In addition to the damage inflicted to the body of the vehicle rear-ended in a collision, such accidents also commonly cause injuries to the occupants. Perhaps the most common injury is whiplash, which also is known as a cervical sprain, cervical strain or hyperextension injury. This type of injury to the neck results when the neck suddenly moves in one direction and then moves in another direction, similar to the movement of a whip being cracked.
Whiplash injuries involve torn neck ligaments, which is called a sprain, as well as strained muscles and tendons surrounding the vertebrae of the spine and neck. Though whiplash can result from other causes, the injury most frequently results from the sudden impact of a motor vehicle accident.
The symptoms of a whiplash injury aren't always immediately identified, and everyone who suffers such an injury does not exhibit all of the possible symptoms. Typically, though, symptoms typically are noted in the area at the base of the skull and tend to be primarily musculoskeletal in nature, though two-thirds of those injured cite headaches as a symptom. Importantly, signs of injury frequently are not noticed until 2 to 48 hours after the injury occurs.
If someone is involved in a car accident, she should seek medical treatment immediately, even if symptoms are not immediately felt, as well as consider seeking legal counsel. Though recovery from whiplash sometimes takes only a few weeks, most injuries require months of medical treatment and therapy to heal. Some injuries endure for years. If negligent driving by another party caused an accident that in turn caused whiplash injuries, then the injured party may have recourse.