Whiplash is a neck injury that is frequently a result of motor vehicle accidents. When your car is struck from the side or the rear, that causes a sudden strain for the muscles in your neck – leading to the neck tissue injuries we refer to as “whiplash.”
In Ontario, there are two types of whiplash that are recognized as “minor injuries” by the Ontario government and by insurance companies: Grade I whiplash injuries resulting in tenderness of the neck muscles, and Grade II whiplash injuries which result in limited movement of the neck. Grade III whiplash injuries cause neurological issues, and these are not considered minor injuries.
As a personal injury lawyer, I often meet with people who have questions about their whiplash injuries. Here are some of the most common:
1. Is whiplash serious enough for me to see a doctor?
Yes – and you should see one as soon as possible. Even if your case of whiplash seems insignificant, any whiplash case can eventually become complicated and lead to conditions such as cervical spondylosis (narrowing of the spinal canal). Seeing a doctor early is the best way to determine the specifics of your injury and ensure your recovery.
2. If I have received a whiplash injury, can I get compensation from my insurance company?
If you have been hurt with a whiplash injury in an Ontario accident, you are entitled to Statutory Accident Benefits of up to $3,500 to assist with your recovery. If another driver was at fault for the accident, you may also be able to receive compensation from him or her through legal action. Make sure that before you pursue either of these options, you speak with a personal injury lawyer about your injury situation.
3. Do I really need a personal injury lawyer to handle my Ontario whiplash claim?
This decision is yours to make, and it can depend on the severity of your whiplash injury. Since many whiplash injuries are considered “minor” and only eligible for benefits up to $3,500, you may decide that you would get more value out of making your claim independently. However, many personal injury firms (mine included) offer a free consultation meeting – you have nothing to lose by asking a lawyer about whether your case could use representation.
Knowing the facts around whiplash is important, as it is a very common vehicle accident injury, and it could happen to you. If you have a whiplash injury already, don’t rely on articles and reading alone – get the best information on your injury from an experienced Ontario lawyer.