I Suffered Whiplash Because of My Car Accident, Now What?
A common injury that results from car accidents is whiplash. Whiplash is an injury to the neck that is caused by a sudden, forceful back-and-forth movement of the head.
Common symptoms of whiplash include neck pain and stiffness, worsening of pain with neck movement, reduced of range of motion in the neck, headaches, tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back or arms, tingling or numbness in the arms, fatigue, and dizziness.
Whiplash is sometimes referred to as neck sprain/strain, but this term encompasses more injuries than just whiplash.
Whiplash Associative Disorder
The result of a whiplash injury may be a pattern of symptoms that are referred to as Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD). These symptoms can be chronic and can include clusters of symptoms. The most common symptom of WAD is constant pain in the neck and/or back of the head. Other symptoms can include reduced range of motion, nerve pain in the upper body, and psychological injuries such as anxiety and depression. Some whiplash injuries resolve quickly, while others can have longer term consequences.
Healthcare professionals classify WAD into four categories of severity.
WAD I, covers complaints of spinal pain, stiffness or tenderness and includes no demonstrable, definable, and clinically relevant physical signs of injury.
WAD II covers complaints of spinal pain, stiffness or tenderness, but also includes demonstrable, definable and clinically relevant physical signs of injury including: musculoskeletal signs of decreased range of motion of the spine and point tenderness of spinal structures affected by the injury.
WAD III Includes all of the symptoms in WAD II and Neurological signs including decreased or absent tendon reflexes, weakness and sensory deficits.
WAD IV Includes all of the symptoms in WAD III and a fracture or dislocation in the neck.
Whiplash Associated Disorder and Your Personal Injury Claim
The classification of your whiplash and WAD will affect your ability to claim compensation. In Nova Scotia, there is a limit on the amount of compensation you can receive for pain and suffering related to injuries that are considered “minor”. A minor injury includes sprains, strains, WAD I and WAD II. The limit in 2020 for Nova Scotia car accidents is $8,911.
Your overall compensation will can still exceed the amount of the minor injury cap. The minor injury cap does not apply to lost wages, out of pocket costs, medical expenses, and other types of damages.
There are also many circumstances where someone can offer a WAD I or II injury and still have a claim that exceeds the minor injury cap. If the injury leads to serious impairment, the minor injury cap may not apply.
Ultimately, healthcare professionals determine whether the Minor Injury Cap applies to your claim. Typically, they complete specific forms and send them to the insurance company. Later, insurance adjusters assess the forms to understand the extent of the injuries. Accordingly, NOVA Injury Law works with healthcare professionals to ensure they understand the impact their work has on claim amounts. Of course, your health must remain your priority. So, addressing your injuries and receiving proper treatment should be your first concern. Therefore, if you have questions regarding the Minor Injury Cap, it’s best to speak to an accident lawyer.
Jeff Mitchell is the Principal Lawyer and Founder of NOVA Injury Law. He has dedicated his practice to personal injury, accident, and disability benefits law. Contact 1.800.262.8104 or [email protected] to arrange for a FREE CASE review today.