A Positive Tort Reform in the Works? Nova Scotia and the Minor Injury Cap


Tort reform generally refers to limiting the rights of those injured through the carelessness of others to the beneift of insurance company profits.  To this end Alberta and Nova Scotia enacted laws over the last several years artificially capping the compensation certain injured people can claim for non-pecuniniary damages (money for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life).
These laws have been the subject of various court challenges and in 2009 the Alberta Court of Appeal found that Province’s Soft Tissue Injury Cap was constitutional and around the same time Nova Scotia’s Court of Appeal concluded that their ‘minor injury claims’ cap was also valid.
It’s against this background that I read a surprisingly refreshing headline today at The Lawyers Weekly.   The Nova Scotia government is considering abolishing their “minor injury cap” which limits non-pecuniary damages in that Province for certain injuries to $2,500.    One of the problems with the law is that many serious injuries such as broken bones and chronic soft tissue injuries could be considred ‘minor’ given the wording of the law.
The Lawyers Weekly reports that the Premier of Nova Scotia claims that the cap ‘is preventing people who have been seriously injured from pursuing compensation and will not survive in its present form‘.  I could not have summarized the unfairness of these laws better than the Premier himself did when he stated that “Insurance is a product designed to protect people.  If you exclude people from protection…then by definition you’re not delivering the product that has been paid for“.
Nova Scotia is apparently seeking public input on the best way to revise this 6 year old law.  The insurers who proffited under this law will likely rally against this change.  For this reason those interested in seeing this law overturned and having the rights of those injured throught he fault of others restored should make sure their voices are heard.  You can voice your support for this positive change by contacting the Government at the following address:
The Office of the Superintendent of Insurance
PO Box 2271
4th Floor
Provincial Finance Building
1723 Hollis Street
Halifax, NS B3J 3C8
You can click here to read the full story at The Lawyers Weekly.

hartling v. the attorney general of nova scotia, Limits on Negligence Victims Rights, Minor Injury Regulation, morrow v. zhang, Nova Scotia Minor Injury Cap, Soft Tissue Injury Caps, Tort Reform

Comments (46)

  • May I ask, has the Nova Scotia and the Minor Injury Cap ( soft tissue damage) been lifted.. I am currently going though a insurer, about the car accident i was in January 2010.. (rear ended ,and pushed off the road into a 12 ft ditch) by a careless driver.. I heard that this “cap” might be lifted.. So I am curious to see if it was.. The insurer of the other driver that is to blame for this accident ,says that i may settle , now after only 1 month after the accident. Not sure if they are intitling me to the whole $2,500.00 or less ??? I have not yet called they back yet .. I am currently see a physio therpyist 2 times a week and still will have to for a while… If you could may you let me know if or when this “cap” will be lifted?? thank- you so much..

  • May I ask, has the Nova Scotia and the Minor Injury Cap ( soft tissue damage) been lifted.. I am currently going though a insurer, about the car accident i was in January 2010.. (rear ended ,and pushed off the road into a 12 ft ditch) by a careless driver.. I heard that this “cap” might be lifted.. So I am curious to see if it was.. The insurer of the other driver that is to blame for this accident ,says that i may settle , now after only 1 month after the accident. Not sure if they are intitling me to the whole $2,500.00 or less ??? I have not yet called they back yet .. I am currently see a physio therpyist 2 times a week and still will have to for a while… If you could may you let me know if or when this “cap” will be lifted?? thank- you so much..

  • Julie, thank you for your inquiry.
    My understanding is that this cap is in the process of being lifted but the final changes to this law have not yet been finalized.
    Being in BC I don’t have my finger on the pulse of this issue. I would suggest you contact a member of the Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association as their efforts have been key in the upcoming changes to this unfair cap. Their website can be found at the following link:
    http://www.aptla.ca/AP/
    I am confident one of their members will be able to assist you.
    Yours truly,
    Erik Magraken

  • Julie, thank you for your inquiry.
    My understanding is that this cap is in the process of being lifted but the final changes to this law have not yet been finalized.
    Being in BC I don’t have my finger on the pulse of this issue. I would suggest you contact a member of the Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association as their efforts have been key in the upcoming changes to this unfair cap. Their website can be found at the following link:
    http://www.aptla.ca/AP/
    I am confident one of their members will be able to assist you.
    Yours truly,
    Erik Magraken

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If you would like further information or require assistance, please get in touch.

ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

“Work hard, be kind and enjoy the ride!”
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