Whiplash Injury: How a Neck Injury Attorney Can Help

By Sokoloff Lawyers
Whiplash Injury: How a Neck Injury Attorney Can Help

Sometimes, things that are common equate to things that are simple. Hairpins, paperclips, nuts and bolts, these common items are relaxingly uncomplicated. But not all common things are so easy to grasp, especially when they pose a serious risk to your health and well-being. Whiplash, one of the most common car accident injuries in Ontario, is a multifaceted and difficult-to-manage ailment. If you’ve suffered a whiplash injury, a neck injury attorney can help you with your recovery by securing compensation, but you can also accelerate your recovery by learning more about your injury and how medical professionals apply treatment.


Types of Whiplash and Severity


There are two types of whiplash injuries, both of which are most common as a result of motor vehicle accidents. The typical whiplash injury, cervical hyperextension, occurs when a slow moving or stationary vehicle is subject to a rear-end collision. In such an accident, the person’s body is flung forward, but their head remains momentarily in place, hyperextending the neck. The other type of whiplash injury occurs when rapid deceleration or stopping causes a person’s head to be flung forward, resulting in cervical hyperflexion. Since the chin physically blocks this motion, hyperflexion is less common.


Regardless of injury type, the severity of whiplash injuries is always graded along the same scale:

  • Grade 0: no complaints or physical signs;
  • Grade 1: neck pain but there are no physical signs;
  • Grade 2: neck pain and there are musculoskeletal signs;
  • Grade 3: neck pain and neurological signs;
  • Grade 4: neck pain and fractures/dislocation.

Even with this grading system, diagnosing whiplash in the emergency room can be a difficult process. To remedy this, and to ease the job of any neck injury attorney, Canadian hospitals use a risk factor sheet (the Canadian cervical spine rule).


Risk Assessment for Whiplash Injuries


The Canadian cervical spine rule is generally effective, though not perfect: according to research, the rule misses only one unstable injury per 16,000 cases on average. The rule delineates high risk factors and low risk factors, ultimately deciding which patients will receive a radiocardiogram and further analysis.

  • High risk factors include patients older than 65, tingling or prickling in the patient's extremities, or a dangerous mechanism involved in the accident (e.g. a high speed collision with a rollover or ejection, a bicycle collision, a high fall).
  • Low risk factors include a simple rear end motor collision (i.e. an accident that did not involve being pushed into traffic, being hit by a large vehicle, etc.), the ability to sit rather than lie down in the emergency department, delayed onset of neck pain, and the absence of neck tenderness.


A neck injury attorney will tell you that any failure to follow these guidelines can significantly increase your chance of severe injury. If you believe that you were misdiagnosed after your whiplash injury, contact a Toronto personal injury lawyer for a free consultation. They can secure you the compensation you need, making your complex neck injury a simpler obstacle to overcome.