The term “minor injury cap” leaves anyone with the impression that only minor injuries are capped. It is a misleading term.
For the every-day Albertan, a minor injury would be a bleeding nose or short-term sprain.
But that’s not the way the insurance industry wants to Alberta government to see things, as they are currently lobbying it to expand the definition of a minor injury to a long-lasting concussion, a psychiatric condition, a chronic pain syndrome or a whiplash injury. So much for a so-called “minor” injury.
We’ve illustrated the main injuries which will be considered as “minor” under this regulation below:
Severe concussions can lead to traumatic brain injuries and permanent damage. Common effects of a severe concussion can include: trouble concentrating, memory problems, personality changes, sensitivity to light and noise, insomnia, depression.
Jaw injuries are very painful and some cases render patients unable to chew, talk or open their mouth. Jaw injuries are also associated with chronic pain.
Chronic pain cannot be treated and is ever present in a patient's life. Many who experience chronic pain develop severe depression and even suicidal thoughts.
Patients suffering from mental injuries usually develop depression and phobias as a result of an accident. These changes can manifest as changes to their personality, insomnia and inability to perform their job.
Here’s an example. Imagine that you’re involved in a car accident. You are not at fault. You are left with permanent back pain. Under the new rules, you would be limited to a maximum of $5,296 for pain and suffering. All you are entitled to is a meagre $5,296 to compensate you for a lifetime of pain and suffering.
No. Under this reform, 95 to 97% of injuries would become minor in the eyes of the Alberta government. Anything that isn’t minor would still allow an injured Albertan to seek further compensation in court.
The number of minor injuries is all lumped together, meaning that the maximum compensation for pain & suffering you are entitled to remains $5,296.
This reform would freeze compensation to the salary a person earned at the time of their crash, eliminating lost future wages. This is especially detrimental to young professionals and students who would otherwise have their entire career in front of them.
What do we pay premiums for if auto insurance will refuse to fairly compensate injured Albertans for serious injuries like brain injuries, concussions and PTSD?
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