While insurance companies want you to believe that whiplash is a minor injury, barely worth talking about. They’ll try to ensure that it’s handled under Alberta’s $5,400 minor injury cap for pain and suffering, instead of the $370,000 major injury cap set aside for major injuries.
Yet in truth these issues can cause major problems. Chronic pain is a likely result. We work hard to ensure that you get as much money out of your personal injury claim as possible.
What is whiplash?
During a car accident, it is possible for you to be thrown forward with great force, and then be thrown back again. It’s especially common after rear-end collisions. It causes muscle tears and bone injuries alike.
It can be treated with pain relievers and ice if it’s a mild case. Doctors often recommend sleeping with a tightly-rolled towel under your neck to support it until the pain fades. You may also be fitted with a soft foam collar to support your neck for short periods of time, though you shouldn’t wear that for more than a handful of days.
In more severe cases, you may need prescription medications or even nerve blockers for pain relief purposes. A severe whiplash case may take up to a year to heal.
Whiplash symptoms can be delayed for up to 24 hours after the car accident occurs. That’s usually about how long it takes for the swelling to finish happening.
Symptoms of Whiplash
To diagnose whiplash, you will need an X-ray, an MRI, or a CT scan delivered by a qualified medical professional.
Symptoms include neck pain and stiffness, a loss of range of motion in your neck, headaches, shoulder pain, tingling or numbness in the arms, fatigue, and dizziness. Particularly severe cases could include blurred vision and tinnitus.
A severe whiplash case could come with mental symptoms too. These can include irritability, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and depression.
Levels of Whiplash
In Alberta, whiplash is legally termed a “WAD,” a Whiplash Associated Disorder. They are classified as WAD I, WAD II, or WAD III.
WAD I and WAD II fall beneath the minor injury caps. WAD III injuries are managed under the major injury cap. Yet don’t be fooled. A WAD II injury may be exceedingly painful and may keep you out of work for two months or so while you heal.
You may have a WAD III if you have numbness or tingling in your extremities. WAD III injuries come with neurological symptoms, a fracture or dislocation of the spine, or both. A WAD III whiplash injury often comes with severe impairments, and may not improve substantially over time.
Whiplash injuries are difficult to diagnose correctly. They often grow worse over time. It is vital that you work with your personal injury lawyers to secure the appropriate tests.
Getting Compensation for Whiplash Injuries
Insurers fight hard to avoid paying whiplash claims. They’ve done an excellent job of turning it into one of the most misunderstood car accident injuries. Often they dismiss these injuries as fake, or try to claim that the accident victim is exaggerating their pain and symptoms to get more money.
Yet nevertheless, there are objective ways to prove both whiplash’s existence and its severity. In addition, medical bills and lost wage claims must be paid regardless of whether or not insurers agree that your injury is severe enough to warrant the use of the major injury cap.
The fact that whiplash can take several days to show up can also cause difficulties. It can be missed, initially, even in those who get immediate medical care. Nevertheless we do recommend getting that care as soon as possible. Failing to go to a doctor on the day of the accident and then attempting to claim an injury after the fact can be used against you, even though you are telling the truth.
There is also the chance that your injury is comorbid with other conditions which do not fall under the minor injury cap. For example, many people get whiplash, fractures, and other injuries all at once. It’s also not uncommon to suffer from psychological injuries after an accident that causes whiplash. Psychological injuries are treated as major injuries, not minor one. TMJ is another condition that is often comorbid with whiplash, and it’s not covered by the major injury cap either.
It is important to work with a lawyer who understands how to work around the soft tissue injury cap. This will allow you to maximize your compensation and will ensure that you get adequate care for all of your injuries. In the end, your personal injury case will come down to your lawyer’s skill at making your case as strong as possible, as well as down to your lawyer’s negotiation abilities.
We also highly recommend documenting the ways that your injuries have changed your daily life, because we can use this information to help demonstrate the level of pain and suffering that you’ve been put through.
Why Merchant Law?
“This law firm was an excellent choice. They were extremely knowledgeable and handled my case efficiently and professionally. I will not hesitate to contact them again. Highly recommend!” -Natalie Crowell
The Merchant Law team has decades of experience handling personal injury claims, including whiplash claims. We’ve helped Alberta residents secure millions of dollars in compensation.
We can help with your case too. We are ready to take on the insurance companies and show them you mean business.
Our team is responsive, professional, and caring. We’re also known for being some of Alberta’s savviest negotiators and toughest litigators. Our law firm has handled everything from fairly standard rear-end collisions to major class action suits in which thousands of people have gotten hurt as a result of someone else’s negligence.
Trust us to do our best for you. Contact the team at Merchant Law and schedule a no-obligation consultation today.