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Is Whiplash A Real Injury?

Nearly everyone in New Orleans has heard this personal injury cliché:  a driver lightly bumps into the car ahead of her at a stop sign, and the other driver springs out of the car, holding his neck and shouting, “Whiplash!”  He then files a personal injury lawsuit based on his “injury.”

But whiplash is not a made up medical term.  It is a term used in the medical field to refer to a hyperextension or over-extension injury to the neck.  For people who actually suffer from whiplash, it is unfortunate that the word has become so strongly associated with false claims of injury.  

The cause of whiplash is thought to be the snapping of the head up and back when a person’s body is pushed violently forward.  This may lead to stretching or tearing of some muscles and ligaments in the neck.

In response to this initial injury the body reacts by having the neck muscles contract, bringing the head forward again in an effort to prevent excessive injury.  Unfortunately, in situations such as automobile accidents where the body is rapidly decelerating, this can rock the head violently forward causing additional damage to the neck.

Whiplash can easily occur in a motor vehicle accident and should be taken seriously.  If you have been injured in a car accident, please feel free to call our office at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.  We would be happy to help you.