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January 17, 1959


Author Affiliations

Charlottesville, Va.

JAMA. 1959;169(3):216-223. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03000200014004

It is fallacious to speak of all injuries to the neck in automobile accidents as whiplash injuries and to classify all patients with true whiplash injuries into one group. There is a gamut of injuries from the inconsequential to the fatal, and injuries to the neck vary not only in degree but also in kind. Confusion and injustice can be avoided only if all parties, including lawyers and physicians, are objective, explicit, and honest in handling cases of personal injury. The physician who is consulted should be thorough in his examination, keep good records, be prepared to translate his medical phrases into practical terms, and bring charts, models, or other visual aids with him to court for the information of judge and jury. A just settlement depends on the mutual respect and cooperation of the medical and legal professions.