What’s the Difference Between Whiplash and a Concussion?
A car accident can do a lot of damage to the body. Whiplash and concussions are among the most commonly reported injuries after a crash. These are two very common, but different, injuries. If you’re in an accident – particularly if you’re rear-ended – it’s possible to sustain one or both of these serious injuries. Here’s what you need to know about whiplash, concussions, and car accidents in Texas.
What is Whiplash?
The force of an accident can cause your head to snap back and forth rapidly. This rapid acceleration and deceleration cause the muscles and tissue in the shoulders and neck to overextend. The result: whiplash.
Whiplash most commonly occurs when you’re rear-ended by another vehicle, especially if you happen to be wearing a seatbelt. Your trunk is secured to the seat and braced by the restraint, but the momentum of the crash causes your head to jolt forward and then backward violently (or the other way around).
How Do I Know If I Have Whiplash?
The symptoms of whiplash don’t always manifest right away. In fact, it’s not uncommon to go a few days without noticing any signs of this neck strain injury. Here’s what you need to be on the lookout for if you’ve been in a car accident in Texas:
- Stiff neck
- Limited range of motion
- Pain moving the head from front to back or side to side, and
- Headaches at the base of the head.
Whiplash tends to heal on its own over time. Avoid overextension and try to take it easy. You can use ice to reduce pain and swelling. It’s a good idea to see a doctor and get their professional recommendations for treatment. They may advise the use of a neck brace to limit your range of motion or even prescribe some painkillers if you’re extremely uncomfortable.
What is a Concussion?
While whiplash affects the neck and shoulders, a concussion involves the head. A concussion is actually a type of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). It happens when you suffer a “bump, blow, or jolt” to the head or body.
Rapid back and forth movement can cause the brain to move around inside the skull. Under normal circumstances, the brain is surrounded by protective fluids, which cushion the organ and prevent it from making contact with the skull.
When you’re in a car accident, your head can hit the dashboard, window, or another part of the car. Or, the force of impact can cause your head to move back and forth rapidly. This motion – which can lead to whiplash – can also cause a concussion.
The brain can become damaged when it is jostled and/or makes contact with the hard bone of the skull. In fact, the trauma can even cause chemical changes in the brain or damage brain cells.
How Do I Know If I Have a Concussion?
Any brain injury is serious. This includes concussions, even though they tend to be classified as “mild” traumatic events. Signs of a concussion can begin to appear right away. Do not hesitate to seek medical treatment if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Memory problems and forgetfulness
- Feeling sluggish or groggy
- Clumsy movements
- Loss of consciousness
- Mood or behavioral changes, and
- Inability to answer questions.
Can’t remember how you got hurt? That’s a sign of a concussion. Get to the doctor right away. Prompt medical care can help to ensure that your concussion does not get worse and result in a more serious injury.
Damages Might Be Available If You’ve Been Injured in a Crash
Whether you’ve suffered whiplash, a concussion, or both injuries, the consequences can be overwhelming. You might need medical care and be forced to miss some time at work. Fortunately, compensation may be available, as long as someone else was primarily responsible for your accident.
When you file a personal injury lawsuit after a Texas car accident, you may be entitled to monetary damages for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages, and more.
Insurance companies and at-fault parties won’t make it easy to get the money you deserve. Hiring an experienced Texas car accident attorney to handle your case can make a huge difference. Your lawyer can work with experts to assess the value of your whiplash or concussion injuries and fight hard to secure meaningful compensation on your behalf.