Many people think, often incorrectly, that whiplash is a made-up injury or one that is not serious. We just read an article in the Telegraph India about the death of a political figure who was killed, in what was described as a "minor traffic accident." Union minister Gopinath Munde cause of death was consistent with a "whiplash" injury, an injury to the cervical spinal bone in the neck.
While "whiplash" is not a medical term, it describes a hyperextension, hyperflexion or rotation of the neck injury when the neck suffers a sudden jerking or shipping of the head.
Whenever a vehicle is struck from behind, the person inside the vehicle can experience a whiplash injury when the head rapidly jerks forward and then backwards. In some cases, the cervical bone can be fractured which injures the spinal cord which controls a person's ability to breathe. Even if the bone is not fractured, any spinal injury may result in death.
Gopinath Munde may have suffered a serious spinal cord injury when his sedan was rear-ended by a hatchback. Munde was brought to the hospital only 15 minutes after the fender bender accident but he was not breathing and could not be revived.
Whiplash injures can be classified by severity using the following scale:
- Grade 0: no physical symptoms
- Grade 1: Sore neck and muscles but no physical signs of injury
- Grade 2: Sore neck and muscles, other physical symptoms along with musculoskeletal signs
- Grade 3: Sore neck and muscles and neurological signs of impairment
- Grade 4: Sore neck and muscles and fracture or dislocation of cervical spine. Most fatal cervical spine injuries occur at the C1 or C2.
More information about Whiplash
- People, especially younger adults, can also sustain a whiplash injury while playing sports.
- Whiplash injuries can occur when head rests are not fitted properly.
- Women suffer whiplash injuries at a higher rate than men as their neck muscles are less developed than men.
- People with existing neck injuries or congenital malformations may experience more serious injuries.
This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. Our law firm represents car accident victims and their family and we work hard to obtain compensation for damages.