Can You Get Whiplash From a Side Impact?

Car accidents | November 1, 2020

Whiplash Injuries in a Side-Impact Collision

Side-impact collisions, often referred to as T-bone collisions, can have a devastating effect on vehicle drivers and passengers. Side-impact collisions that occur at high speeds often cause devastating injuries because there is generally not much space between the impacting vehicle and the bodies of those in the vehicle being struck. Most people do not think of whiplash as an injury associated with T-bone collisions. However, side-impact collisions can certainly cause whiplash, and these injuries can result in a victim suffering from significant pain and needing extended medical care. If you have been involved in a side-impact accident, call our Chicago car accident lawyers today for a free consultation.

What Happens in a Side-Impact Collision?

Side impact collisions can happen in a variety of ways. Commonly, we see side-impact collisions occur due to:

  • Drivers failing to yield traffic when making left-hand turns
  • Drivers failing to stop at stop signs or traffic signals and striking vehicles in the intersection

Unfortunately, drivers and passengers inside of a vehicle do not have as much protection in the event they are involved in a side-impact collision. When a vehicle is struck from the rear or from the front, there is typically plenty of space between the occupants and the colliding vehicle (the engine compartment, the trunk, etc.). While vehicle safety concerning side-impact collisions has improved over the last few decades, these incidents still involve very little space between the occupants and the colliding vehicle.

Whiplash Injuries in a Side-Impact Collision

Whiplash injuries occur anytime a person’s body is suddenly jolted back and forth or side to side. While most people associate whiplash injuries with front or rear collisions, it is important to know that whiplash is certainly an injury a victim can incur in a side-impact collision. Some of the most common symptoms of whiplash include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Neck pain
  • Neck stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Loss of range of motion in the neck
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Pain or tenderness in the shoulders

Victims of side-impact collisions can also sustain other injuries aside from whiplash. This can include broken and dislocated bones, injuries to the spinal cord or back, lacerations or puncture wounds, internal organ damage or internal bleeding, and more.

Can You Get Whiplash From Low Impact Collision?

It is possible for a person to suffer a whiplash injury during a low-speed collision. This includes low-speed collisions that occur when a vehicle is struck from the front or rear as well as those that occur when a vehicle is struck from the side. Even in a low-impact collision, a person’s head and neck can be thrown quickly out of alignment and cause muscles and ligaments to stretch beyond their normal range of motion. When it comes to a vehicle accident, it is not always about the speed of a collision, but the way in which a person suddenly stops or is jolted back the other direction.

One major problem with low-impact collisions is that injury victims often do not realize they are even injured until well after the incident occurs. The signs and symptoms of various car accident injuries, including whiplash, may not be immediately apparent in the aftermath of a low-speed crash. It is critical that all car accident victims seek medical assistance even if they do not think they have been seriously injured. A trained physician needs to perform an evaluation and make a decision about any necessary course of treatment.