Do Whiplash Injuries Resolve with Little Medical Treatment in 6-12 Weeks?

Do Whiplash Injuries Resolve with Little Medical Treatment in 6-12 Weeks?

car accident injuries heal slowly
Image: Jon Collier

People who have suffered a whiplash injury due to a car accident know that these injuries do NOT heal well on their own. Even with proper treatment, the majority of people will suffer long-term effects well beyond 6-12 weeks.

If You Say it Enough Times, People Will Start to Believe You

Insurance company adjusters repeat the company line that car crash soft tissue injuries are nothing to be concerned about because… most soft tissues should be resolved with minimal medical care of short duration (6-12 weeks) The rationale for saying this is merely to lower settlement costs. A report by an insurance insider indicated that by merely shaving 20% off of their settlements, one large insurance company saved $248,000,000 in just one year!

The interesting thing is that in 30 years of practice, when I challenge the adjuster, I have never had a single one cite for me the specific medical or scientific study they rely on to make this bold statement, over and over again. The fact of the matter is and to the best of my knowledge, not one solitary honest, peer-reviewed study can be found for this assertion. Yet, it is callously used in probably 90% of auto collision claims to demean or diminish the injury and suffering of the injured party.

There are scores of studies in well-respected, peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals that indicate just the opposite: These injuries, particularly rear-impact collision injuries, take time to heal with treatment, and despite best treatments, a large percentage of the victims will continue to suffer symptoms well after the collision.

Ignorance or Deceit?

Surely, the adjusters must know about this, right? I mean if its a matter of keeping up on what is going on in your field of work, and since you are dealing with matters of people’s health and whether or not they will suffer a life-long permanent injury, wouldn’t you want to keep abreast of information like this? Apparently the answer is no. There is plenty of information for them to educate themselves, but that would put them in the awkward position of knowing what they are purposely telling victims multiple times each day, is pure bunk.

The Truth

Each year there are literally hundreds of studies performed and their findings published in reputable, peer-reviewed journals documenting the problems associated with motor vehicle collision injuries. Here are just a few examples that clearly debunk the automobile insurance company myths (propaganda) that accident injuries are insignificant and basically heal themselves in short order:

In one study British researchers at the University of Bristol found 70% of patients had accident related complaints on average15.5 years after a whiplash trauma. (1)

Radanov et al. reported approximately 45% of his patients had symptoms at 12 weeks; around 28% at six months; about 23% at 12 months; and about 18% had persistent accident related symptoms after 2 years. Radanov’s patient base included people who had suffered differing types of collisions: side impact, frontal or rear impacts. He found that the rear impact victims suffered worse injury and are more likely to have long-term complaints. (2)

The vector or angle at which you are hit makes a difference in long-term outlook according to Radanov. In combined subjects who had side impacts, frontal impacts, and rear impacts 39% of subjects had long-term pain, but when you single out just those who are impacted from behind, 56% had chronic symptoms. (3)

Ligament injuries have particularly poor prognoses as once a ligament is stretched and damaged it never regains its original strength or flexibility and leads to joint malfunction and osteoarthritis within 10 years of injury. It takes ligament remodeling and repair, not healing because ligaments do not heal, several months to occur. And as the authors note, “Remodeled ligaments–not nearly as good as new” (4)

The take away is twofold:

1. Insurance companies mislead victims telling them their injuries will resolve in 6-12 weeks to lower their costs

2. Soft tissue car accident related injuries cause real damage and for many people result in long-term pain and impairment.

Don’t Fall For This Scheme. If You Feel You Are Injured, You Probably Are.

Call (714) 938-0575 and Make an Appointment to Sit Down with a Leading Car Accident Injury Expert in Orange County, Dr Barry Marks, DC.


1. Squires, B, Gargan, MF, Bannister, GC, “Soft-tissue Injuries of the Cervical Spine: a 15 year Follow-up,” J of Bone and Joint Surg. (British), Vol. 78B(6), 11/96, p 955-7. From the University of Bristol, England.

2. Radanov BP, Sturzenegger M, Stefano GD: Long-term outcome after whiplash injury: a two-year follow-up considering features of injury mechanism and somatic, radiologic, and psychosocial factors. Medicine 74(5):281-297, 1995.

3. Croft AC: Module 1: Whiplash: advanced topics; Prognosis. In, Croft AC, Whiplash: the Masters’ Program. San Diego, Spine Research Institute of San Diego, 1996, p75.

4. Hauser RA, Dolan EE, Phillips HJ, Newlin AC, Moore RE, Woldin BA: Ligament Injury and Healing: A Review of Current Clinical Diagnositcs and Therapeutics. The Open Rehab Journal 2013, 6, 1-20

Chiropractor Orange CA Call Now