Determining whether or not your Alberta personal injury claim is capped under Alberta’s Minor Injury Regulation is fundamental to determining the value of your injury claim. In 2017 our law firm has seen a significant uptake in the number of people who are phoning our office with concerns about whether their claim is capped by Alberta’s Minor Injury Regulation. We are seeing a significant number of people calling our office who have been wrongly told by insurance companies or insurance adjusters that their soft tissue injury, of over one year of pain and suffering, and still ongoing, is capped at $5,000.00 (for 2017 collisions). This is not true.
It is true there is a minor injury cap in Alberta, passed at the urging of the insurance industry lobby that caps soft tissue/connective tissue injuries for pain and suffering at approximately $5,000.00, plus treatment costs, plus loss of wages. But the Minor Injury Regulation is an ambiguous, complex piece of legislation and so the courts have now interpreted that legislation. In layman’s terms it basically says that any soft tissue injury that goes on for more than 10 or 12 months is not a “minor injury” that the Alberta Legislature intended to cap, but is now in fact a chronic pain case that is deserving of far more compensation than $5,000.00 for pain and suffering. This is only common sense.
Unfortunately, many victims are being told by insurance adjusters that all soft tissue injuries are capped and that therefore their claim is capped. This is misleading to victims. All soft tissues injuries are most definitely not capped – only certain kinds of soft tissue injuries are capped and this is specified in the legislation and as interpreted by our courts.
It is unfortunate that insurance companies are again putting profits before people and telling innocent victims of collisions who have long term suffering problems, are not better, and may in fact have permanent soft tissue injury problems developing into chronic pain cases and chronic fatigue cases, that their pain and suffering is capped at $5,000.00! This is a massive injustice on a large scale to Albertans.
In addition to soft tissue injuries, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench has very clearly said that other injuries such as Brain Injuries, Chronic Pain Cases, Bone Fractures, TMJ Dysfunction Cases, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Chronic Fatigue cases such as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, (ME/CFS) are not capped by the Minor Injury Regulation. If you have been in a motor vehicle collision, due to the complexity and how poorly written the Minor Injury Regulation is in Alberta, it is very important that you talk to an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer who is familiar with the details of the legislation and the court interpretation of that legislation to determine if in fact your claim is capped. The difference between a capped claim and a non-capped claim can be $30,000, $40,000 or $50,000 or more. In fact, we recently had a woman call us and tell us the insurance company told her her case was capped at $5,000, when her case is probably worth in excess of $100,000.00.
You need to be aware that the insurance company, despite being fair with you in fixing or replacing your vehicle, does not act for you and does not owe a legal obligation to advise you as to what is fair for your injury claim. If you represent yourself, you are on your own. Ask yourself if you have the knowledge of various injuries and what they are worth in law, and secondly ask yourself if you have the leverage to force a multi-million-dollar insurance company to pay money to you. The leverage we have as lawyers to force a multi-million-dollar insurance company to pay a fair amount is that if they do not negotiate fairly, according to the existing case law, we will take the defendant and the insurance company to court and have a Justice of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench order the insurance company to pay a fair amount.
Contact Handel Law Firm now and receive a free consult and we will determine if you need a lawyer to pursue your injury claim.