Side Effects of Whiplash After a Car Accident


  • Car accidents can cause whiplash, a type of injury to the head, neck, and back with many possible side effects.
  • Treating whiplash early is important for avoiding long-term complications and chronic conditions.
  • It can be difficult to recover the compensation you’re owed for your medical bills and other accident-related expenses, especially if the at-fault party is uncooperative or uninsured.
  • A car accident attorney can fight by your side, help you defend your rights, and obtain compensation.

After a car accident, you may feel totally fine, walking away without any obvious injuries like cuts or broken bones. Then, a few hours or days later, your neck and back are stiff and in pain. You have just experienced one of the most common effects of a car accident: whiplash.

While you may be tempted to take a few over-the-counter pain relievers and forget about it, that can be risky. Whiplash can cause a wide range of effects on the body, some of them serious. You deserve to have all of your injuries treated–and compensated for.

If you’re experiencing neck pain after a car accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia. Our experienced car accident attorneys understand the impact these events can have on your life and your finances, and we want to help. Give us a call at (800) 320-HELP or contact us online to get started.

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is often treated as a single condition, but it’s actually a range of injuries to the neck and back caused when the head is suddenly jerked backward and forwards, like in a rear-end collision.

This rapid back-and-forth movement stretches the soft tissues in the neck beyond their normal range of motion, potentially causing damage to muscles, ligaments, tendons, or discs, along with other potential side effects.

Whiplash Type Injuries Are Typically Caused By the following

Whiplash can cause a wide range of side effects. These injuries tend to affect the soft tissues of the neck and back, but the whiplash motion can cause pain and injuries in other body parts as well.

Typical injuries caused by whiplash can include:

  • Neck strain or sprain
  • Disc herniation
  • Concussions and other brain injuries
  • Shoulder and upper back injuries

Some of the ways whiplash affects the body are still not fully understood by medical science. After a car accident, ask your doctor about possible whiplash-related injuries you may have suffered.

You May Not Notice Whiplash Right Away

In the aftermath of a car accident, with adrenaline and other stress hormones pumping, you may not notice your whiplash-related injuries right away. Your body can temporarily mask pain as a survival mechanism, but when those effects wear off, the pain comes right back.

With this in mind, it’s crucial to seek medical attention after a car accident, even if you don’t feel any pain or notice any injuries. You may have lingering side effects you aren’t aware of, and prompt treatment can help you fully recover in the long term.

Short-Term Side Effects of Whiplash After a Car Accident

Within a few days of the injury, you may begin to experience the short-term symptoms of whiplash. These may include:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Shoulder and upper back pain
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • Difficulty sleeping

These effects usually heal within a few weeks following a basic treatment plan. However, it’s very possible that whiplash can cause lasting complications.

Long-Term Effects of Whiplash Complications

Most people with whiplash will improve within a few weeks without any lasting effects of the injury. Unfortunately, others may continue to experience whiplash symptoms for months or even years after the initial injury. Notably, this can include chronic pain, moodiness, headaches, and persistent fatigue.

Treat Whiplash After a Car Accident

Whiplash is often thought of as something that will heal on its own, but proper treatment can be a major help to the healing process. Seeking medical care is an essential step after a car accident. Common approaches to treating whiplash include:

  • Rest: In the first few days after a car accident, it may be helpful to rest the neck and back and avoid activities that could exacerbate your injury.
  • Pain medication: Both over-the-counter pain relievers and stronger prescriptions may be used to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation from whiplash.
  • Physical therapy: An exercise program designed by a physical therapist can help reduce stiffness and return the neck and back to their normal range of motion.
  • Neck braces: In some extreme cases, a neck brace may be used for a short period of time to support the neck muscles and ligaments while they heal.
  • Mental health treatment: Victims of whiplash may experience psychological symptoms such as depression or anxiety. Counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other mental health treatments can help manage these symptoms.

Whiplash treatment is not always taken seriously by patients, especially if they see the injury as relatively minor. However, it’s very important to seek medical treatment right away and follow the doctor’s recommendations.

Whiplash can heal very quickly, and with no long-term effects, as long as it’s properly treated. Early intervention is key to avoid developing chronic conditions.

Legal Options for Victims of Whiplash

Medical bills and lost wages can create a serious financial burden for people who have developed whiplash symptoms after a car accident. Victims of whiplash deserve to have their injuries treated and have multiple options for pursuing compensation.

Some of these legal options include:

  • No-fault insurance benefits, like the personal injury protection coverage required in Florida, can guarantee compensation for medical expenses and lost wages.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage can help car accident victims receive compensation through their own insurance carrier if the at-fault party is uninsured.
  • If the at-fault driver was behaving recklessly or negligently, a personal injury claim can be filed against them or their insurance provider.
  • If another party besides the at-fault driver is responsible for the auto accident, like the manufacturer of a defective vehicle part, additional legal action may be taken against them.

Every case is different. Depending on the unique circumstances of your auto accident, you may have options for pursuing compensation other than the ones listed here. Consult with an experienced car accident attorney for a personalized evaluation of your case and help dealing with insurance companies.

How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help With Your Whiplash Claim

In ideal circumstances, you may not need the help of a car accident attorney. However, insurance companies aren’t always cooperative and the legal system can be confusing and disorienting.

A car accident attorney can provide invaluable assistance to victims of whiplash and other car accident injuries by:

  • Evaluating your case and your legal options for pursuing compensation
  • Gathering evidence for a stronger claim
  • Negotiating with insurance companies for a fair settlement
  • Proving liability and holding the responsible parties accountable
  • Representing you in court if necessary

A car accident attorney can significantly improve your chances of a successful outcome, and provide a much less stressful experience while you’re pursuing the compensation you deserve.

You Can Count on Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia

The aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming, especially if you’re facing injuries like whiplash. The physical, emotional, and financial impact can be significant, and pursuing compensation is often complicated and frustrating. WHG can guide you through each step of filing a car accident claim.

We want you to know that you’re not alone. The expert personal injury attorneys at Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia are here to help you receive the compensation you need for your whiplash injury. With our compassionate approach and proven track record of winning cases, we will fight by your side.

Reach out to the team at WHG for a free consultation. You can contact us online or call us at (800) 320-HELP.

Frequently Asked Questions

What damages can I recover after a car accident?

Victims of auto accidents can receive compensation for damages such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of life enjoyment
  • Property damage

Consult with a car accident lawyer for a personalized evaluation of the damages you may be able to recover.

What happens if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?

If the at-fault party doesn’t have car insurance, don’t give up. You may be covered by personal injury protection or uninsured motorist coverage with your own insurance company. If this coverage is insufficient for your medical bills and other expenses, you can pursue legal action.

Both of these strategies can be complicated. You may require help from an experienced car accident attorney.

How long do I have to file an auto accident claim for my whiplash injury?

Each state sets its own rules about how much time you have to file a personal injury claim. In Florida, state statute gives an injured party two years from the day they were injured, or when they should have realized they were injured, to bring a personal injury case against the negligent party.

No Win, No Fee Commitment

Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia is committed to helping you rebuild your life after a hardship. We are not just your legal team—we are your allies, your partners, and your advocates. We will do everything we can to handle your case with compassion and care, and to get you the results you need!

“And for every fight we take on, know this…we are doing everything we can to make sure we win!”

— Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia

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About the Author

Adam Werner is a partner and practicing attorney at WHG. He specializes in personal injury cases, workers’ compensation claims, and veteran disability benefits. He routinely writes about personal injury and workers comp topics for the Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia blog

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