The Grades and Stages of a Neck Injury Claim

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The Grades and Stages of a Neck Injury Claim

Evolution, for all its incredible developments, has resulted in some bizarre physical quirks. How odd is it, for example, that infant children’s necks are so weak that they can’t hold up their own heads? One would think that head support should be a prerequisite for existence. Of course, we grow out of it; but that doesn’t mean that our necks become completely invulnerable. In fact, neck injuries are some of the most common chronic and acute injuries in Canada, and a neck injury claim, statistically speaking, might very well be in your future (if you haven’t opened one already). To make it through your neck injury claim, you need to recover—fortunately, Toronto personal injury lawyers know the stages.


Whiplash Associated Disorders Grading System


The Quebec Task Force on Spinal Disorders has set out guidelines for what it refers to as whiplash associated disorders (WADs). Though neck injuries are often the result of chronic conditions, rather than the abrupt strike of whiplash, they nonetheless share virtually the same symptoms and treatments. The Quebec Task Force outlined a gradient system to demarcate the severity of WADs (and thus neck injuries generally). This system evaluates pain, symptoms, range of motion, point tenderness, neurological signs, and X-ray findings.


  • Grade I: cases with pain, stiffness, or tenderness but no outwardly apparent physical signs.
  • Grade II: any musculoskeletal symptoms are grade II, such as decreased range of motion or point tenderness.
  • Grade III: this is when neurological signs and symptoms are present.


These grades determine the severity of your neck injury claim. However, a Toronto personal injury lawyer knows that neck injury claims involve not only severity but time too.


Three Stage Model


The Institute for Work and Health has set out three stages of recovery. Each stage simply denotes a period of time, so not all neck injury patients will necessarily go through all three stages.


  • Stage 1 (acute stage): three to four weeks; the majority of neck injury claims (90% rate for those in a primary care facility; 50% – 60% for those on wage replacement benefits) are resolved during this stage.
  • Stage 2 (subacute stage): four to twelve weeks; the recovery rate slows down significantly during this period, but many of the patients do not end up with permanent pain issues.
  • Stage 3 (chronic pain syndrome): greater than 12 weeks; though only 5% – 10% of total patients enter this stage, it is an unfortunate one. The recovery curve flattens significantly, meaning that most of these people will have to deal with chronic pain for years.


Regardless of the length of time during which you experience symptoms, a Toronto personal injury lawyer can work your neck injury claim to secure the maximum amount of benefits and compensation that you are owed. Your pain may be personal, but that does not mean you have to suffer alone; contact a Toronto personal injury firm today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.