Can Children Get Whiplash in an Accident?

Accident lawyers in Richmond, VA see children’s injuries often, and it’s heartbreaking. But, what is more of a concern is that the insurance companies involved expect parents to handle the crash resolution while juggling their child’s injuries, work, and recovering themselves. We understand that it’s not reasonable to expect all of that from one person. If your child suffered whiplash, they may not know how to communicate symptoms or maybe too young to complain of pain other than crying. As a parent, you’re concerned, and we understand that.

Are Children More Susceptible to Whiplash?

Children are, in fact, more susceptible to whiplash because their heads are often not proportionate to their body because their body is still growing. The weight of their head can continue moving forward after the collision, and then when the vehicle stops, it will smash backward against the seat or car seat.

As that motion happens, there is extensive soft tissue damage throughout the neck and shoulder region. That damage is hard for doctors to identify, especially if your child can’t communicate where they have pain or discomfort.

The other factor that can play a role in making children more susceptible to whiplash is the headrest position. While car seats allow parents to adjust the position to a place that is the best fit for the child, a booster seat will not.

The headrest positions should be within 2-inches of the head and not reclined too far. Position within a car seat or booster and even the angle of the head during impact can change the severity of whiplash.

Will Car Seats Reduce Whiplash?

When used properly, a car seat can reduce the g-force from the impact and even prevent whiplash in minor crashes. However, that doesn’t mean that the use of a car seat will prevent all whiplash. Car seat manufacturers don’t make any guarantees, so it’s not likely that you’ll have a product defect case because your child experienced whiplash.

If you believe that your toddler or infant could have whiplash, you should look for some signs as well as go to a doctor. Signs could include abnormal breathing, dilated pupils, non-stop crying, and changes in crying. Even if your child’s cries have not separated between different functions, yet, this cry should be rather different.

For parents who aren’t sure if they’re using the car seat properly, you can take your car seat to a fire station or police department for inspection.

What is the Treatment for a Child Who Suffered Whiplash?

Fortunately, most whiplash is mild, and even in children, the typical treatment is head and ice. A doctor may prescribe a soft collar; however, the trend of using neck braces is out as doctors have found that movement can help ease soft tissue injuries and encourage faster healing.

However, you should have them do exercises and stretches to help their neck and back recover and grow stronger. Always talk to your doctor about how to do these correctly and if they’re right for your situation. Even with more severe cases of whiplash, there is nothing that proves a correlation between osteoporosis or spinal stenosis.

Often people who complain of pain months or years after sustaining whiplash have experienced some other soft tissue injury. Whiplash will recover.

Should You Sue the At-Fault Driver with a Richmond Car Accident Lawyer?

Whenever you have a hurt child involved in a wreck, you should also involve an attorney to handle your claim. It is often just too much to handle at once. You may be losing work because you’re healing from your own injuries, or because you’re helping your child. Your child may be out of school, have medical appointments, or even therapy for the crash.

Connect with a Car Accident Lawyer in Richmond if Your Child Suffered Whiplash

Ideally, a car accident lawyer in Richmond will walk you through resolution step-by-step. Meaning that you can pursue the full physical and mental recovery of your child while understanding what legal actions are happening at that same time. They can help you decide between waiting on a settlement while you complete rehabilitation or to go through to court because the settlement offers are too low.

At CAIL in Richmond, Virginia, we provide access to legal resources, advice, and skilled negotiators to handle the things that you simply don’t have time for while you’re helping your child. Call our automobile injury law firm in Richmond today and schedule a free consultation.