All posts by klaw

The Alberta Minor Injury Cap does not always apply. Get legal advice to confirm

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.

*Cases

Click the case names to read recent cases on the Alberta Minor Injury Cap:

A Grande Entrance. Meet Christina Lee

Christina Lee has landed at the KMSC office! Moving to Grande Prairie after from Ontario with her husband, Christina is a graduate from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, 2012, and has been called to the Bar in both Alberta and Ontario and articled at the Ontario Ministry of Finance.

In her spare time, Christina loves to travel and before her legal career took off, she worked in the aviation industry. During University, she worked part-time as a flight attendant for Air Canada.  After graduating with a Bachelor of Economics at U of T, Christina earned her pilot’s license working as a Flight Instructor at Brampton Flight School in Ontario. Later, she returned to Air Canada where she was Flight Operations Manager until starting law school in 2009.

Christina practices in the area of Corporate Commercial Law, Estate Planning and Administration, and Commercial and Residential Real Estate.

We think it’s safe to say that Christina is a high-flying addition to our team! Want to know more? Click to read Christina’s Bio.

Ian Kay, Q.C., Awarded Outstanding Achievement Award by the City of Grande Prairie

KMSC Law would like to congratulate Ian Kay, Q.C., recipient of the George Repka Outstanding Achievement Award for the tremendous impact he has made on the various recreational, cultural and social services in our community.

George Repka was the first Mayor elected after Grande Prairie received City status and he believed that all citizens had a duty to contribute and make their voice heard. The George Repka Award recognizes citizens who have made an outstanding contribution to the City of Grande Prairie in a volunteer capacity.

Ian is truly deserving of this recognition for the selfless service and dedication he has made throughout his career. After coming to Canada from Australia in 1968, Ian quickly became involved with groups in the community and with the development of the City as the population expanded. Ian was instrumental in the following organizations over the years, helping them develop from concepts to cornerstone institutions of the Peace Country:

Queen Elizabeth II Hospital Foundation

Mr. Ian Kay and Mr. Ken Fox were the original founding members of the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital Foundation. Following a large legacy from Sarah Alward, they envisioned a comprehensive fundraising program to support the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital. The Foundation was a way of having the funds go to the benefit of the Hospital while ensuring the City receives the maximum amount of funds from the provincial budget. Ian served as the chairman of the Foundation for many years; during that time, the Foundation grew from its original small group to an organization that has contributed millions of dollars to our local Hospital and to scholarships for students in nursing and the health care professions. Ian is a Heritage Society member.

As chairman of the Foundation, Ian was also one of the founders of the Festival of Trees, which has become one of the major fundraising platforms of the Foundation.

Grande Prairie Regional College Foundation

Ian and others in the College community envisioned a fundraising group to support the students and teachers of the College. The Grande Prairie Regional College Foundation was built on a large legacy, similar to the hospital Foundation. To this day, the College Foundation supports the work of the Grande Prairie Regional College.

Wapiti Community Dorm Society

Ian contributed many hours of community service to the groups that were working towards the development and building of a new community dorm. He believed these social services resources were necessary in our community. The Wapiti Community Dorm Society, incorporated in 1996, became what is known as the Rotary House today.

Grande Prairie Palliative Care Society

In recent years, Ian’s community efforts were focused primarily on working towards the formation of the Grande Prairie Palliative Care Society. The Society members accomplished extensive negotiations and co-operative efforts with many others within the community resulting in the building of the Grande Prairie Hospice.

His involvement in the Grande Prairie community is not limited to the above. Over the years, he has served the following groups:

Ian would be the first to say that the success of these organizations is because so many people in the community came together and pooled their efforts. His contributions were always made quietly and without fan-fare. However, were it not for his innovative thinking and long standing personal dedication, Grande Prairie’s recreational, cultural and social services would not be as well established as they are today.

Ian’s tradition is proudly carried on by the lawyers and staff at KMSC Law through service on numerous community boards and collectively contributing thousands of volunteer hours a year dedicated to not-for profit and charitable organizations in The Peace region.

KMSC Law: The Peace Country’s committed local law firm.