Can Whiplash Cause Brain Trauma?

Whiplash is one of the most common car accident-related injuries. On its own, whiplash can be incredibly painful, leading to neck stiffness, tenderness, and swelling. Whiplash can also lead to more serious injuries, including brain trauma.

Continue reading to learn more about how whiplash can lead to or coincide with traumatic brain injuries or contact our attorneys directly to discuss your potential case. If you were injured in a car accident in New Orleans or the surrounding areas, you could be entitled to financial compensation—and The Womac Law Firm can help.

Contact us today at (504) 470-3935 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team.

What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a sudden, rapid forward and backward movement of the neck—the term “whiplash” derives from the way the neck moves in a similar motion as a cracking whip. The injury itself actually comprises several injuries, including damage to the spine, spinal discs, muscles, connective tissues, ligaments, and nerves. In some cases, whiplash can even lead to concussions and other brain injuries.

Some of the symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Neck pain
  • Pain that worsens with movement
  • Stiffness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Tenderness in the neck, shoulders, or upper back
  • Pain that spreads to the shoulders, back, or arms
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling/numbness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

Some whiplash victims will also experience sensory issues, such as ringing in the ears or blurred vision. They may also suffer changes in sleeping patterns or moods and behaviors, as well as issues with memory and concentration.

What Types of Brain Trauma Can Whiplash Cause?

The most common type of brain injury caused by whiplash is a concussion. While many people believe that concussions are not that serious—and, in fact, they are categorized by the medical community as relatively “mild” traumatic brain injuries—concussions can still be very serious.

Even when a person doesn’t suffer a blow to the head during a car accident, the violent back-and-forth motion of the neck and head that results in whiplash can also cause the brain to move within the skull. In some cases, the brain may even slam against the inside of the skull, leading to serious trauma and damage.

While concussions range in severity, studies have shown that moderate to severe concussions can have lasting effects. Some of these include:

  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Depression
  • Changes in mood or behavior

In very severe cases, those who have experienced a concussion in the past may continue exhibiting related cognitive, sensory, and physical symptoms for years.

Whiplash-Related Concussion Symptoms

If you are experiencing any whiplash symptoms or signs of a whiplash-related concussion or brain injury, see a doctor right away. While whiplash and brain trauma can have serious, negative effects, treatment options are available. It is critical that you receive a proper diagnosis from a trained medical professional so that you can begin receiving necessary care.

Some of the most common symptoms of a whiplash-related concussion include:

  • Headache: Whiplash-related headaches often occur at the base of the skull or near the upper part of the neck. A post-concussive headache is often categorized by severe pain, nausea (with or without vomiting), light and sound sensitivity, and worsening pain with movement. Such headaches may be classified as migraines and may not appear for days or weeks after the accident.
  • Disorientation: Immediately following a concussion, you may experience disorientation, as well as confusion, dizziness, and an inability to remember the events leading up to the accident or the accident itself. You may temporarily lose consciousness and/or having a sensation of “coming to” after the accident.
  • Sensory Problems: Whiplash-related concussions can lead to sensory problems, such as ringing in the ears, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light, sound, smells, and movement. You may also experience problems with balance and/or coordination.
  • Changes in Sleep Patterns: Concussions, including those caused by or related to whiplash, can lead to changes in sleep patterns. You may feel fatigued or excessively drowsy. You may have difficulty waking up from sleep or, alternatively, you may struggle with insomnia and be unable to fall or stay asleep.
  • Behavioral Changes: Whiplash-related concussions can also lead to changes in mood and behavior. You may feel excessively irritable, anxious, or depressed. This can lead to problems in your relationships with others and other negative effects.

What to Do If You’ve Suffered Whiplash or Brain Trauma After an Accident

If you have noticed any signs of whiplash, a concussion, or any other brain trauma or bodily injury after a motor vehicle accident, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. If you notice emergency symptoms, go to the hospital and seek immediate medical attention.

It’s also important that you save any and all evidence you were able to obtain from the scene of the accident (such as pictures of the crash and/or your injuries), as well as medical records, expenses, and related documents. We also strongly recommend that you reach out to a personal injury lawyer who can help you determine if you have grounds for a car accident claim.

If someone else’s negligent or wrongful conduct caused the accident that left you injured, you have the right to pursue fair compensation for your losses under Louisiana personal injury law. Based in New Orleans, The Womac Law Firm can help you fully understand your options and begin immediately building a case on your behalf. We understand the many challenges you are facing, and we are ready to help.

Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our New Orleans car accident attorneys.

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