How Long Does Whiplash Last After a Car Accident?

How Long Does Whiplash Last After a Car Accident?

Whiplash is a neck injury that is caused by a sudden jerking motion, like a car accident. Whiplash can damage the neck ligaments, nerve roots, vertebrae, and spinal discs, causing painful symptoms that usually appear within 24 hours after the accident.  

The time it takes for whiplash to heal varies from person to person. Some cases can resolve within six weeks of the injury, but other cases can cause pain for 10 years or even for the rest of the victim’s life.  

If you or someone you love has developed whiplash because of a car accident that was little or no fault of your own, you may be entitled to compensation. A car accident lawyer from Ellis Injury Law in Los Angeles can help you get justice for your suffering and losses.  

What is whiplash?  

Whiplash is officially described as a cervical hyperextension or acceleration flexion-extension injury. In other words, whiplash is an injury caused by a forceful and fast back and forth jerk or movement of the head and neck, like the cracking of a whip. Whiplash is most commonly seen in car accidents, specifically rear-end collisions, but can also be caused by sports accidents and physical altercations.  

Whipping your head back and forth might not seem to be a big deal, but it’s vital not to underestimate the potential dangers of a whiplash injury. Whiplash can sometimes cause traumatic brain injuries and even paralysis if left undiagnosed and untreated.  

Whiplash symptoms  

If you’ve been in a car accident you need to be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of a whiplash injury. Whiplash symptoms may vary due to the nature of the injury. For example, if the jerking movement caused damage to the hard tissue in the neck the symptoms will be different than if it damaged the soft tissues. However, the most common whiplash symptoms include: 

  • Neck stiffness and pain  
  • Blurred vision  
  • Headache  
  • Dizziness 
  • Fatigue  

More severe cases of whiplash can also cause:  

  • Ringing in the ears 
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering  
  • Irritability  
  • Trouble sleeping  
  • Chronic head, neck or shoulder pain  

It’s vital that you seek medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident as the symptoms of whiplash might not manifest right away. The possible side effects of untreated whiplash are severe, so it’s important for your doctor to rule our herniated discs, broken bones, or other possible injuries to the neck and back.  

Doctors often prescribe x-rays, MRIs or CT scans to diagnose whiplash and its possible side-effects. These tests can be expensive, but the car accident lawyers at Ellis Injury Law can help you get compensation for these and other medical costs you may accrue from the accident.  

How long does whiplash last after a car accident?  

The time it takes for whiplash symptoms to resolve after an injury from a car accident differs from person to person, however, the initial level of pain felt within the first three weeks after the accident can be a good indicator for how long the recovery will take. For example, a person that reports severe pain initially has a lower chance of fully recovering. In fact, many people that have decreased neck movement capability after a whiplash injury are still disabled up to one year after the accident.  

Whiplash injuries can also be exacerbated by preexisting conditions. Neck arthritis, headaches, and neck pain can create longer recovery times or even chronic whiplash pain. Plus, previous whiplash injuries often increase the risk of re-injury in the future.  

Still, others experience chronic neck pain, backaches, and headaches for years following the whiplash injury. This chronic pain is often traced back to initial damage to the neck ligaments, joints, and discs from the whiplash.  

What can you do about your whiplash? 

Whiplash injuries from car accidents are sadly all too common in Los Angeles, leaving many people with chronic pain, difficulty moving, missed work, and loss of income.  

If you’ve suffered because of a whiplash injury, you don’t have to suffer alone. Ellis Injury Law car accident attorneys can help you seek compensation for your losses in a personal injury case.  We have vast experience with whiplash injury compensation claims and are ready to put our expertise to good use helping you get justice. Call today for a free initial consultation.