Have you ever been in a car accident or rear-ended by another driver? If so, you most likely experienced some degree of whiplash, also known as Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD). If you were in a car accident, do you even know if you were compensated fairly for your injuries?
A 2018 study by the Capital Region Intersection Safety Partnership (CRISP) found that over 60,000 traffic collisions occur in the Capital Region (Edmonton and surrounding area) every year. Based on the most recent motor vehicle accident (MVA) stats from the Government of Alberta, in 2016, 133,000 collisions across Alberta caused injuries to over 16,000 people.
Unfortunately, those involved in a car accident often underestimate their whiplash injury and settle for the first offer provided by the insurance company. According to Rush University Medical Centre, you can experience whiplash in speeds as low as 5 to 10 mph (8 – 16 kph). That is why we recommend getting assessed by a health care professional after any motor vehicle accident.
It is also important to remember that insurance companies are just businesses focusing on their bottom line. Insurance companies often ignore the fact that the claimant is a human being. They forget that the victim’s injuries can have long-term effects on their health and day-to-day activities.
That is why it is recommended that you take time to research and understand the impact your injury may have on your health and wellbeing in the long-term, and to ensure you are compensated appropriately.
What is Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD)?
Health care professionals define whiplash as an injury to your muscles and ligaments in the neck due to a rapid back-and-forth movement. WAD can be caused by:
– Rear-ended car accident
– Side impact collisions (T-Bone Car Accident)
– Impact Sports (Tackle by a football player)
– Physical abuse (Shoved against a wall)
Do I have Whiplash?
Whiplash symptoms can take up to 24 hours to develop, which is why you should see a doctor or health care professional within ten days after any motor vehicle incident. Common signs and symptoms of a WAD related injury may include:
– Neck pain and stiffness
– Limited range of motion in the neck
– HeadachesTingling fingers or numbness in the arms
– Shoulder or arm pain
More severe symptoms include:
– Blurred vision
– Ringing in the ears
– Difficulty sleeping
– Inability to focus or concentrate
Health care professionals will classify the severity of your whiplash from a WAD 1, 2, 3, or 4. The WAD classification relates to the degree of injury experienced and the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive.
How long will the symptoms of whiplash last?
The degree of WAD symptoms varies from person to person as does the recovery time. Your recovery time is typically based on a few factors:
– Severity of the accident and WAD injury
– Having whiplash before
– Pre-existing neck or spinal injuries
– Older Age
– Any person that has arthritis in their neck
– Pre-disposed to headaches
– Force of the impact
For older adults, their muscles lose flexibility and strength, and their ligaments are not as stretchy. What this means is that older individuals may experience more severe whiplash than younger people.
The majority of whiplash injuries heal within six weeks after the injury. However, many people report experiencing neck pain and headaches after ten years. Others may even have symptoms for the rest of their lives, resulting in chronic pain.
Whether you believe you’ve had a ‘minor’ or ‘severe’ injury, it is essential to understand your legal rights as a victim in a motor vehicle accident. At McGuiness Law, we offer a free consultation. In that free consultation, we will honestly tell you if it is better to accept the offer from the insurance company or if you deserve more compensation. We fight for you! Better yet, we cover all costs, with no legal fees unless we settle in your favour.