Whiplash is a rapid and forceful jolt to the neck that causes the neck to quickly fling back and forth. This motion is similar to cracking a whip. When many people think of whiplash, they think of the severe pain and stiffness it causes in the neck, and the requirement for many sufferers to wear a brace in that area. For many decades, scientists and medical professionals have been aware of the affects of whiplash on the cervical spine. Recently, some professionals have come to believe there may be a link between whiplash and mild traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Brain damage can occur with or without a direct blow to the head, and the back-and-forth motion that is characteristic of whiplash injuries can cause the brain to become compressed, twisted, or distorted inside the skull. There is still widespread debate and speculation about how much of a link there may be between whiplash and brain injuries. Many believe that it is largely dependent upon the speed at which the acceleration/deceleration motion occurs. The more rapid and forceful the jolt, the more likely that brain compression, twisting, and distortion will occur.
Symptoms of Whiplash Brain Injury
Those who suffer from whiplash and concurrent TBI can experience a wide range of symptoms. These may include:
Symptoms of whiplash do not always show up immediately. This is largely due to the nature of the events that cause this type of injury. When you experience a major jolt to the neck that causes a back-and-forth motion, it tends to accelerate your heart rate and create an adrenaline rush. This is similar to what an athlete experiences when they are injured in the middle of a game do not realize they are hurt until afterward. The same thing can happen to a whiplash injury victim, and it can sometimes take several hours or even a few days to start noticing the symptoms.
What Causes a Whiplash Brain Injury?
There are several ways a whiplash injury can occur, some of the most common causes include:
- Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of whiplash brain injury. The force of the collision on impact jolts the neck back and forth. This type of injury happens frequently to the lead driver in a rear-end collision.
- Whiplash brain injuries happen a lot in contact sports. Sometimes, this involves a direct blow to the head that thrusts the neck into a back and forth motion, such as with a helmet-to-helmet football collision. Other times, this happens without the head or neck experiencing a direct blow.
- Whiplash can occur when someone is punched or violently shaken. This type of injury is all-too-common in domestic abuse cases, and children under the age of four are most vulnerable to suffering a severe brain injury due to domestic violence.
- Falls can cause whiplash injuries if they happen at a rapid speed and the neck is thrown around before the individual reaches the ground. This could happen with an activity such as horseback riding when the horse makes a sudden stop that throws the rider to the ground.
Suffered a Whiplash Brain Injury? Speak with a Skilled Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or someone close to you has suffered a whiplash injury and you believe another party was at fault, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to review the case and determine your legal options. Alabama applies the “contributory negligence” legal doctrine in personal injury cases. This means that an injured party can be barred from recovering damages if they are found to be even 1% at-fault for the incident. With such a high bar to clear, you need strong legal counsel in your corner fighting hard to obtain full and fair compensation.
At Burge and Burge, we have extensive experience successfully pursuing accident injury cases, and we work closely with our clients to provide the skilled and personalized representation they need and deserve. For a free consultation with one of our seasoned attorneys, call us today at 205-251-9000, or send us a message through our online contact form.