Toronto Whiplash Injury Lawyers - Compensation
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Our Toronto whiplash injury lawyers deal with personal injury compensation claims using a contingency fee arrangement which means that if you don't succeed in receiving a settlement then your lawyer won't get paid. If you would like free advice without obligation from a Toronto whiplash injury lawyer just call the helpline or complete the contact form or email our Toronto offices. A specialist personal injury lawyer based in Toronto will telephone you immediately to discuss your compensation claim.
Every year about 1 in 200 people suffer from whiplash injury symptoms as a result of the trauma of a sudden acceleration or sudden deceleration which causes the head to move suddenly backwards or forwards followed by an involuntary opposite reflex movement. A car accident is a disturbing and frightening event and a neck injury can be painful over a long period of time entitling the sufferer to consult a whiplash injury lawyer in order to claim substantial compensation. :-
- Symptoms which are caused by muscle spasms may be present immediately or may develop gradually.
- Diagnosis is usually based on observation of symptoms, history and medical examination.
- Treatment is usually by way of pain killers, anti-inflammatory medication and muscle relaxants.
- Compensation depends on severity, the recovery period, and whether or not there are any permanent long term symptoms.
Whiplash symptoms are characterized by discomfort that occurs following damage to the neck usually as a result of a sudden moderate to severe strain affecting the bones, discs, muscles, nerves, or tendons of the neck, which is composed of seven small bones known as the cervical spine. The injury is caused by a sudden jerk such as in a car accident but may also occur in other types of accident. The head is violently thrown back, forwards or sideways followed by reflex contraction in the opposite direction. Swelling and inflammation occur due to the rapid movement which leads to pressure being placed on the nerves.
Following an accident there is often general neck pain which may be present directly or may develop gradually over hours, days or weeks after the injury. Pain and stiffness is caused by muscle spasms. Whiplash symptoms may include :-
- Pain or stiffness of the neck, back, jaw, shoulders, or arms.
- Headache and dizziness.
- Psychological conditions including memory loss, concentration.
- Nervousness, irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue and depression.
- Loss of feeling, or burning or prickling in an arm or hand.
- Nausea or vomiting.
Whiplash treatment in the past often involved a recommendation for rest and immobilization in a cervical collar however the current recommended therapy tends to encourage early movement and gentle exercise. Soft collars are now rarely recommended except in cases of more serious injury and even then are usually used only for the short term and on an intermittent basis. Doctors frequently recommend physical activities including walking and aerobic or isometric exercises to improve mobility. An early return to work is encouraged with, if necessary, temporary modifications in the type of physical work to be carried out.
Whiplash treatment may include :-
- use of painkillers, anti-inflammatory medication, or muscle relaxants;
- immobilisation using a soft cervical collar;
- physiotherapy including the use of ice, moist heat, ultrasound, exercise and electrical stimulation;
- anaesthetic injections may help alleviate pain and tenderness;
- cervical traction;
- surgical intervention in severe cases involving persistent pain which may indicate a tear in an intervertebral disc. Once the disc is removed then spinal fusion may be necessary to permanently join two or more vertebrae:
Inflammation and painful muscle spasms can be reduced by applying ice or an ice pack to the injured area for about 15 minutes every hour. After the first 24 hours it can be beneficial to alternate cold packs with heat treatments including warm towels or a heat lamp which can be used to soothe the neck for 10 minutes several times a day. Gentle massage can be a beneficial therapy and current medical opinion on whiplash treatment advises ensuring moderate mobility of the neck as soon as possible after the accident.
- Whiplash injury is not usually serious and the long term outlook is generally good.
- Other symptoms including headaches, arm or jaw pain or dizziness usually resolve when the neck pain decreases.
- Serious pain usually improves within a few weeks and often in days.
- The discomfort of aches and pains does usually get better over time however some people will suffer long term residual symptoms.
- Control of pain is usually achieved by one or more of a number of methods including;
- Analgesics or anti-inflammatory medication.
- Neck collar.
- Heat and cold application to relax muscle spasms.
- Massage, acupuncture or electrotherapy.
- Professional treatment from an osteopath, chiropractor or physiotherapist.
- Early mobilisation to prevent stiffness, loss fitness & pain.
- difficulty getting going again.
- Early warning signs of chronic long term pain include;
- Belief in a prospective disability.
- Unable to accept reassurance.
- Avoidance of any exercise.
- No attempt at self help.
- Continuous rest.
- Unable to detect actual improvement over time.
- Occasionally more serious injury and immediate medical intervention is necessary if any of the following whiplash injury symptoms are present;
- Visual disturbances.
- Muscle spasms.
- Pins and needles, numbness or weakness.
- Unusual neck position.
- Difficulty with balancing or walking.
If you have been involved in an accident which was caused as a result of the negligence of someone else then you are entitled to instruct a Toronto whiplash injury lawyer to claim compensation for pain and suffering and for past and future wage losses together with any losses. How much compensation an injured person will receive for pain and suffering depends on the extent of the injury, the severity of the impact, the extent of the treatment, the amount of permanent or residual damage, the effect on lifestyle and the ability to work. Toronto whiplash injury lawyers like to separate compensation into two main categories which are General Damages and Special Damages.
- Special Damages are losses that can be accurately calculated including loss of earnings both in the past and for the future, general losses and expenses and damage to property and vehicles.
- General damages often constitute the most significant loss suffered by an injured person and are represented by those items that are difficult to calculate accurately. General damages include physical and emotional pain and suffering and loss of the enjoyment of life. A claim can be made for psychological injuries such as depression, or post traumatic stress disorder. Assessment of the value of these damages follows consideration of medical reports prepared by a medical specialist after physical examination and perusal of all medical records. Compensation for pain and suffering includes consideration of the nature and severity of the personal injury and consequent symptoms, occupation, age, leisure activities, how it has affected lifestyle and domestic responsibilities and whether there is any long term permanent disability and the extent and severity of any residual problems.
All receipts and estimates should be carefully preserved together with a note of all expenses that are incurred. A Toronto whiplash injury lawyer can usually claim compensation for the following items :-
- loss of past earnings
- loss of future earnings
- damage to property and vehicles
- medical charges, medicines and therapies
- car hire
- costs of assistance for household chores
- special care aids and equipment
- cost of care and assistance
- adapted accommodation and adapted transport
- out of pocket expenses