In 2003, a “CAP” for minor personal injuries was put in place by the New Brunswick Government as a result of ever increasing automobile insurance premiums. The selling point behind the minor personal injury cap was to reduce compensation for pain and suffering paid to injured people who suffered from a minor injury, recovered, and were able to return to their pre-accident level of function.

2003 “Cap” Regulation

The cap was for a maximum amount of $2,500 for pain and suffering resulting from injuries that met the definition of the Injury Regulation.

The 2003 cap was worded in a way that had unforeseen consequences for people who suffered what a layperson would consider a significant injury. Many New Brunswickers thought, as insurance companies wanted them to believe when pushing to implement the cap, that only soft tissue injuries were “capped” at $2,500. In fact however, the wording of the 2003 cap does not explain what specific type of injuries are subject to the cap. Rather, the regulation says that no matter the injury, if an injured person could return to the same type of work or activities as before the accident, without a permanent injury that substantially interfered with work or activities, this person’s pain and suffering compensation would be capped at $2,500.

This had the potential of victims who had broken bones, brain injuries or spinal cord injuries, just to name a few, who the insurance companies said only deserved $2,500 for pain and suffering if they were able to return to work or their activities after a long and painful rehabilitation process that often left them with permanent injuries and symptoms.

Needless to say that insurance companies made a lot of money after the cap was introduced as they were paying a lot less for claims and did not pass all of the savings along to their customers.

2013 Amendments

In 2013, after numerous consultations and a thorough review, the New Brunswick Government introduced a new minor personal injury cap of $7,500 indexed to inflation for victims injured on or after July 1, 2013. This new cap corrected issues with the old cap by, for example and probably most importantly, changing the definition of minor personal injury to explicitly list a series of injuries that are considered “minor”. These injuries are as follows:
  • a contusion;
  • an abrasion;
  • a laceration;
  • a sprain;
  • a strain; and
  • a whiplash associated disorder.
Therefore, if someone is a victim of a car accident in New Brunswick after July 1, 2013 and suffers an injury other than any of the six listed above, the cap would not apply.

Victims of car accident in New Brunswick after July 1, 2013 who have suffered from one of the six listed injuries are still able to claim that the new cap does not apply to their specific situation if their injury results in serious impairment.

The government also added provisions to the new cap whereby the victims of car accident have a duty to use any accommodation provided to assist them in performing work tasks or training and education tasks.

Unfortunately for victims of car accidents between July 1, 2003 and June 30, 2013, the 2003 cap continues to apply as the New Brunswick government did not change the cap retroactively.

The new cap in New Brunswick has come a long way from the initial cap of 2003. The definition for minor personal injuries is much more in line with the initial intentions of government when it was introduced 2003. Insurance companies say that the new cap will increase insurance premiums for you and I when in fact, they are still paying out less for pain and suffering compensation than in “pre-cap” days.

If you have been injured in a car accident in New Brunswick, we encourage you to contact the Lawyers at Fidelis Law Droit to discuss about this topic or to answer any other question you have about your car accident claim.

Minor Injury “Cap” Regulation in PEI

In 2004, the Prince Edward Government as a result of ever-increasing automobile insurance premiums put a “CAP” for minor personal injuries in place. The selling point behind the minor personal injury cap was to reduce compensation for pain and suffering paid to injured people who suffered from a minor injury, recovered, and were able to return to their pre-accident level of function.

2004 “Cap”

The cap was for a maximum amount of $2,500 for injuries that met the definition of Minor personal injury as defined in the Insurance Act.

The 2004 cap was worded in a way that had unforeseen consequences for people who suffered what a layperson would consider a significant injury. Many Islanders thought, as insurance companies wanted them to believe when pushing to implement the cap, that only soft tissue injuries were “capped” at $2,500. In fact however, the wording of the 2004 cap does not explain what specific type of injuries are subject to the cap. Rather, the regulation says that no matter the injury, if an injured person could return to the same type of work or activities as before the accident, without a permanent injury that substantially interfered with work or activities, this person’s pain and suffering compensation would be capped at $2,500.

This resulted in victims who had broken bones, brain injuries or spinal cord injuries, just to name a few, who the insurance companies said only deserved $2,500 for pain and suffering if they were able to return to work or their activities after a long and painful rehabilitation process that often left them with permanent injuries and symptoms.

Needless to say that insurance companies made a lot of money after the cap was introduced as they were paying a lot less for claims and did not pass all of the savings along to their customers.

2014 Amendments

In 2014, the Prince Edward Government introduced a new minor personal injury cap of $7,500 indexed to inflation for victims injured on or after October 1, 2014. Under the new cap in PEI, only three injuries are denied as minor, these injuries are:
  • a sprain;
  • a strain; and
  • whiplash-associated disorder.
Therefore, if someone is a victim of a car accident in Prince Edward Island after October 1, 2014 and suffers an injury other than any of the three listed above, the cap would not apply.

Victims of car accident in Prince Edward Island after October 1, 2014 who have suffered from one of the three listed injuries are still able to claim that the new cap does not apply to their specific situation if their injury results in serious impairment.

The government also added provisions to the new cap whereby the victims of car accident have a duty to use any accommodation provided to assist them in performing work tasks or training and education tasks and to follow recommended medical treatments.

The new cap in Prince Edward Island has come a long way from the initial cap of 2004. The definitions for minor personal injuries are much more in line with the initial intentions of government when it was introduced in the early 2004. Insurance companies say that the new caps will increase insurance premiums for you and I when in fact, they are still paying out less for pain and suffering compensation than in “pre-cap” days.

If you have been injured in a car accident in Prince Edward Island, we encourage you to contact JD Comeau at Fidelis Law Droit to discuss about this topic or to answer any other question you have about your car accident claim
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