Many individuals who have unfortunately been part of a motor vehicle accident get diagnosed with a Whiplash Associated Disorder or WAD for short. Whiplash can be defined as “an acceleration–deceleration mechanism of energy transfer to the neck. It may result from rear-end or side-impact motor vehicle collisions, but can also occur during diving or other mishaps. The impact may result in bony or soft-tissue injuries (whiplash-injury), which in turn may lead to a variety of clinical manifestations called Whiplash-Associated Disorders”. In classifying a WAD Injury based on the severity and signs of symptoms different grades are attributed, such as:
Grade 0: No complaints about the neck. No physical sign(s).
Grade I: Neck complaint of pain, stiffness or tenderness only. No physical sign(s).
Grade II: Neck complaint AND musculoskeletal sign(s). Musculoskeletal signs include decreased range of motion and point tenderness.
Grade III: Neck complaint AND neurological sign(s). Neurological signs include decreased range of motion and point tenderness.
Grade IV: Neck complaint AND fracture or dislocation.
It is important to be diagnosed accurately as your personal injury claim can vastly differentiate between the different grades. For example, in Alberta a WAD 1 and WAD 2 are considered minor injuries and fall under Alberta’s Minor Injury Cap.
 Spitzer WO, Skovron ML, Salmi LR, et al. Scientific monograph of the Quebec Task Force on Whiplash Associated Disorders: redefining ‘whiplash’ and it’s management. Spine. 1995;20:8S–58S