CHAIRMAN'S NOTE:

This section is a discrete report of original research conducted by Samy Suissa, Susan Harder and Martin Veilleux under the auspices of the Task Force in fulfillment of its mandate. Thus, he and his coauthors, with the agreement of the Editor of Spine, will also cite this report as a peer-reviewed article, when appropriate in support of further research.

INTRODUCTION

Two previous reports produced by the SAAQ have presented analyses of data from subjects compensated for whiplash, indicating the growing importance of this problem in Quebec since 1978. 16, 29 Close to 20% of claimants to the SAAQ are recognized as having whiplash, making it the most common type of injury for which claims are submitted. 34, 35 In British Columbia and Saskatchewan, two other Canadian Provinces with single-payer motor-vehicle insurance programs, staggering proportions of 68% and as high as 85% of the claims paid out respectively in these two provinces are for whiplash. 35, 98 Finally, the cost of whiplash injuries sustained in motor vehicle collisions represents a substantial financial burden to the SAAQ. 58

In this study, using the claims database of the SAAQ, we estimate the incidence of compensated whiplash injury in Quebec and describe its variation by age, gender and geographical region. We identify the sociodemographic and collision-related prognostic factors associated with the duration of compensation and the risk of recurrence of whiplash injury, using a large, population-based cohort. The direct medical and compensation cost of whiplash injury is assessed, along with its association with duration of compensation.