In Alberta, there is legislation called the Minor Injury Regulations, which places a ‘Cap’ on the damages a person is entitled to if their injuries are limited to sprains, strains, or whiplash grades I or II, which injuries resolve within approximately the first 6 months following the injury.
It is common for insurance companies or others to classify a person’s injuries as “minor” within a short period of time following the injury, leading the individual to believe that they are only entitled to the minor injury amount of $4,777 (as of January 1, 2014) regardless of how their recovery goes or any future consequence of the injuries. It is important to understand that there are a number of injuries which are not considered “minor” under the Regulations, including: orthopedic injuries, head injuries, dental injuries, and neurological injuries, to name a few. Further, even the sprains, strains and whiplash injuries that may initially be considered “minor” can continue to be symptomatic long after the initial 6 months and may then be considered “chronic”, or may result in serious impairment, both of which would take them outside of the ‘Cap’.
For that reason, it is important to seek out appropriate treatment and see how your injuries resolve in the months following an accident before conceding that your injuries are “minor” and agreeing to any settlement with the insurance company. It is also important to be aware that the ‘Cap’ amount of $4,777 is only intended to compensate you for your pain and suffering. If you have incurred any out-of-pocket expenses, require any future care, or have lost any income as a result of your injuries, you should be claiming compensation for those losses, in addition to the damages for pain and suffering.