In a recent announcement, the Superintendent of Insurance established a minor injury maximum value for 2022 at $5.365. This is a 2.3 percent raise over the previous year’s. The minor injury cap also applies to car accidents in Alberta on or after January 1, 2022.
According to the Minor Injury Regulation, the minor injury cap amount shall be modified each year in compliance with the annual adjustments in the Alberta Consumer Price Index. Since 2004, the Alberta government has set yearly maximum minor injury amounts.
Let’s take a closer look at what constitutes a minor injury regulation in Alberta.
Minor Injury Regulation in Alberta
The government has reduced the total damages payable for mild soft tissue injuries since 2004 through the MIR (Minor Injury Regulation).
The MIR is designed to limit the amount of damages awarded for minor injuries such as sprains, strains, and “whiplash-associated disorder (WAD)” that do not cause substantial impairment.
The minor injury cap was $4,000 in 2004, but it has increased by 2.3 percent due to inflation. In 2021, it started at $5,365 and grew up to $5,488 in 2022.
Soft Tissue Damage in Simple Terms
A soft tissue injury, often known as a minor injury, is when tissue, ligaments, muscles, or tendons are damaged but do not become permanently impaired for work, play, or other daily activities.
The Minor Injury Regulation (the “Cap”) is not Always Applicable.
It’s important to understand that not all soft tissue injuries have a cap. The important question is whether your injuries have left you with a “serious impairment” that prevents you from carrying out your job’s essential functions, those of an educational or training program, or other regular daily activities. This impairment must have remained since the accident and is not expected to “improve substantially.”
Depending on the supporting documentation for your injury, you can determine if it qualifies as “minor” and is covered by the cap. An injury that at first seems minor could end up causing you long-term issues. One of many good reasons to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your case is to determine whether your injuries fall within or outside the cap. Finding out all of your options is always a smart step when it comes to your wellbeing and rights.
What is Considered a Minor Injury in Alberta?
A minor injury is a sprain, strain, or whiplash associated disorder (WAD) resulting from a motor vehicle collision that does not substantially impair, as defined by the statute.
Order in Council 333/2020 recently redefined the term ‘minor injury,’ which began on November 1, 2020. The concept of slight injury was broadened as a result of these revisions.
The minor injury definition has been expanded to include the words:
“caused by the accident that does not result in a serious impairment, as well as any clinically associated sequelae of a sprain, strain, or WAD injury, whether physical or psychological in nature, caused by the accident that does not result in a serious impairment, that occurs on or after November 1, 2020.”
According to the new wider definition, anything related to the stated injuries (psychological or physical) can be considered a minor injury. As a result, minor psychological injuries are now included in this definition, whereas previously, psychological injuries weren’t included under the term “minor injuries.”
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and accompanying muscle injuries were long thought to be outside the purview of the minor injury cap. TMJ injuries are now included in the new definition, aiming to bring them under the quota.
Dentists were also authorized to examine patients to see if they had a minor TMJ injury. Earlier, accident victims would see a TMJ expert have their damage evaluated. This is an effort to maintain assessment expenses because dentists’ prices are substantially lower than TMJ experts.
Read Also: What are the Minor Injury Guideline?
Important Definitions Relating to Minor Injury
As defined under the Minor Injury Regulation, the term’ minor injury’ is a nebulous, complicated, and perplexing concept. We’ll try to deconstruct and describe some of the medical words associated with “minor injury.”
A sprain occurs when ligaments, the tight fibrous tissue bands that link two bones in your joints, stretch or rip.
A strain is defined as a muscle or tendon (fibrous cords in tissue that connect the bones & muscles) stretching or tearing.
WAD injuries are neck injuries produced by fast acceleration and deceleration, common in car accidents. WAD is divided into five levels. Minor injury damage cap Alberta only applies to WAD I and WAD 2.
Neck pain without a range of motion and strength loss, no swelling or muscular spasm is classified as WAD I.
Neck pain accompanied by a limited range of motion, spasm or edema, and neck and shoulder tenderness, possibly due to damaged ligaments or muscle tears producing internal bleeding and swelling, is classified as WAD II.
A “severe impairment” is defined as a cognitive or physical disability that:
- Results in a major incapacity to perform essential duties of the job, schooling, or normal daily activities
- Has persisted since the accident
- Is not likely to improve significantly.
Minor Injury Cap
The Alberta Government originally enacted the Minor Injury Regulation limiting compensation for less severe injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents. The government was striving to compromise between injury victims’ rights and rising insurance expenses.
The idea was to bring Alberta drivers’ insurance prices down. The law establishes a “limit” on the amount in general damages that an injured individual with modest injuries can collect.
The Small Injury Regulation only applies to minor soft-tissue injuries and caps pain and suffering damages. Compensation for lost wages, medical bills, losing housekeeping capacity, care expenses or future treatment costs is not capped.
Though the name and nature suggest minor injuries are not entirely troublesome for prolonged periods, you are entitled to general damages if the injuries are wrongfully caused. Consult an experienced personal injury lawyer to get legal procedures sorted appropriately.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Minor Injury in Alberta?
Damage to ligaments, tissue, muscles, or tendons caused by a motor vehicle accident and not involving long-term limitations with regular activities is referred to as a minor injury.
What is the Minor Injury Cap in Alberta?
The minor injury cap in Alberta stands at $5,488 in 2022.
How Much is Pain and Suffering in Alberta?
For collisions in 2021, if it is capped, the average amount received as General Damages from pain and suffering is $5,365.00.
How will Minor Injury Regulations Affect You?
The minor injury regulations determine the amount in general damages you can receive for any personal injury claims you may make.