Can You Get Whiplash From a Minor Car Accident?

Even in a minor car accident, victims can get injured and suffer serious injuries.

When a minor car accident happens, victims mostly ignore their physical condition, thinking that they are unharmed. However, the fact that they do not feel pain right away does not mean that they are not hurt. The body’s flight or fight response can make one feel invincible after a minor accident. It’s only when the adrenaline rush has subsided that neck pain and other symptoms of injuries usually appear.

Thus, when you get involved in a car accident, do not immediately conclude immediately you were not injured. Also, even if the property damage is negligible, make sure to include it in the report. If you declare that you are well and able, you might not be able to recover compensation.

What Is a Minor Car Accident?

A minor vehicular collision happens when two vehicles traveling at a slow speed collide with one another. A minor car accident is classified as a low-speed accident.

According to the basic speeding law, a driver must drive at a “careful and prudent” speed in all driving conditions. In addition, the car driver should be able to stop within a clear distance from the vehicle in front of it. Also, a vehicle should not exceed the speed limits defined under the Vehicle Code.

Rear-end collisions are examples of low-speed crashes. In a rear-end collision, the car at the back collides with the vehicle in front. The result is usually physical damage in the front and rear ends of the cars involved. A whiplash injury is prevalent in rear-end collisions.

Minor Injuries Vs. Serious Injuries in Personal Injury Cases

When injuries happen as a result of a car accident, they can either be minimal or severe. A serious injury often involves permanent damage to the victim. It can also result in broken bones, dismemberment, or loss of bodily functions. Major car crashes result in serious physical injuries.

On the other hand, minor car accidents often result in minimal injuries to the body or small damage to properties. Usually, the muscular or soft tissues are the ones affected in this type of car accident. Other minor injuries include neck pain and pain in the shoulders and muscles.

Whiplash Injury: Facts And Statistics

A whiplash is a form of neck injury affecting the soft tissues of the neck region. When a person’s body is hit with a sudden impact, the head and neck are forcibly moved back and forth or vice versa. Because of the unexpected force, the neck is stretched beyond its usual range of motion, thus resulting in a neck sprain.

In the United States, approximately 3 million cases of whiplash happen every year. Whiplash injuries are often the result of rear-end collisions, especially in vehicles running at a speed of 14 miles per hour or less. However, whiplash can also result from playing contact sports, physical abuse, slip or fall, and other types of traumas.

What Are Some Common Whiplash Symptoms And Signs?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, watch out for whiplash symptoms. Here are some signs that you need to look out for after a car accident:

Neck Pain or Stiffness

Pain in the neck is often due to strained or sprained muscles, ligaments, and tendons brought about by the overextension of the head and neck. Sudden force can cause the body to move forward and backward abruptly. This impact can cause misalignment to the neck structures and result in sharp neck pain, stiffness, neck movement loss, or muscular aches.

Stiffness and pain may develop 24 hours after the car accident. Nevertheless, a neck injury due to whiplash is expected to improve within the next few days.

Pain, Tingling, or Numbness In The Arms And Hand

Loss of feeling in the arms and legs is a symptom of whiplash. It is also usual for victims to experience a tingling sensation in their arms. Arms fatigue, dizziness, and arms tingling happen if the accident caused some damage to the neck or spinal column.

If the tingling and dizziness are due to a whiplash injury, most likely, there are pinched nerves and damage in the body due to intense pressure. If left untreated, the person can suffer from severe pain as well as other complications.


According to one study, it is common for people with whiplash injuries to suffer from headaches. Headaches caused by whiplash occur at the base of the skull. The degree of pain depends from person to person. Usually, the person may feel pain on one side of the head and towards the back. Others experience pain all over their heads. Headaches on the forehead or behind the eyes are also considered whiplash symptoms. Expect the condition to improve within a few weeks.


A study by the Oregon Health and Science University and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs showed that tinnitus could also result from head and neck injuries like whiplash.

Tinnitus is often described as a constant ringing in the ears. When it occurred after a car accident, it could be due to pressure in the head because of the sudden impact of the accident. Other symptoms that may accompany ringing in the ears include dizziness and loss of hearing.

If left untreated, tinnitus can also cause impairment in a person’s ability to concentrate. It can also cause confusion, depression, irritability, and sleep disturbance.

Other Related Symptoms

A whiplash injury may have symptoms similar to other conditions and medical problems. Other known whiplash symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Memory problems
  • Reduced range of motion in the neck
  • Tenderness in the upper body
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Lower back pain
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Chronic neck pain

Since the symptoms of whiplash are similar to other medical conditions, victims of car accidents should seek medical help as soon as possible.

Why Whiplash Injuries Are a Cause For Concern?

Most people who suffered whiplash are expected to feel better within a few weeks. However, there are times when victims continue to experience chronic pain longer than expected.

Recovery from whiplash injuries differs from one person to another. In fact, it is difficult to predict how a person can recover from the injury, although most cases respond well to conservative treatments.

However, some are more at risk of suffering a worse outcome from whiplash injuries, including:

  • Those who already had whiplash
  • Older age
  • With existing lower back or neck pain
  • One who has suffered a high-speed injury

If the symptoms linger on even after a few weeks, or if you belong to the high-risk category, have yourself checked to avoid serious complications.

Can You Claim Against The Other Driver’s Insurance Company Without Property Damage?

During a minor car accident, it is possible that the vehicle will not sustain any damage. The insurance company may use this to prevent you from filing a claim.

As mentioned earlier, whiplash is commonly sustained after rear-end collisions. Even if the vehicle may not have visible signs of damage, it is possible that the victims have suffered whiplash. Therefore, submitting yourself to a medical examination as soon as possible is important. A person injured in a car accident can claim compensation even without property damage.

Things To Do After An Auto Accident Where Whiplash Injuries Occur

Those who sustained whiplash injuries know how serious whiplash can be if medical attention is not immediately sought. Go directly to a medical doctor after a car accident, even if you are not experiencing neck pain or neck headache. If you have whiplash, symptoms will likely appear the following day.

When you go to the doctor for a physical examination, expect the following:

  • The doctor will ask you to move your head, arms, and neck.
  • You will be asked to perform several tasks so that the doctor can check the following:o   Range of motion of the shoulders and necko   Degree of motion that causes pain or increase in paino   Tenderness in shoulders, back, and necko   Reflexes, strength, and sensation in the limbs
  • The doctor may also order imaging tests like X-rays, computerized tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Doing this will rule out conditions that could be causing chronic neck pain.

The doctor may recommend treatment options for the patient. Among these include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Pain medications
  • Wearing a neck brace or neck collar

The treatment depends on how extreme the pain is and the gravity of the whiplash injury sustained by the patient.

After consulting a doctor, schedule a meeting with a car accident lawyer within a week after the incident. Discuss legal matters with the lawyer, particularly what the insurance company may ask concerning the car accident.

How Much Is Fair Compensation For Victims Who Suffered Whiplash?

Compensation payments for those who suffered whiplash are never the same. Different factors are considered, including the severity of the injury as well as the circumstances of the collision. Typically, the amount of settlement in car accidents is based on the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other factors that can affect the amount of settlement claim include:
    • Insurance coverage
    • Liability
    • Severity of injuries
    • State laws
    • Financial loss

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer For a Free Case Review.

If you are a victim of a car accident, it is best to work with an experienced auto injury attorney to help you with legal matters. Contact The Clark Law Office to help evaluate your case and tell you if you qualify for settlement.

Don’t hesitate to call us at (517)-347-6900, email us at, or fill out our online contact form for your questions about your case.  We offer a free consultation initially, and you pay no fees unless you win your injury case.

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