Whiplash is a soft-tissue injury that commonly occurs in auto accidents. The injury can produce significant, lasting pain that prevents a person from working and keeps them from enjoying life as they did before the accident. It can also require extensive – and costly – medical treatment.
If you have suffered a whiplash-associated disorder (WAD) in a car crash, you have the right to file a claim with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). However, you should not pursue your claim without the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
Contact Klein Lawyers today. We can provide a free case review and help you to pursue the compensation you are due.
For many years, we have helped victims with car accident injuries in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia to obtain full and fair ICBC settlements and court judgments. We understand the unique approach ICBC takes to whiplash-related claims. You can count on us to seek the maximum amount for you.
What is Whiplash?
As you move forward with pursuing an ICBC settlement after an auto accident, it will help to understand the nature of your whiplash injury.
Whiplash occurs due to the back-and-forth snapping of one’s head upon impact in a crash. The sudden, violent motion can cause damage to nerves, muscles, ligaments and possibly bones in the neck. Sprains, neck strains and hyperextensions are common descriptions of whiplash-associated disorders.
The injury is common in rear-end collisions. This is largely due to the lack of warning before impact. In a split second, your neck can go from a relaxed position to an extended and strained one. This extreme and rapid change in motion is unnatural.
Many car accident victims do not immediately realize they have suffered whiplash. For this reason, at Klein Lawyers, we stress the importance of getting medical treatment after you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident of any kind.
What are Signs of Whiplash?
You should be especially concerned if you show symptoms of whiplash in the days following a crash. These symptoms include:
- Neck pain
- Pain radiating in the shoulders
- Ringing in one’s ear
- Sleep difficulties due to pain.
Several years ago, the Quebec Task Force (QTF) prepared a report with recommendations on classification and treatment of whiplash-associated disorders. The report set out five classifications:
- Grade 0 – No lingering neck pain or physical signs of injury.
- Grade 1 – Neck pain but no physical signs of injury.
- Grade 2 – Neck pain as well as limited motion, swelling, muscle spasms, weakness and tenderness in the neck or shoulders.
- Grade 3 – Pain, physical signs of injury and neurological effects such as lack of feeling and decreased or absent reflexes.
- Grade 4 – Physical and neurological signs of injury as well as fractures or dislocations, possibly requiring immediate surgery.
As you will see below, these classifications will play an important role in your case as you seek a settlement of your auto accident claim with ICBC.
How Will ICBC Assess Your Whiplash Injury Claim?
When you pursue an ICBC settlement after an auto accident, you should seek compensation for your pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. This is especially true if you have been left with a serious whiplash injury that has caused lasting pain and disruption to your life.
ICBC has incorporated the QTF classifications into its injury assessment guidelines. ICBC uses these guidelines to determine how much it will offer to a victim for non-pecuniary damages such as pain and suffering in the settlement of a soft tissue injury claim. You should understand these guidelines in order to assess any settlement you are offered.
Generally speaking, ICBC will place a whiplash injury in one of three categories:
- Mild – QTF Grade 0-1, where the victim faces a maximum recovery period of six months and two months or less of disability.
- Mild/Moderate – QTF Grade 2 or higher, with a maximum recovery period of 12 months and a maximum of four months of disability.
- Moderate – QTF Grade 2 or higher, with a maximum recovery period of 24 months and no more than 12 months of disability.
Keep in mind: These are ICBC’s internal guidelines. The Courts of British Columbia do not have to follow them. If you believe the amount offered by ICBC is inadequate, you have the right to pursue your claim in court and pursue an amount that exceeds ICBC’s guidelines.
Klein Lawyers can use its knowledge of whiplash injuries and ICBC’s soft tissue injury guidelines to assess the amount offered to you. We can advise you on whether to accept ICBC’s offer or, if necessary, take your case to court.
What Else Can You Recover for Your Whiplash Associated Disorder?
In addition to seeking compensation for your pain and suffering, you should make sure that any ICBC settlement which you accept also fully compensates you for all other damages.
To determine how much you should seek in compensation, Klein Lawyers can review your medical records, work records, bills and invoices and other evidence. We can also consult with highly qualified experts. Our goal will be to ensure that you recover for all:
- Past and future medical care
- Loss of past and future income
- Loss of housekeeping capacity
- All “in trust” damages.
If ICBC refuses to make a reasonable settlement offer, we will be prepared to fight for you in court. Our legal team features highly skilled trial lawyers who have a strong record of delivering positive results for car accident victims in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia. We are ready to go to work for you.
Get Help Today from Our Vancouver Whiplash Injury Lawyers
Since our law firm was founded more than two decades ago, Klein Lawyers has successfully negotiated thousands of ICBC car accident settlements. We know how ICBC approaches injury claims. We use our skills, experience and extensive resources to seek a maximum recovery for you.
Don’t wait to get the legal help you need. Call or reach us online today for an immediate, free and completely confidential consultation.