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The causes of whiplash

Pennsylvania drivers and passengers who have been involved in rear-end collisions are likely to have experienced whiplash, a common injury suffered in these types of crashes. The injury occurs when the neck of an occupant in a stopped car quickly snaps backward and then forward when the stopped car is impacted from the rear by a moving vehicle. Whiplash can also occur when a slower vehicle is struck from behind by a faster one.

Studies conducted using advanced crash dummies and high-speed cameras have revealed that whiplash occurs when the bones in the upper and lower portions of the neck are forced into opposing hyperextension, forcing the cervical spine into an unnatural S-shape, which causes damage to the soft tissue that keeps the cervical vertebrae in place.

Following a rear-end crash, whiplash sufferers may experience a range of symptoms including pain and stiffness in the neck, dizziness, pain in the jaws and arms, blurry vision and ringing in the ears. In more severe whiplash cases, sufferers may develop whiplash-associated disorders, which can manifest as depression, insomnia, post-traumatic stress syndrome, stress, anxiety, frustration and anger.

Some car accident victims with diagnosed cases of whiplash may be required to take time off from work and seek medical treatment. When this happens, the costs of medical treatment and the value of lost wages may be recoverable from those parties found to be at fault for the crash. Since circumstances of car accidents will differ, the information provided here is not intended as legal advice. However, with the assistance of legal counsel, victims may be able to determine whether compensation for their damages is available.

Source: Medicine.Net, "What causes whiplash?", December 12, 2014

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