Minor Injury Regulation Changes In Alberta Province

In 2004, Alberta’s Provincial Government introduced Minor Injury Regulations in order to limit the amount of compensation awarded to individuals who suffered less serious in motor vehicle collisions. This limit or “cap” on the amount of damages that plaintiffs can recover in a personal injury case currently stands at $5,080. However, no cap has been placed on damages such as:

• cost of care
• future treatment costs
• hospital and medical expenses
• loss of home maintenance and housekeeping capabilities
• lost income

Determination of Injury Claim Cap

In order to determine whether a person’s injuries fall under to cap, insurance adjusters and personal injury lawyers examine several documents. This includes all relevant case law, the Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols Regulation, Minor Injury Regulation, and the person’s medical records.

Minor Injury vs. Serious Impairment

The law defines “minor injury” as a sprain, strain, or Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD) sustained in a motor vehicle collision with NO serious impairment resulting. These are defined as follows:

• Sprains refer to stretched or torn ligaments
• Strains refer to stretched or torn muscles or tendons
• WAD injuries refer to any neck trauma attributed to rapid motor vehicle acceleration or deceleration

Furthermore, there are 5 classifications of whiplash associated disorders. However, it is only WAD I and WAD II that the damage cap applies to:

• WAD I – neck pain; range of motion and strength categorized as normal; no apparent muscle spasms or swelling

• WAD II – neck pain; range of motion categorized as limited; neck and shoulder spasms, swelling, and tenderness present (possibly related to internal bleeding and swelling that has been caused muscle tears or sprained ligaments)

“Serious impairments” are defined as a cognitive or physical impairment which includes:

• ongoing impairment since the accident occurred
• significant inability to perform normal daily activities, educational tasks, or work-related responsibilities
• substantial improvement not expected any time soon
Additionally, there has been an amendment to the Minor Injury Regulation regarding changes to temporomandibular jaw or TMJ injuries (exceptions include bone and teeth injuries as well as articular disc damage or displacement). You might want to consult with your lawyer if you have similar injuries to know more about the cap.

Mental and psychological trauma

Minor psychological trauma has been limited under the Minor Injury regulation after June 2018. Usually, this encompasses anxiety and depression stemming from whiplash injuries. Those mental trauma and injuries that cannot be cured when the individual heals physically maybe not capped.

However, it is important to note that all of these have been made applicable for vehicular accidents after June 2018. For additional information, it is recommended that you talk with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Sherwood Park.