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What is whiplash and how is it treated after car accidents?

Motor vehicle accidents in the Manassas area can lead to countless types of injuries, but perhaps one of the most well-known injuries linked to crashes is whiplash. Whiplash is an injury that affects the neck and can damage both the bone as well as soft tissue. Frequently, it is caused by a rapid combination of acceleration force and consequent deceleration. This movement forces a person's head to move back and forth very quickly and is most commonly encountered in an auto accident.

A rear-end collision is a particularly common precursor to whiplash, since this type of impact has all the classic elements of sudden forward and backward motion that can cause whiplash. Interestingly, the word "whiplash" was first commonly used in the 1920s; prior to 1928, the label of "railway spine" was applied to those who suffered similar neck injuries from train accidents.

While any injury to the neck or back area is cause for concern, whiplash is usually not threatening to the life of the victim. Still, the condition can be quite painful and can even partially disable someone. In addition, there are whiplash-related disorders which can be both chronic and debilitating. After a car crash, a driver or passenger may not notice signs or symptoms of whiplash immediately. However, once painful symptoms arrive they can linger for years after an incident.

As a form of personal injury, whiplash is a topic that Northern Virginia auto accident attorneys encounter very frequently. When a car is rear-ended, it is often the fault of the second driver in the vehicle behind the first. Speeding, inattentive driving, distractions in the car or even substance abuse can cause a negligent driver to plow into the back of another car and cause whiplash or worse. Those who have been rear-ended or otherwise impacted by a crash can seek compensation for medical expenses via an attorney familiar with whiplash and its indications.

Source: MedicineNet.com, "Whiplash," accessed Oct. 17, 2014

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