Whiplash Injury: Meaning, Causes, and Possible Court Actions

A whiplash injury may or may not be a serious injury, depending upon its severity and the painful effect it may have on the injured victim -State v. Ferguson.
Whiplash Injury
Photo by Joyce McCown on Unsplash

A whiplash injury, just like any injury, can be the focus of a court action. The severity is determined not only by how the victim sustained the injury but also by the extent of the injury. 

Depending on the severity of the case, legal animation can help portray the incident in simple form and help define the severity of the injury that has been sustained.

What is a Whiplash Injury?

Whiplash occurs when a quick force or movement strains the neck and spine, causing bone, muscle, ligaments, and nerves to be damaged. It is a neck injury resulting from the neck moving back and forth quickly and violently, like a whip.

Rear-end car accidents frequently result in whiplash. Whiplash, however, can also be caused by falls, physical abuse, sports accidents, and other traumas. 

Most whiplash sufferers recover within a few weeks by adhering to a therapy regimen that includes painkillers and exercise. However, some people experience persistent neck pain and other long-lasting complications.

The possibility of long-lasting complications and grave consequences makes it important to identify the cause of the whiplash injury. This identification goes a long way in determining the extent to which legal animation will be used in the case. 

Whiplash Injury
Photo by Carolina Heza on Unsplash

What are the causes of Whiplash Injuries?

There are various causes of whiplash injuries. The cause of the injury determines what type of court action will be instituted against the defaulter.

You may be wondering: why approach a court at all?

First off, the court is an institution that serves justice, open to anyone who may have been wronged unjustly and wishes to challenge such treatment. 

Beyond this, some cases involve severe injuries that require heavy medical bills, crippled social lives, affected mental health, loss of job opportunities, endless pain, and an inability to enjoy life the way they want.

It is essential to recover enough compensation that will, if not make the victim exactly the way they were before the injury, take the person to a point where they can live with the challenge and live a happy, peaceful life.

This is also applicable in the case of a whiplash injury. Legal animation can be used in cases like this to portray the incident that led to the injury. Medical animation can also give more life to the result of the scanned neck, showing the severity of the injury.

Some of the causes of whiplash injuries include:

  • Rear-end car accidents

Rear-end car accidents are notorious for causing whiplash injuries because the neck will move forward and backward from the sudden collision so quickly that the neck can be injured. It may sometimes be mild or moderate in its effects. An example of a case with a moderate whiplash injury is the case of Leech v. Brallier.

Sometimes, however, it can be very severe, leading to serious complications. In the case of Daub v. Daub, the plaintiff was hit by a vehicle at sixteen. She sustained serious whiplash and back injuries. 

Similarly, in the case of Providence Journal Company v. Mason, the plaintiff suffered stiffness, limited motion, and pain with motion in her neck after she sustained a whiplash and back injury from an automobile accident. 

A car accident liability case can be instituted in court after a rear-end collision.

  • Assault

Assault is a possible cause of whiplash injury. This will most likely result in a whiplash injury if the victim is shoved suddenly, causing their neck to be subjected to sudden uncoordinated motion. It could also be from direct and consistent blows to the neck.

A case of assault can be instituted in court should the assault cause whiplash injury. It is, however, essential to prove the assault as a direct cause of the injury.

  • Sport accidents

Many sports are rife with the risk of an accident. This is why carefulness is often advised when engaging in sports. If a sports accident causes a whiplash injury, it could be the fault of the owner of the sports facility or a person who maliciously injures a person while the sport is going on.

It is essential to prove that the defendant caused the incident.

  • Falls

You must know how seemingly harmless slips and falls can lead to death or lifelong disability. Falls can also cause whiplash injuries.

Falls can happen due to oily floors, poorly lit aisles, inadequate warning signs, obstructions, and debris on the floor. A premises liability case can be instituted in court when a fall happens.

Can Legal Animation Make A Positive Difference In A Whiplash Injury Case?


In cases involving whiplash injuries, legal animation can be used as evidence and can be considered very appropriate. 

Like in every injury case, legal animation can come in three forms: incident reconstruction, legal animation, and medical animation. You can also use all three in one court action.

Incident reconstruction in a case like this is more appropriate to recapture the way the incident occurred. You can use it to recreate how the accident occurred, featuring the vehicles in question, the speed of both cars, their adherence to traffic regulations, and who hit whom. This goes a long way to show who is at fault. This type of animation relies heavily on scientific investigation and data. 

Legal animation can be different from an accident reconstruction because there is no incident reconstruction. It could be an illustration of the expert’s opinion.

In medical animation, the main role is to illustrate the injury caused by the incident. Thus, the medical animation of the whiplash injury and any other injury the plaintiff may have sustained will accurately depict the extent of the harm suffered, the implication of the damage, and possible future complications. 

While using all three modes of animation, an expert witness must present the evidence and back up the claims therein illustrated.


Legal animation is a very important form of demonstrative evidence that must not be overlooked. You should always consult with a competent legal animation company before making a decision to use this form of animation. This will ensure that the illustration to be created will be an accurate representation of an expert witness’ opinion or the actual incident, or both. Consulting with a legal animation company early enough will as well give them ample time to create trial graphics that will be admissible.

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