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Whiplash 1: Scary Statistics

Over the next several weeks, we will post 10 short articles about whiplash injuries from auto collisions, a poorly understood but all too common injury. Our firm handles many such cases and is committed to informing you so you can protect yourself and your family. 1.) Scary Statistics The term "whiplash" was first used in the 1920's and usually refers to neck injuries caused by the rapid and forceful motion of the head back and forth relative to the body. It is also referred to as "acceleration/deceleration injury" or "extension/hyperflexion injury". The abrupt snapping motion of the head resembles the lash of a whip. Fortunately, whiplash is not typically a life-threatening injury but it can be painful and disabling for months, years or for life. Without even considering the pain, suffering and emotional losses such injuries cause, whiplash injuries cost our economy over $30 billion a year in medical bills, disability, sick leave and lost productivity.Whiplash happens all the time. 3 million Americans a year suffer whiplash and this number continues to grow due to the use of stiffer car seats and the increase in distracted driving. Half of all chronic neck pain in our country is due to car crashes. Think of it this way, the number of people suffering neck injuries from car collisions each year equals the population of South Carolina; the number of people suffering long term neck problems from car accidents each year equals the population of Nebraska; and each year the number of people suffering permanent disability from car accident neck injuries equals the population of Wyoming.To put whiplash injuries into perspective, 60% of all auto crash injuries causing permanent disability are whiplash injuries. In upcoming weeks we will explore the relationship between whiplash and: rear end collisions; the physics of neck injury; injuries in "low-speed" collisions; the type of injuries commonly caused; who is most at risk of serious injury; lies (myths) commonly told about whiplash injuries; what factors make an injury worse; how tow bars are a big risk; and how to protect yourself.

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