “soft tissue” or “whiplash.” They say it does not rise to their damages threshold. But other lawyers will dig a little deeper and want to look at CT Scans or MRI’s before they reject your case.

And rightly so. Even soft tissue injuries can ruin a life. But qualified spine injury lawyers go the extra mile to rule this out before rejecting a case. Whiplash often causes permanent, excruciating pain.

Light Stimulus Test.

Chronic whiplash can result in neuropathic pain. Abnormal neural activity in the brain or spinal cord brings it forth—the nerves fire at a lower than usual threshold. Typical problems occur during stimulation or touching.

To a healthy person, this stimulus typically registers as a light pressure applied to the skin. But not so with individuals tainted with this terrible condition. But in their case, the skin getting stroked has become hypersensitive. Now it registers the light pressure as being painful.

Some patients with chronic whiplash have demonstrated symptoms of hypersensitivity. These patients also show permanent neuropathic pain with no cessation. Some patients solely have chronic whiplash. Others have permanent hypersensitivity. Sadly, this remains a long-term condition.

Healthcare professionals prescribe drugs for these types of pain, sometimes off label, despite the FDA approving these meds for use in other types of medical conditions.

  • Off-Label Pain, Drugs Are Expensive, and May Not Work.

There are many drugs commonly used for whiplash pain. All of them cost money. If you don’t have insurance, you can go broke. You need money from the person that harmed you for this medicine. Also, some have not become approved for pain management by the FDA. These include Klonopin, Cymbalta, Lyrica, Tegretol, and several others. Also, some proof exists that these drugs are ineffective for chronic whiplash treatment.

They are still frequently prescribed off-label and for other reasons. One of the primary treatments for chronic whiplash remains chiropractic care. Also, this currently accounts for therapy in about 36% of all whiplash victims. It focuses on the most natural and rapid type of healing for this medical condition.

Medical specialists, general practitioners, and acupuncturists treat the other 64% of chronic whiplash cases in the United States. Large and small studies have gotten published. The most important have dealt with the safety of chiropractic care. One of the reviews got done by the very famous and highly cited orthopedic surgeons in the UK. The doctors are named Gargan & Bannister.

The information from these peer studies is second to none. Case treatment for chronic whiplash still gets done by a significant percentage of mainstream healthcare professionals. But they should be using more efficient methods outlined by the below study.

In conclusion, whiplash can be far more severe than people think. Whiplash pain can become permanent and excruciating. So without proper treatment, it can worsen. Proper care remains very relevant. Often a lawyer will be necessary to enforce payments for medical care.

What Is Your Risk Of Whiplash? What Do Car Accident Statistics Show?

By far, car accidents are the primary way you get whiplash in the US.

  • Over 2.5 million people in the U.S. attended emergency rooms (ER) at hospitals in 2012.
  • Hospitals admitted at least 200,000 people like you during that same period in 2012.

What Are The Average Costs Of Hospitalization?

Believe it or not, the average cost of an ER visit is about $3,300.

But wait, there’s more:

  • What if the hospital admits overnight or longer? What does that cost?

Each hospitalization runs around $57,000 over your life. The best way to keep people safe and reduce medical costs is to prevent crashes from happening in the first place. With the advent of Uber, Lyft, and driver-less vehicles, we don’t see auto accidents lessening any time soon. Most symptoms of car accident-related whiplash tend to develop within 24 hours of injury. But some extreme cervical strain/sprain cases could get overlooked or go unnoticed by the victim or treating emergency physicians, especially when more visible severe traumatic injuries are present, including lacerations or broken bones. Due to the adrenaline rush and prescription pain killers, many victims go home from an automobile accident or E.R., shaken but feeling unhurt. But these people just injured in wrecks may awake the next morning or several hours later in severe, excruciating pain. And sometimes, post-accident, these victims will be afflicted with other distressing pain symptoms.

These may include:

  • Stiffness and pain in the neck area remain the most common symptom after a car crash. (But this pain can be coupled with a condition called torticollis)
  • Torticollis is a spasm in the cervical muscles, in bad cases, physically causing the head to tilt forward or to the side in a pronounced fashion.
  • Mid-back, shoulder(s), and arm pain emanating anywhere along the vertebral column can manifest itself in another part of your body.
  • Headaches are typically occurring at the base of the skull.
  • Difficulty concentrating or being irritable.
  • Numbness in one or both arms.
  • Blurred or double vision.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Memory problems.
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Dizziness.

Post Car-Crash Whiplash Can Be Very Serious.

Contrary to what insurance adjusters preach as gospel, whiplash is not a minor injury. Symptoms may persist for years, and they can cause secondary damage to your entire body’s inner workings. No doubt, whiplash can result in a lifetime of pain and suffering. Cost estimates for whiplash treatments exceed $40 billion per year. And this cost arises from the complexity and severity of treating symptoms alone. Also, a cure for chronic whiplash symptoms is not a reality as of yet. If you have whiplash, speak to an automobile accident attorney immediately, or risk blowing the statute of limitations, making time of the essence. Failing to follow the law means waiving your lawsuit rights permanently.

