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Whiplash From Side Impact Collision

March 22, 2022Car Accidents

Side impact collisions also referred to as T-bone accidents can cause devastating injuries including whiplash. Whiplash is a very common neck injury caused in car accidents due to the high impact that forcefully moves the neck back and forth. Many victims suffer this type of injury, but it can often be overlooked because symptoms can take up to 24 hours to appear. 

Low-Speed Accidents Can Cause Whiplash

An accident at any speed can jerk the body in an unnatural manner. As a result, even a low-speed side impact collision can generate enough force to cause a whiplash injury. Factors besides speed that influence the potential for injuries, include the size and weight of the vehicles involved, the location of impact, the victim’s seat back height and its angle, head restraint location, and road conditions. 

Symptoms of a Whiplash Injury

See a doctor immediately after a side impact collision and be aware of the following possible symptoms of whiplash: 

  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Limited mobility
  • Dizziness
  • Inflammation in the neck, back, or shoulders
  • Tingling/numbness in the arms 

More severe symptoms are:

  • Ringing in the ears (Tinnitus) 
  • Blurred vision
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory issues 
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbances 

Because these symptoms can take time to manifest, seek medical attention again as soon as you begin to experience them. It is crucial to get a proper diagnosis right away and rule out other potential injuries. 

Treatment Options for Whiplash

Most whiplash victims must wear a soft cervical collar to immobilize the neck in the first two to three weeks after a side impact collision. Other treatment options include:

  • Rest, ice, and medications (e.g., pain, anti-inflammatory, and muscle relaxants)
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the neck muscles, decrease muscle spasms, and increase circulation. 
  • Cervical traction (done at home) and/or trigger point injections if symptoms continue for more than 2-4 weeks.

Surgical treatment is rarely necessary. However, if symptoms continue or worsen after six to eight weeks, and there is evidence of cervical disc damage, you may require surgical repair of the discs (discectomy).

What Compensation Am I Entitled to for a Whiplash Injury? 

Whiplash victims are entitled to recover the following types of compensation after a side impact accident caused by someone else’s negligence:

  • Current and future medical bills;
  • Current and future lost wages;
  • Diminished earning capacity if you are unable to earn the same level of income as before the accident due to your injury; 
  • Property damage (e.g., repairs or replacement of vehicle and other personal items);
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Loss of enjoyment of life;
  • Emotional distress, 
  • And more.

To calculate an estimated value for your whiplash injury claim will first involve adding up your economic damages, which are your actual financial losses (e.g., medical bills, lost income, property damage, etc.). Next, that total is often multiplied by a number typically between 1.5 and 5 to calculate your non-economic damages (e.g., pain and suffering, emotional distress). The more severe your whiplash injury, the higher the multiplier number used. 

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