Claiming for whiplash in Alberta changed drastically on October 1, 2004 when the Provincial Government passed legislation at the request of the auto insurance industry lobby and capped general damages for pain and suffering for whiplash injuries and other so called “soft tissue” injuries. The legislation, unfortunately, also capped injuries for a sprain, first, second and third degree and a strain, first, second and third degree. A third degree sprain or strain in the medical community is defined as a complete tear and rupture of the muscles, tendons and ligaments such that the joint can be freely moved out of its socket. Despite this medical definition which is obviously a severe sprain or strain, in Alberta, thanks to the lobbying of the auto insurance industry, this is now considered “minor” and a capped claim and so pain and suffering is capped at just over $5,000.00 in 2018.
You may claim for additional compensation for loss of wages and treatment costs over and above the pain and suffering.
Note that if the sprain or strain results in a “serious” impairment of a physical or cognitive function that results in a substantial inability to perform your employment, education or normal activities of daily living, and it is not expected to “improve substantially” then you can argue that your claim is not capped. This is a high bar to clear as the bar was, again, written by the auto insurance industry lobby.
Whiplash itself is defined as WAD I or WAD II injury. WAD stands for “whiplash associated disorder”. So, if you were diagnosed with a WAD I or WAD II you can claim for whiplash but the amount you can claim in Alberta is limited by the cap on pain and suffering at just over $5,000.00 in 2018.
This applies to all whiplash injuries in Edmonton or Red Deer and the rest of Alberta, but it only applies to motor vehicle collisions. So, if have a whiplash injury from some other type of mishap or accident or assault or negligence then it is not capped by this legislation.