The Truth About Whiplash

Author: Russ Janklow

Whiplash is the common term for hyperextension, or an unexpected back and forth flexing of the neck. This injury often occurs when a car is rear-ended, and the impact of the crash propels a plaintiff's body forward while their heads stay in place. Many people have a false idea of whiplash – the word conjures up images of untrustworthy attorneys and fake symptoms. But hyperextension can be extremely painful and have long-term effects.


Whiplash and neck injuries, as mentioned above, are commonly associated with rear-end car accidents. However, even automobile accidents that don't involve rear-end impact can cause neck injuries. Slips, trips and falls, sports injuries, and even assaults can also cause whiplash.

Medical Treatment

Whiplash is complicated, and comes from a range of reasons beyond just impact. As a result, if you’ve been in an automobile accident you should seek medical treatment immediately if you feel even the slightest bit of pain. Signs of a neck injury can include neck pain, headache, blurred vision, shoulder arm or back pain, and dizziness. However, many conditions like whiplash do not immediately become evident after an accident, which is why it's important to immediately seek the advice of a physician. Neck injuries can have series consequences and lead to other health problems if left untreated.

Claims Process

The most important thing to consider when making a personal injury claim is to be well prepared. Keep a detailed record of the accident and your symptoms, as well as your medical treatment and expenses. These expenses can include damages like lost wages, prescription costs, or extra insurance payments. Insurance adjusters need proof for every dollar they reimburse you for, so the process will be much easier if you keep complete records from the start. Unfortunately, even if you keep detailed records, an insurance adjuster may still refuse to pay out your claim. That is why it is important to determine the specific laws and regulations regarding fault in your state with an experienced attorney.

Determining Fault

If it is determined that you have a medically documented case of whiplash resulting from an auto accident, it will be in your best interest to start the claim process as soon as possible. The process depends on your state of residence. If you live in a no-fault state, contact your personal insurance carrier. However, if you live in a comparative fault state, like South Dakota, you may be able to pursue a suit for personal injuries after an auto accident by contacting the offending driver's insurance company. In no-fault states, a lawsuit can be very difficult because of the very high damage requirements, but in states not governed by no-fault law, you may be able to file a lawsuit. Because of these location-based specifics, a local attorney, like the ones at Janklow Law, will be the most qualified to advise you on the best way to approach your case.