12/18/13 10:15AM , Accident Response, Auto Safety

What to do if your in an accident

Accident Article

What Happens During A Severe Car Crash?


Approximately 2.36 million people in the United States were injured in 2012 as a result of a car accident, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That number is up from 2.24 million in 2010 and 2.22 million in 2011. The type and severity of those injuries varied, of course, based on the type of accident, seat belt use, and other factors. However, in all years listed, the most common type of injury reported in severe car crashes involved neck sprains and strains, or, as itís more commonly referred to, whiplash. In fact, even as far back as 2007, neck injuries accounted for about 66 percent of all injury insurance claims, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).


A whiplash injury, which occurs most often after a rear-end accident, frequently wonít show for several days (even in a severe collision). That is why itís so important to see a doctor right after a car accident, even if you donít feel any pain. Itís best to immediately establish a medical record related to the collision, so you donít run the risk of having to prove the injuries are accident-related if the pain from a neck injury doesnít manifest right away.


Whiplash Symptoms

The severity of the whiplash injury will vary, of course. However, there are some common symptoms that you should be aware of, and report to your doctor right away. Even if there is no chance of litigation, itís important to proactively take care of the injury once symptoms develop. It could mean the difference between managing the symptoms while continuing to earn a living, and being unable to work and having to apply for social security disability. If you experience the following symptoms, get yourself checked out right away.


         Pain in your neck, upper chest, head and shoulders. The pain from a whiplash injury isnít confined exclusively to the neck. The pain radiates and extends to surrounding areas as well.

         Confined, or limited, range of neck and shoulder movement.

         Headaches that begin at the base of your skull and continue up to the forehead. This is a symptom found in more than two-thirds of whiplash injury patients, according to the American Chiropractic Association.

         Dizziness could be a symptom of whiplash, but also a head injury. If you experience chronic dizziness, see your doctor immediately.

         Irritability, fatigue, nervousness, blurred vision, and ringing in the ears are also symptoms of whiplash, though not as commonly experienced.


Treatment of Whiplash

Fortunately, whiplash is highly treatable, though the treatment depends of the severity of each case. Most commonly, the victim will take over-the-counter pain medication, such as those that contain aspirin, Naproxen or Acetaminophen, and the neck injury will heal on its own. However, in more severe car crashes, whiplash lingers and, in rare instances, can last months.

In the more serious cases of whiplash injury, the doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant to ease the pain and aid in sleep, as well as a cervical collar to provide neck support while the injuries heal. The doctor can also prescribe range of motion exercises to complete at home, or, if the injury is serious enough, he may even prescribe professional physical therapy treatment.


Whiplash injuries from a car accident are literally a pain in the neck (and shoulders, head and back). However, when you get yourself checked out right away after a car crash, and then follow up with your doctor by getting treated for symptoms as soon as they manifest, you will make a difference in healing time. It could even have an impact on your financial livelihood.