Understanding the Minor Injury Cap
Being injured in a motor vehicle accident can be expensive. Many car accident survivors incur substantial financial losses in the forms of medical expenses, lost wages, reduced future earning capabilities, and more.
Regardless of how severe your injuries are, if your collision was the result of another driver’s negligence, you should be entitled to pursue compensation for all of your economic damages. By working with a Nova Scotia car accident lawyer, you may be able to recover compensation for any financial loss that was a direct result of the injuries you sustained in the collision.
Sometimes, though, there is no tangible cost associated with the painful consequences of a car accident. As such, if your collision was caused by someone else’s negligence, you might also be able to pursue compensation for non-economic damages (also referred to as “general” damages), such as pain and suffering.
However, depending on the severity of the injuries you have sustained, these general damages might be subject to a government-mandated payment cap. The province of Nova Scotia imposes a Minor Injury Cap on general damages. Therefore, if the injuries you sustained in your collision fall under the definition of “minor injury,” the amount of compensation for pain and suffering you may be able to recover will be capped at a certain amount. This amount is adjusted annually for inflation.
What is a Minor Injury?
The Nova Scotia Insurance Act defines a minor injury as “strains, sprains, and whiplash associated disorders grades 1 and 2 (WAD)” that do not result in a “serious impairment” of a physical and cognitive function.
These types of injuries are typically classified as “soft tissue injuries.” They affect a body’s soft tissues, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Injuries are considered to be “serious impairments” if they interfere with the claimant’s ability to regularly perform the duties of their jobs, disrupt their education, or limit their ability to perform their normal activities of living on an ongoing basis. If the patient’s prognosis is not expected to improve substantially, their injuries might be considered “serious impairments.”
General damages available to car accident survivors are only capped if they have only sustained injuries that fit the definition of minor injuries. However, if you have sustained other, more severe injuries in addition to your soft tissue injuries, the minor injury cap may no longer apply to your claim.
These additional injuries could include concussions, bone fractures, disfigurement, and other physical injuries. They could even include mental health disorders arising from the collision, such as anxiety or depression. However, all claims need to be assessed and evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
What is the Payment Cap for Minor Injury Claims?
It is important to remember that the Minor Injury Cap only applies to the general damages portion of a car accident victim’s claim. Only the costs of non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) are subject to this payment cap. Other types of damages (including losses of past and future income, medical expenses, costs of future care, and more) are not limited by a payment cap.
Each year the Minor Injury Cap is adjusted to account for inflation. The Nova Scotia Minor Injury Cap for 2023 has been set to $10,000.00.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
Determining if an injury falls within the scope of the Minor Injury Cap can require complicated legal analysis. Some soft tissue injuries can result in ongoing impairment, which might qualify a motor vehicle collision survivor for higher amounts of damages.
However, insurance companies may try to downplay the severity of a claimant’s injuries in an attempt to reduce their settlement amount. They might insist that the victim’s injuries should be subject to the Minor Injury Cap, even if it causes them ongoing pain, discomfort, and financial losses.
Our Nova Scotia car accident lawyers have experience helping injured victims of motor vehicle collisions get the compensation they deserve. To review the circumstances of your collision and learn about the compensation to which you should be entitled based on the severity of your injuries, contact us today and receive a free initial consultation on your case.