The Minor Injury Regulation
The Minor Injury Regulation is a regulation that was put in place by the Alberta government in 2004, which limits the amount that an injured person may recover for non-monetary damages. Non-monetary damages, or general/non-pecuniary damages (as they are also referred to), can be claimed by an injured person for things like pain and suffering, which cannot be quantified in monetary terms. The regulation is only applicable to non-monetary damages and does not include other types of damages that an injured person could claim for, such as loss of income, costs of future care, and expenses to attend physiotherapy and massage therapy.
The applicability of the regulation is limited, such that it is only applies to injuries arising from accidents involving the use or operation of a car or motor vehicle and is limited further to certain types of injuries and by the severity of those injuries.
TYPES OF INJURIES
The types of injuries that the Minor Injury Regulation applies to are sprains, strains, certain types of TMJ injuries and WAD injuries. If there are multiple injuries, then each injury is assessed separately to determine whether the regulation should apply.
A sprain is an injury to a tendon or ligament and a sprain is an injury to one or more muscles.
A TMJ injury is an injury to the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects a person’s jaw to their skull. If there is damage to a person’s bone or teeth or damage or displacement of the articular disc associated with a TMJ injury, then the regulation is not applicable.
WAD means a whiplash-associated disorder. There are different levels of a WAD injury and the Minor Injury Regulation is only applicable to levels 1 and 2, meaning there are no clinically relevant, demonstrable neurological signs and no fractures or dislocations of the spine associated with the WAD injury.
Additionally, if there is a psychological condition, such as anxiety or depression, which arises with one of the injuries subject to the regulation discussed above and resolves with that injury, then the associated condition will also be subject to the minor injury amount.
SEVERITY OF THE INJURY
An injury is determined to be minor and the regulation is applicable if the injury does not result in serious impairment to an individual. An injury is considered to be seriously impairing if 1) the injury has been ongoing since the accident, 2) the injury is not expected to substantially improve, and 3) the injury causes a substantial interference with an individual’s ability to perform tasks in their occupation, educational studies or daily living.
TOTAL AMOUNT RECOVERABLE
The total amount of non-monetary damages that is recoverable for all minor injuries increases each year in accordance with a formula utilizing the Consumer Price Index for Alberta. Below is a table setting out the minor injury amounts for each year.
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