The Alberta Minor Injury Cap does not always apply. Get legal advice to confirm
August 5th, 2016
If you’ve been injured in a fender bender or a minor car accident, it is not uncommon for an insurance company to take the position that your claim should be classified as a “minor injury,” as defined in the Minor Injury Regulations (MIR). Under the MIR, a minor injury is classified as a “sprain”, “strain” and/or a “Whiplash Associated Disorder” but does not include neurological issues, e.g., where symptoms are associated with nerve damage.
WHY THE INJURY CAP MATTERS
The minor injury cap (the “Cap”) can affect the compensation you received for a claim for any pain and distress suffered because of an injury if your claim falls within the MIR’s definition of “minor.” If this is the case, the compensation for initial and ongoing pain and distress could be capped at $4,000, plus inflation.
WHEN CAP DOESN’T APPLY – NEW CASE LAW EXPANDS CIRCUMSTANCES
Recent decisions of the Alberta Courts* have confirmed that a large number of injuries which insurance companies argue are “capped” are NOT in fact “Minor Injuries” and so the claimant is entitled to full compensation for their pain and suffering without the cap limit applying. In addition to injuries with a neurological component, the Cap does not apply if the injuries result in a “Significant Impairment.” This is the area where the court has helped to clarify the issues the most. Recent decisions suggest that if symptoms continue for longer than six months, and those symptoms continue to affect your ability to participate fully in your normal tasks at work, school, and home then this may amount to a significant impairment and the MIR Cap may not apply. The Cap also would not apply if you have been diagnosed with other “non-capped” injuries such as chronic pain, jaw issues, fibromyalgia, concussion or headaches, psychological issues and so forth.
WHY LEGAL ADVICE IS CRUCIAL WHEN INJURED
The Cap has a significant impact on the compensation you may get for a personal injury claim. Our view is that if your injury has left you dealing with consistent pain and ongoing stress, you should be eligible for appropriate compensation that reflects the impact of your injury and not an arbitrary monetary cap. As a result, we encourage injured people to take advantage of the free legal consultations that most personal injury lawyers offer. A lawyer can provide you with a thorough review of your situation and medical records to confirm whether your claim is caught by the Cap. Given the financial consequences of the Cap, getting legal advice is particularly important BEFORE you accept any suggestion from an insurance company that you have suffered a “Minor Injury.” For more information on how to get the advice, you need to make an informed decision, contact our Injury Law Team at KMSC Law LLP for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Click the case names to read recent cases on the Alberta Minor Injury Cap: