Car Accident Injuries – What is Whiplash?

Associated Areas of law

A common injury that often results from car accidents is whiplash. The severity of whiplash injuries may vary. Some whiplash injuries resolve quickly, while others can have long-term consequences for your well-being and your ability to work.

Whiplash is an injury to the neck that is caused by an abrupt, rapid backward and/or forward motion of the head. The most common symptoms of whiplash include neck pain and stiffness, pain in the upper back, shoulders and arms, loss of range of motion in the neck, headaches, fatigue, numbness or tingling in the arms, and dizziness.

Sometimes whiplash injuries are referred to as soft tissue injuries.

The impact of a whiplash injury may lead to a pattern of complaints referred to as Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD). These complaints are often chronic and potentially have widespread symptoms. The most common symptom of a WAD is constant pain at the top of the neck/back of the head. Other symptoms can include loss of range of motion in the spine, loss of balance and the development of psychological disorders such as post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression.

Full recovery from whiplash and WAD can range from a few months to a few years.

Diagnosing Whiplash Associated Disorder can be difficult, as it often does present physical signs of injury. It is important to have your doctor complete a thorough spinal and neurological examination if you think you may have suffered from a whiplash injury.

Whiplash Associated Disorder and Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

In Nova Scotia, there is a cap on the compensation you can claim for pain and suffering related to injuries that are considered “minor”. A minor injury includes sprains, strains and certain types of whiplash injuries. The limit in 2019 is $8,768.

However, if you have suffered a whiplash injury in a car accident in Nova Scotia, your potential compensation may very well exceed the amount of the minor injury cap. The cap only applies to compensation for pain and suffering. It does not apply to lost wages, out of pocket costs, medical expenses and other types of damages.

In addition, if you suffer from a WAD, you may not necessarily be subject to the minor injury cap. If the WAD leads to serious impairment, then the minor injury cap may not apply.

If you have been in a car accident and you think you have suffered a whiplash injury, you may want to discuss your options with a lawyer.

Please note that this article is meant to provide information only and is not intended to confer legal advice or opinion  If you have any further questions please consult a lawyer. Please note as well that many of the statements are general principles which may vary on a case-by-case basis.