Whiplash – it’s a term that’s thrown around in television and film, evoking the image of a neck brace, and the wearer’s apparent fraud. In fact, whiplash is one of the most common and potentially life-altering injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident.
Whiplash occurs when a person’s neck moves abruptly from side to side or forwards and backwards due to a sudden force, such as during a collision. Because of the speed and suddenness of a motor vehicle collision, passengers involved in an accident are unable to control the movement or motion of their heads, resulting in the soft tissues of the neck over-extending beyond their usual limits.
This extreme stretching, tearing and straining of the neck muscles, spine, and ligaments during a motor vehicle accident can cause painful, long-lasting damage to the injured, and may not even manifest immediately. The injured may develop a myriad of symptoms, including neck, back and shoulder pain, headaches, muscle stiffness, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating, which can last anywhere from weeks to years of life-long suffering.
Along with whiplash, a Traumatic Brain Injury (or TBI) is an unconscionably common injury, caused by a blow to the head as a result of a motor vehicle accident (such as your head hitting the windshield, steering wheel, dashboard, the roof of your car hitting your head, or being thrown from your car.
Akin to whiplash, the symptoms of a TBI may not manifest immediately following the injury. A concussion is considered to be the mildest of traumatic brain injuries, and can cause symptoms such as neck pain, headache, dizziness and nausea. A more severe traumatic brain injury can cause severe headache, vomiting, seizure, and coma. Other examples of traumatic brain injury include bruising of the brain and brain bleeds. A traumatic brain injury can have a devastating impact on the life of the injured and their families.
If you have been in a motor vehicle accident and suspect whiplash or TBI, it is very important to seek immediate medical assistance. Your doctor may examine your neck for pain, tenderness, swelling, spasms and range of motion. X-rays, MRIs, CTs, or other scans may be ordered to check for other types of damage.
As part of the assessment for whiplash, your physician may use a scale of zero to four to grade your level of whiplash, with level zero meaning no pain and no sign of injury, and level four meaning pain and evidence of fracture. The severity of your symptoms can affect your daily living, leaving you unable to work, function, and carry out your daily activities. Strategies to alleviate your symptoms include physiotherapy, chiropractic care, bracing, TENS, acupuncture, massage, and pain management medications. However, continuing these treatments can be very costly, and the general limit in Ontario insurance claims is $3500 for “soft tissue injuries”.
The level of severity of a traumatic brain injury dictates the amount of compensation you may be eligible, ranging from a maximum of $3500 for a minor TBI, to upwards of $1 million for a catastrophic TBI.
In order to make a claim for whiplash or a traumatic brain injury as a personal injury in a motor vehicle accident, it is imperative to contact a personal injury lawyer so that the relevant details of the collision (such as the speed of the vehicle, the force which you were hit at, the direction you were hit from, whether an airbag deployed as a result of the accident), as well as your medical symptoms, are properly documented.
At Howard Yegendorf & Associates we have been serving Ontario for over 20 years, focusing on the Ottawa, Kingston and Toronto areas. With over 50 years of combined personal injury lawyer experience, we will guide and represent you during any serious personal injury case.