The Different Types of Whiplash Associated Disorders and Its Potential Impact on Your Personal Injury Claim
One of the most common injuries that people experience after a motor vehicle accident is whiplash. Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs due to a forceful back and forth movement, often caused by the sudden stopping during a collision. You may be unaware, however, that there are different types of whiplash associated disorders. Whiplash-associated disorder is the term for a collection of symptoms that affect the neck and are triggered by an accident with an acceleration–deceleration mechanism. This includes pain, stiffness, muscle spasms, and headaches.
Some of the most common symptoms of whiplash:
- Neck pain or stiffness
- Blurred vision
- Pain between shoulder blades
Whiplash associated disorder symptoms are often classified into four levels that are based on the following symptoms:
- Grade 0: No complaints about the neck and no physical signs.
- Grade I: Complaint of neck pain (stiffness or tenderness only). No physical signs.
- Grade II: Complaint of neck pain and musculoskeletal signs such as decreased range of motion and tenderness.
- Grade III: Complaint of neck pain and neurological signs, including decreased deep tendon reflexes, weakness and sensory deficits.
- Grade IV: Complaint of neck pain and fracture or dislocation, or injury to the spinal cord.
Knowing the classification of your whiplash associated disorder is important as it may impact the compensation that you are able to receive. In the past, it was difficult to prove a whiplash injury claim to an insurance company as x-rays were unable to detect soft tissue injuries. However, new imaging technology such as MRIs and CAT scans are now able to detect these injuries and insurance companies are more likely to compensate whiplash victims. Consequently, it is essential to be aware of what grade of injury you have as it corresponds directly to your compensation.