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We often hear about ‘whiplash’ as being described as level ‘1’ or level ‘2’, but what do these mean? In Alberta, if you have been in a car accident, you may end up suffering neck or back pain. There are two primary pieces of legislation that deal with the process for car accident injuries. One is the Minor Injury Regulation (“MIR”) and the other is the Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols Regulation (“DTPR”).

A ‘WAD’ injury is defined in the DTPR as follows :

    (m) “WAD injury” means a whiplash associated disorder other
    than one that exhibits one or both of the following:
    (i) objective, demonstrable, definable and clinically
    relevant neurological signs;
    (ii) a fracture to or a dislocation of the spine.

Section 16 of the DTPR describes how to diagnose a ‘WAD 1’ :

    Diagnostic criteria: WAD I injuries
    16(1) If a WAD injury is diagnosed, the criteria to be used to
    diagnose a WAD I injury are
    (a) complaints of spinal pain, stiffness or tenderness;
    (b) no demonstrable, definable and clinically relevant
    physical signs of injury;
    (c) no objective, demonstrable, definable and clinically
    relevant neurological signs of injury;
    (d) no fractures to or dislocation of the spine.
    (2) If a WAD I injury is diagnosed, no further investigation of the
    injury is warranted, unless there is cause to do so.

It is worth noting that if you have any of the following symptoms, the DTPR states that there is something going on other than WAD 1 injuries :

    (A) disturbance of balance,
    (B) disturbance or loss of hearing,
    (C) limb pain or numbness,
    (D) cognitive dysfunction, and
    (E) jaw pain

Section 19 of the DTPR describes how to diagnose a ‘WAD II’ :

    Diagnostic criteria: WAD II injuries
    19(1) If a WAD injury is diagnosed, the criteria to be used to
    diagnose a WAD II injury are
    (a) complaints of spinal pain, stiffness or tenderness;
    (b) demonstrable, definable and clinically relevant physical
    signs of injury, including
    (i) musculoskeletal signs of decreased range of motion
    of the spine, and
    (ii) point tenderness of spinal structures affected by the
    injury;
    (c) no objective, demonstrable, definable and clinically
    relevant neurological signs of injury;
    (d) no fracture to or dislocation of the spine.

Once again, it is worth noting that if you have any of the following symptoms, the DTPR states that there is something going on other than WAD II injuries :

    (A) disturbance of balance,
    (B) disturbance or loss of hearing,
    (C) limb pain or numbness,
    (D) cognitive dysfunction, and
    (E) jaw pain

Regardless of whether or not you have been ‘diagnosed’ as having a WAD I or WAD II, often these diagnoses change over time or there is a realization that the injury is more serious than first thought (due to better imaging eg. MRI versus Xray). There are also numerous exceptions to the ‘Cap’ that are discussed elsewhere in our various ‘blog’ articles.

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