What Is The Difference Between Whiplash And A Concussion?

What Is The Difference Between Whiplash And A Concussion?
What Is The Difference Between Whiplash And A Concussion?

Whiplash and concussions are two of the most common injuries after a car accident occurs. It may be difficult to self-diagnose, as both of these injuries can share similar symptoms including headaches, memory problems and neck pain. While we always recommend seeing a medical professional for a formal diagnosis, let’s explore the differences between these two conditions.

What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs from forceful back and forth movement of the neck, much like the cracking of a whip. This type of injury is often seen in rear-end car accidents, but can occur during any type of car accident.

Symptoms of whiplash can include:

  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Worsening of pain with neck movement
  • Loss of range of motion in the neck
  • Headache, most commonly starting at the base of the neck
  • Tenderness in the shoulder, back, or upper arms
  • Tingling or numbness in arms
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

Most symptoms of whiplash will present themselves within days of the accident, and will likely go away in time with rest and medication, some people can suffer from chronic whiplash-associated disorder, or WAD, which can last for years after the initial injury. Unfortunately, about 50% of people will never fully recover from whiplash after a car accident or other accident.

What Is A Concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that is caused by a blow to the head during a car accident. Some concussions can cause you to temporarily lose consciousness, but most will not.

Symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Headache
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Blurry vision
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion or feeling “foggy”
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Slurred speech

Symptoms in children may look slightly different than in adults. Here are a few things to look for if you believe your child has experienced head trauma in the form of a concussion:

  • Dazed appearance
  • Listlessness
  • Irritability and crankiness
  • Loss of balance
  • Excessive crying
  • Change in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Lack of interest in toys
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

While most individuals recover from a concussion within a short period, some people can develop post-concussion syndrome (PCS). At least 30% of concussion victims can develop PCS, which can last for months or even years after your car crash.

Can I Have A Concussion and Whiplash From The Same Car Accident?

Even though the two injuries are different, their causes and symptoms can be very similar. The same jerking or whipping motion caused by a car accident can cause damage to both tendons and the brain. Depending on the severity of your accident, it can be extremely common to suffer from both whiplash and a concussion.

What Should I Do If I Suspect I Have A Concussion or Whiplash?

If you suspect that you may have either whiplash, a concussion, or both after a car accident, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. While your symptoms may not be immediately present due to the adrenaline from the accident, a medical professional will be able to adequately diagnose any injuries resulting from the crash.

Additionally, any notes from a medical professional will become powerful evidence if you decide to file a personal injury claim for your injuries. When you visit a medical provider after the accident, they should note any symptoms, what caused them, your recovery timeline and your ability to work or complete tasks. Your attorney will be able to use this information to determine any damages you may be owed based on the severity of your injuries.

When Should I Consult A Car Accident Attorney?

When someone else’s negligence causes your concussion or whiplash, you have the right to demand compensation. However, these types of claims can be difficult, as some insurance companies are skeptical of any claims involving whiplash or concussions due to the lack of permanence in most cases.

Another reason is that diagnostic tests like MRIs or CT scans may not always show whiplash or concussions. Because these results look normal, insurance companies can try to minimize the payout for your case.

An experienced car accident attorney will understand the nuances of these types of cases and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. That’s where the attorneys at Cellino Law come in. Our team has decades of experience in whiplash and traumatic brain injuries resulting from someone else’s negligence. To request a free consultation with an attorney, contact us 24/7 at 800-555-5555.


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