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Recognizing the Symptoms of Neck Injuries or Whiplash After a Car Accident

By Dansker & Aspromonte

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July 20, 2024

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The first question police dispatch or emergency responders will ask when responding to a car accident is, “Is anybody injured?” Unfortunately, the answer to that question isn’t always clear. It’s common to feel a bit stiff and achy immediately after the impact of a car accident and recover quickly. 

Whiplash is a non-medical term that describes a range of injuries to the neck associated with sudden abrupt movements of the neck. It mostly referred to injuries suffered by drivers and passengers in motor vehicles that were suddenly struck from behind causing the neck and head to be violently driven forward and backwards in a whipping type motion.

It’s also common for whiplash victims to be symptom-free at the accident site and then develop symptoms later. Usually, but not always, these symptoms emerge within 24 hours. Our car accident lawyers in New York recommend seeking immediate medical treatment.

Common Neck Injury or Whiplash Symptoms

You may be wondering how to tell if you have whiplash after an accident. The most common neck injury symptoms include:

  • Neck pain, especially pain that worsens with movement
  • Stiff neck
  • Decreased range of motion in the neck
  • Pain or tenderness in shoulders, arms, or upper back
  • Numbness or tingling in arms
  • Headache, especially headaches starting at the base of the skull
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

Other symptoms may also be associated with neck injuries after a car accident or other physically jarring event, though less frequently. It’s important to be aware of these less common symptoms, as someone who has been in a motor vehicle crash might not automatically connect them to the accident. Some examples include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Depression
  • Memory problems
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Disrupted sleep patterns

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What to Do if You’re Experiencing Neck Injury or Whiplash Symptoms

If you’re experiencing symptoms in the wake of a car accident, you should see a physician as soon as possible. Whether the problems you’re suffering are among the whiplash symptoms listed above or something else entirely, seeking medical care promptly is in your best interest.

Until you have consulted a physician, you can’t be sure about the cause of your pain, stiffness, or other symptoms. You may simply be shaken from the accident, and the symptoms may pass on their own. However, it’s possible that you have sustained a whiplash-type injury or something even more serious. 

How Long After an Accident Can Neck Injury or Whiplash Symptoms Appear?

The symptoms of a whiplash-type injury may not be apparent right away. In fact, it’s fairly common for the symptoms to set in hours or even days later, often 24 hours or more after the accident. This is why it is critical that you seek medical treatment and diagnosis right away, even if you don’t think the accident or your injuries are serious.

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How Do You Prove Whiplash?

The first step in proving that another party is liable for your medical bills after whiplash is proving that you have a whiplash-type injury to your neck in the first place. To this, it will be necessary to create a medical record of your injury, your symptoms, and any treatments you have received. You can do this by visiting the emergency room, your own doctor, or a doctor that is recommended by your lawyer.

In order to prove liability in a whiplash claim, your New York car accident attorney will need medical documentation, proof of any expenses that are related to the accident, and possibly eyewitness testimony. Your personal injury lawyer will use this evidence to prove that the liable party was negligent in their duty of care toward you, and this caused your injuries. 

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Medical Treatment & Legal Action

Some car accident injuries may be aggravated by a delay in treatment. While ensuring that you receive the appropriate medical treatment is of the utmost importance, seeking medical care in a timely manner is also vital if you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence. 

The longer you wait to seek medical care after the accident, the more difficult it may be to demonstrate that your injuries were related to the incident. Even if you can conclusively tie your injuries to the accident, your right to recover compensation may be reduced if your own failure to secure medical attention made your injuries worse and therefore more costly.

Talk to a New York Car Accident Lawyer About Your Neck or Whiplash Injury

If you’ve suffered a neck or other whiplash-type injuries in a car accident that was somebody else’s fault, find a car accident lawyer in New York as soon as possible. You may be entitled to recover medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, damage to your vehicle, and other damages associated with the accident.

The sooner you get advice from an experienced car accident attorney, the better position they will be in to build a strong case to maximize your compensation. Call 212-540-2984 or fill out the contact form on this page to get started.

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