Key Points of This Article:
- Cervical acceleration/deceleration (CAD), more often referred to as whiplash, is a common car accident injury, especially in rear-end collisions.
- Whiplash is the term used to describe the neck’s motion when an impact causes the head to move quickly and in an opposite direction.
- In extreme cases, not only are the neck and spine damaged, but the brain can become bruised and lead to serious concussion or traumatic brain injury.
- When pursuing a car accident claim, collecting evidence, seeking a medical diagnosis, working with a Michigan car accident attorney, and keeping a record of the accident injury’s impact on your life helps maximize your personal injury compensation.
Whiplash Can Lead to Ongoing Head, Neck, and Back Injuries
Some of the most painful car accident injuries can happen when a person’s neck and discs, ligaments, nerves, and muscles become suddenly twisted and jolted or if their vehicle was whipped around during the crash. This is diagnosed as a cervical acceleration and deceleration sprain, also known as whiplash, a common soft-tissue injury that can also leave crash victims with other serious injuries to the spine, requiring surgeries such as discectomy and fusion of the vertebrae. These types of injuries are especially prevalent in a rear-end or side-impact crash. In some extreme cases, whiplash injuries can lead to an increased risk of concussion and even traumatic brain injury.
- Cerebral Hemorrhage and Traumatic Brain Injury: Tearing of brain tissue produces bleeding, which is immediately life-threatening.
- Concussion: Symptoms of brain trauma can include severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, blurred vision, tinnitus, and mood swings.
- Disk Damage: Severe whiplash can cause a disk to “slip,” putting pressure on the spinal cord and producing debilitating pain. Extended therapy and surgery will be required.
- Spinal Cord Damage: Spinal cord trauma produces numbness, weakness, and fatigue in the body below the point of injury.
- Torn Muscles and Ligaments: When the muscle or ligament is torn or ruptured, a person’s head will be completely immobilized. Surgery is generally required, with a recovery period of four to six months.
Whiplash injuries can also create new types of neck, shoulder, head, and back pain that present moments or days after an accident, depending on the severity. Ongoing doctor’s visits, rehabilitation, expensive extended therapy, and invasive surgeries are likely in these cases.
Watch for These Severe Whiplash Injury Signs and Symptoms
Even Michigan car and truck accidents that result in minor motor vehicle damage can cause severe head, neck, and back injuries that have lasting complications and present more serious problems. Someone may experience additional whiplash-related injuries with these symptoms:
- Exaggerated reflex activities or spasms
- Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity, and fertility
- Pain or an intense stinging sensation
- Difficulty breathing
- Dull, radiating pain from the neck to the arms
- Fatigue and dizziness
- Faint to intense headache
- Loss of movement
- Inability to feel heat, cold, and touch
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Memory loss and confusion
- Tenderness, weakness, tingling, and pain in the chest, arms, hands, legs, shoulders, and upper back
For someone battling whiplash discomfort, especially chronic headaches, other injuries and pain can easily be overlooked.
If You Suffered Whiplash, Be Aware of the Added Risk of Traumatic Brain Injury
According to the American Academy of Neurology, research studies have shown that those suffering from whiplash are also at an increased risk for traumatic brain injury. Many of the lasting symptoms of an undiagnosed whiplash injury are similar to those associated with brain injuries and can include:
- Changes in vision and hearing
- Neck pain
- Loss of appetite
- Depression and anxiety
- Upper extremity numbness and tingling
Even when whiplash injuries are treated, patients who live with a brain injury may continue to have chronic discomfort, stiffness in their entire body, and sleep disturbances that impact their daily lives, including their ability to work.
Whiplash Can Also Contribute to Chronic Lower Back Pain
As whiplash symptoms subside and you return to your daily routine, like heading back to work, serious pain and discomfort in the lower back and cervical spine can quickly present. The medical team at the University of Michigan’s Back & Pain Center reports accident victims can also suffer from lower back injuries in two areas of the spine that become especially vulnerable to whiplash injuries.
- Sacral Area: This area is located at the very bottom of the spine and consists of a flat, nearly triangular-shaped bone joined to the lumbar spine with a sacral hinge. In general, the spine’s sacral area is a stable area for the hips and typically does not move.
- Lower Back (Lumbar): The lower back is an almost elastic part of the spine that consists of five lumbar vertebrae held together by tendons, cushioned by soft discs. These vertebrae have different motion ranges depending on the person’s anatomy, but a considerable amount of natural movement is possible.
Any form of back pain after a car accident should be treated as soon as it is recognized, even if delayed by a few weeks or months.
Recovering Damages From Whiplash Injuries
Anyone who has experienced whiplash should seek medical care immediately. If you were not treated at the scene, get to an emergency room to be assessed by a medical professional. Not only will the initial visit reduce the chance of further health complications, but it will also provide you the proper documentation needed in making a case for the incident.
Depending on the exact circumstances of the accident, damages can cover:
- hospital bills
- costs associated with therapy and rehabilitation
- medication and pharmaceutical expenses
- lost wages or lost earning capacity
- pain and suffering
The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C., can help you get the compensation you deserve for your whiplash or serious car accident injury. No matter where you are, whether it be Detroit, Flint, Lansing, Southfield, or anywhere else in the state, we can be there quickly to assure you that we understand how hard it can be to heal. We want to help you recover so that you, as well as your whole family, is cared for physically, emotionally, and financially.
Michigan Car Accident Lawyers for Head, Neck, and Back Injuries
The Michigan auto accident attorneys at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. have a long history of representing clients battling whiplash-related injuries. And our greatest satisfaction comes from winning or settling a case and knowing our clients’ can rest easier knowing their medical care, lost wages, and other expenses are taken care of.
Please call to speak to a Michigan car and truck accident attorney at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) as soon as you are ready. And remember, you pay nothing until we settle your case.