Ontario Proposes Artificial Caps for "Minor Injuries"
Although this blog is focused almost exclusively on British Columbia legal issues relating to personal injury claims, I do like to keep my eye on other Canadian jurisdictions to stay appraised of significant legal developments. One topic I particularly focus on is so called ‘tort-reform‘ which is generally code for efforts to change the law by limiting the right of compensation to those harmed through the carelessness of others.
As I recently posted, while Nova Scotia has recently taken steps to remove their long-standing artificial caps on pain and suffering awards for so called ‘minor injuries‘, Ontario seems to be moving in the opposite direction.
Today I came across this article from the Canadian Underwriter website which states that “Ontario’s insurance regulator, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), has posted its new Minor Injury Guideline (MIG), a key pillar of the province’s proposed new auto insurance reform package.”
Under the proposal people with ‘minor’ injuries are entitled to benefits “subject to a $3,500 limit“. The proposed definition of a “minor injury” according to the article is:
“a sprain, strain, whiplash associated disorder, contusion, abrasion, laceration or subluxation [a partial but not complete dislocation of the joint], and any clinically associated sequelae [symptoms following on these injuries].”
A whiplash-associated disorder is further described as a whiplash injury that “does not exhibit objective, demonstrable, definable and clinically relevant neurological signs and does not exhibit a fracture in or dislocation of the spine.”
Rarely is it wise public policy to limit the rights of those injured / affected by the actions of others as has now been demonstrated with the wisdom of hindsight with the public disdain at the $75 million oil liability cap which is drawing well deserved critisim south of the border.
Efforts to limit the rights of people to seek lawful compensation usually have one predictable result, and that is to deprive the most deserving people in the affected class of fair and meaningful restoration. Hopefully this minor injury guideline will be reformed before it comes into force.