Car Accidents and Whiplash: The Relationship

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Whiplash injuries sustained in auto accidents can develop differently based on various factors, including the collision’s angle. Whiplash injuries typically come from rear-end collisions and can be thought of as creating in five stages:

  1. The seat pushes up against the back of the car after being struck from behind. The cervical spine is then compressed upward against the skull by pressures that are put onto the spine.
  2.  The head, which is not yet in contact with the seat, does not move forward at the same rate as the body, which is already in contact with it. As a result, the cervical spine’s natural C-shape (lordosis curve) briefly changes to an unnatural S-shape. Intervertebral discs, facet joints, and other neck tissues may be harmed by aberrant compression and shearing stresses.
  3.  The head of the passenger crashes against the moving seat. As the neck stretches quickly rearward, soft tissues towards the front of the neck are susceptible to sustaining damage.
  4.  The head bounces off the seat and starts to go forward more quickly.
  5.  The neck quickly flexes as the head whips forward, and the seatbelt restrains the body (possibly saving far more severe damage). Here, soft tissues at the back of the neck are susceptible to damage.
  6.  The mechanism of a whiplash injury can also cause a concussion because of the forces involved and how they affect the brain.

Chronic effects of whiplash

Only a small portion of individuals experience chronic pain after whiplash, which can last for six months or longer. The patient may find it harder to enjoy various activities and do many daily tasks if they have chronic pain. In some instances, joint, disc, or ligament damage is the root cause of the persistent discomfort. Some people never discover the reason behind their chronic pain. Even temporarily diminished physical or mental capabilities brought on by a whiplash injury might lead to greater social isolation. Individuals with severe stiffness and pain should avoid driving until they can quickly swivel their heads without experiencing pain.


Seeking prompt treatment for a whiplash injury is key to quick recovery. To avoid developing chronic pain, it is advised to get yourself checked by your doctor as soon as possible after your accident. Whiplash and concussions are two injuries that can be a bit hard to pinpoint, especially if they are not of a greater magnitude. However, their after-effects can worsen without treatment. 

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The personal injury lawyers at McNally Gervan LLP understand the system and are here to help concussion victims in Ottawa get the support they need and the benefits they deserve.

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Legal assistance with Lawyers in Ottawa

If you have a question or need assistance, our team of personal injury lawyers is here to help. We know every personal injury case is unique and we work hard to make sure our clients are fairly compensated.

If you are unable to travel to our downtown Ottawa office, one of our lawyers or paralegals can come to meet you at your home or some other convenient location. During the free consultation, we will get to know you and to understand the nature of your injuries, as well as the impact the accident is having on you and your family. Contact us for a free consultation with a lawyer with complete knowledge about car accident claims. We know it’s personal.