Whiplash in Truck Accidents
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries associated with motor vehicle accidents. The Spine Research Institute of San Diego estimates that as many as three million people suffer from whiplash injuries every year. Studies also show that whiplash injuries can happen in accidents involving speeds of just 10 miles per hour. Now imagine the damage that can be done when that same accident involves an 80,000-pound commercial truck. The consequences can be devastating. If you are involved in an accident with a large truck and suffer whiplash injuries, talk to an experienced Dallas truck accident attorney today.
Large trucks are heavy and powerful for a reason. These machines are the workhorses of the American transit and shipping system. However, they are also dangerous pieces of equipment when operated by negligent or reckless drivers. When a large truck crashes into a smaller passenger vehicle, the occupants of the small vehicle often end up paying the price.
At The Benton Law Firm, we know how painful a whiplash injury can be and want to help you get the money you need for your recovery. If you are ready to learn more about your rights after a serious collision with a truck, contact The Benton Law Firm at (214) 777-7777 for a free consultation.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a term that describes an injury to the neck that happens when the neck and head are suddenly and forcefully thrown forward and then backward. This rapid movement can cause extreme stress to the cervical spine and the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support it.
Cases of whiplash can be relatively minor and include some localized pain that clears up within days. More severe cases of whiplash can cause extreme pain, loss of range of motion, and pain that spreads down into the arms. These complications can end up lasting weeks, sometimes even months, and require extensive therapy or treatment.
If a victim has had whiplash before, they are older, or the accident happens at a high rate of speed, they may be more prone to complications such as severe pain and a very limited range of motion. The recovery process may also be slow, lasting months, sometimes even years.
Symptoms of Whiplash
The symptoms of whiplash can be immediate, or they manifest slowly over the course of a few days. Generally, whiplash is characterized by pain and stiffness in the neck. For an accurate diagnosis, victims involved in collisions with a large truck should seek medical attention as soon as possible. A physician can identify if the neck pain is classic whiplash or something more serious like a broken vertebra.
- Typically, signs of whiplash include:
- Neck pain
- Stiffness in the neck
- Pain that worsens with movement of the neck
- Headaches, generally located at the back of the skull
- Tingling sensation or numbness in the arms or fingers
- Shoulder pain
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
Whiplash tends to cause damage to the soft tissues, ligaments, and sometimes tendons in the neck. A physician will generally conduct a physical examination to identify whether a victim has a whiplash injury. In some circumstances, x-rays, an MRI, or a CT scan may be requested to rule out broken vertebrae.
How Whiplash Happens in a Large Truck Collision
Whiplash injuries are often the result of rear-end collisions. When a large truck crashes into the back of a passenger car, the force of the impact can suddenly propel a victim’s body forward and then back again. While the accident itself may only take a matter of seconds, it can feel like time has suddenly slowed down for the victim. Yet, in the blink of an eye, the crash can take a serious physical toll. This is how a collision can cause a significant whiplash injury:
Immediately upon impact, the car seat the person is resting against pushes against the victim’s back. The force can compress the cervical spine, located in the neck, up towards the head.
The victim’s torso, which was against the car seat, then begins to propel forward. However, the head, which is typically not resting on any part of the seat, does not. When this happens, the cervical spine is placed into an unnatural position, which can damage discs in the spine, muscles, and ligaments.
Next, the head finally slams backward into the seat, which can then cause the head to bounce off the seat and accelerate forward. Depending on the force of the crash, this can happen once, or the head can bounce back and forth several times. While the seatbelt helps restrain the body, there is nothing to retrain the head from rocking back and forth.
The Mayo Clinic finds that one of the most common causes of whiplash is the rear-end car accident. However, other types of accidents involving large trucks can also cause the condition. Side-impact crashes, no-zone accidents, and underride collisions can also result in whiplash. If a truck has unsecured or improperly loaded cargo and a victim must suddenly stop to avoid being crushed by debris, they may also end up suffering from a case of whiplash.
Contact The Benton Law Firm Today
Whiplash is often played up for laughs as a movie trope, complete with a character decked out in a giant foam neck brace. However, whiplash is no laughing matter, it is a painful and sometimes debilitating condition. When a reckless or negligent truck driver collides with you and causes an accident, they need to be held responsible for their actions. That responsibility includes paying for your medical care and property damage.
Before you settle with a trucking company’s insurer, talk to the experienced Dallas truck accident team at The Benton Law Firm. We will review your situation and make sure that you are being offered fair compensation for your injuries. Call us today at (214) 777-7777 for a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Dallas truck accident attorney.