Can You Get Whiplash Even When You Wear a Seatbelt?

Whiplash is an injury associated with the neck caused by a forceful rapid back and forth or side-to-side movement of the upper body and neck, similar to the cracking of a whip (hence the name ‘whiplash’). Information available from the Mayo Clinic indicates that these injuries are often caused by rear-end accidents, but they can be caused by any type of vehicle impact. While wearing a seat belt certainly prevents many severe injuries from happening, individuals can still sustain whiplash even if they do wear their seat belts appropriately.

Why Wearing a Seatbelt May Not Prevent Whiplash

Information provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that seat belts saved nearly 15,000 lives during a recent reporting year. As of 2022, nearly 92% of all Americans use seat belts when they are in a vehicle.

However, wearing a seat belt is not meant to prevent all injuries. Yes, a seat belt can prevent a vast majority of major injuries that could occur, but one of the most common injuries associated with these incidents is whiplash.

Anytime an incident occurs on the roadway, the seat belt will lock up and prevent a driver or passenger from moving too far. However, this does not necessarily stop the upper back and neck from being propelled in different directions, depending on the location of the impact. If the upper back and neck are jerked suddenly forward and backward or side to side, similar to the cracking of a whip, this can lead to major injuries.

We strongly encourage any car accident victim to seek medical care as soon as possible, even if they do not feel much pain right away. The signs and symptoms of whiplash are often delayed by hours or even a day after the incident occurs. Some of these symptoms include extreme pain around the shoulder blades or in the neck, headaches, dizziness, pain or numbness in the arms and legs, muscle spasms, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and more.

Early medical treatment after the accident can help alleviate some of these symptoms, and a doctor can provide a treatment plan for individuals who experience whiplash.

Do You Need a Seattle Car Accident Lawyer After a Whiplash Injury?

If you or somebody has been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another driver in Washington, we encourage you to contact an attorney as soon as possible. These claims can be incredibly challenging, particularly when it comes to injuries such as whiplash. It is not uncommon for insurance carriers to delay these claims or say that the injuries are not as severe as the claimant says.

When you work with a car accident lawyer in Seattle, you will have an advocate ready to investigate the incident and work with trusted medical professionals to prove your injuries. It is essential that you recover compensation for your losses, including coverage of medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages. Whiplash is not just a minor injury. It is something that can affect you and your family for a significant amount of time. You deserve representation and compensation.