Background: A large number of studies have addressed whiplash injury, and many meta-analyses have sought to highlight chronicity factors; the implicated processes, however, remain a matter of debate. The present study used data from the ESPARR cohort (an on-going prospective study of a representative cohort of road accident victims in the Rh?ne administrative département of France). The objectives were to describe the consequences of whiplash injury and to determine prognostic factors for poor recovery and persistent pain at 1 year post-accident. Methods: The cohort included 255 “pure” whiplash victims, 173 of whom responded to the 1-year follow-up questionnaire. Correlations between explanatory variables and health and pain status were explored by modified Poisson regression to provide adjusted relative risk (RR) values. Results: Half of the victims had not fully recovered health status by 1 year. The main factor associated with non-recovery was pain (RR = 1.3; 1.0-1.7). A birth in the family preceding the accident emerged as another factor (RR=1.5; 1.2-1.9). Victims responsible for their accident were twice as likely to report being free of pain as those not responsible (RR = 0.5; 0.3-0.8). No correlation emerged with accident-related characteristics or PTSD. Conclusions: The present results extend our understand- ing of whiplash injury. Residual pain is the fundamental factor causing whiplash victims to feel that they have not recovered good health. Our findings suggest this may be bound up with physical factors (gender susceptibility); external factors such as having to carry weights (such as a baby) and with perceiving oneself as a victim are not incompatible with this hypothesis.