Are There Reliable Statistics On Soft Tissue Whiplash Car Accidents?

Whiplash is a common, painful injury. Most whiplash cases our law firm deals with occur as the result of an automobile accident. The impact on the driver or passenger’s head moves it forward and back. But the velocity is so violent, the neck goes beyond the usual range of motion and hyperextends. Sadly, this results in trauma and damage to the soft tissues. Also, the harm penetrates the muscles and significantly weaken them.

And it also affects the ligaments surrounding the cervical vertebrae. Of particular concern, whiplash may also cause nerve damage. But this may be transient or permanent, which is why this condition is almost always medically termed as “guarded.”

There is a lack of statistical data related to low speed or minor injury crash data on rear-ended vehicles in the USA. What is a low-speed accident, anyway?

Low-speed vehicle strikes:

  • At a delta-V, or speed change, less than or equal to 15 kilometers per hour.

While we await this data, we will continue to help your doctor, the jury, and courts prove the potential ‘whiplash’ injury risks in these minor crashes.

How Is Your Whiplash Injury Treated?

So what is the primary way to get better after you contract whiplash? Whiplash gets diagnosed with imaging studies, including X-rays. Other methods include Computerized Tomography. (“CT scan”). And another approach is Magnetic resonance imaging. (“MRI”). Modern modes of noninvasive treatment include physical therapy and therapeutic massage. And invasive treatment measures may include an array of treatments like ultrasound and even painkilling injections by a hypodermic needle.

These injections often include a concoction of numbing medications such as Lidocaine. And other therapy will usually entail the application of heat and ice to the neck, shoulder, and upper rhomboids.  Alternative pain treatment for whiplash may become supplemented with alternatives like Plasma Replacement Therapy, Prolotherapy, and even stem cell therapy. But mostly, doctors recommend over the counter pills like Motrin or Tylenol.

However, some egg-shell skull patients may be issued prescription pain relievers and muscle-relaxing drugs. But most doctors are scared of being sued or jailed for prescribing more powerful and effective opioid type chemicals. Ultimately, whiplash is not a medical condition you or your treating doctor want to face.

But typically, your treatment includes:

Whiplash Graphic
Diagram of whiplash snapping neck

How Does Ehline Law Firm Work With Neck Injury Victims?

First off, we treat you like a friend, not just a file. Ehline Law Firm’s ability to work with Los Angeles personal injury accident victims of accidents makes it one of the most respected injury firms. Our team of skilled attorneys specializes in whiplash injuries. So we can help with discovering the methods of recovery, both medical and financial.

Does Ehline Law Firm Fight the Insurance Companies for Victims?

We can work with or challenge your insurance company. Most of all, this is done to get the needed funds to cover your bills. After all, you may need cash both now and in the future.

Of particular interest, we can also work to get you:

  • Worker’s compensation payments
  • Unemployment or disability coverage payments

So if needed, we can find alternative sources to:

  • Pay your bills.
  • At the same time, we hold the wild party causing such an injury responsible.

Furthermore, we work to avoid such an incident from happening again. Ultimately, the attorneys at the Ehline Law Firm stop at nothing to get justice for our clients.

How Does Ehline Law Firm Work With Scientific Experts?

We can put together the causes of the accident, including the other party’s level of fault. Hence, we work with accident technicians.

First off, we work to determine if:

  • Speeding
  • Weather conditions
  • Light Signal Phasing

Or we look to see if some other factor or factors caused your whiplash and:

  • See whether alcohol or other factors were factors.
  • Advance pay for experts out of our pocket.

We do this to determine the responsibility for the crash. But all this directly relates to getting you the maximum compensation possible.

Does Ehline Work With The Medical Experts?

Whiplash attorneys

You bet we do. And if you have TMJ or TMD, we will fight to make sure your doctors document the cause of your conditions. We can find you, qualified medical professionals.

These people will ensure prompt and quality care and can front the money if needed. So Ehline Law Firm makes an extraordinary commitment to our clients.

  • Also, we work on contingency, meaning that if you don’t recover, we don’t get paid. Our Southern California experts can meet with you seven days a week at any time of day.

Hence, we will visit you at home or in the hospital if needed. Furthermore, we give you the advice and assistance that you need during your recovery. So you need every piece of support you can get. In conclusion, contact us today for a free, no-pressure sit-down. Speak with one of our legal experts. Call now (213) 596-9642.

Ehline Law Firm - Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC
Attorney at Law

Michael P. Ehline Esq,

Downtown Los Angeles Corporate Offices


Downtown Los Angeles Office
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Los Angeles, CA 90071
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Ehline Law Firm - Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC
Attorney at Law

Michael P. Ehline Esq,

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