Nova Scotia’s New Minor Injury Compensation Law (2010 to Date)
Changes in 2010
On May 11, 2010 changes were made to Nova Scotia’s “minor injury” compensation cap. The new rules apply to anyone injured in a car collision in Nova Scotia on or after April 28, 2010.
The changes increase the amount of compensation that will be paid to persons who have suffered a so-called “minor injury”.
The amount of the minor injury cap is increased to $7,500.00. This amount increase s every year in accordance with inflation.
The changes expand the number of car collision victims whose claims will get over the “minor injury” cap. In other words, as a result of the changes more people will be entitled to receive compensation for their injuries.
The definition of what actually is considered to be a “minor injury” has changed.
A minor injury is now defined as:
- A sprain;
- A strain;
- A “Whiplash Associated Disorder” injury (WAD injury).
Whiplash Associated Disorder is a diagnosis widely used by the medical community to define or diagnose connective tissue or muscle related injuries caused by acceleration/ deceleration trauma.
Grades of WAD
There are four levels or “grades” of Whiplash Associated Disorder. I have included a table on the following page which shows how each level of a WAD injury is defined under the new minor injury definition.
Under the new definition, any car collision victim who has suffered
a WAD 0, WAD 1 or WAD 2 injury will be considered to have suffered a “minor injury”. Their claim for “pain and suffering” will be capped at $7,500.00.
WAD 3 and WAD 4 Injuries Not Capped
WAD 3 injuries is whiplash that results in neurological signs (for example reduced or missing deep tendon reflexes, weakness, loss of feeling ).
WAD 4 injuries, any fractures or dislocations to the spine, are not capped.
Even if a car collision victim suffers a sprain, strain or WAD injury that appears to be capped, the new regulations indicate that the claim will not be capped if the injury results in a “serious impairment”.
Serious impairment is defined under the Act as a substantial inability to perform any or all of the following:
- The essential duties of the injured persons regular employment;
- The essential tasks of the injured persons training or education;
- The normal activities of the claimant’s daily living.
Penalty For Not Getting Treatment
The Insurance Act now contains penalties for car crash victims who fail to follow their doctor’s medical advice. Claimants who, without reasonable excuse, have not sought and complied with “all reasonable treatment recommendations” of their doctor may still have their claim capped even if the claim doesn’t meet the definition of a minor injury.
In other words, if a car collision victim suffers a serious injury their claim may still be capped at $7,500.00 if they don’t attend physiotherapy, massage therapy, or follow their doctor’s advice regarding proper rehabilitation from their injuries.
It is important to remember that this summary of the changes to Nova Scotia’s “minor injury” legislation should not be taken as legal advice regarding your specific situation.
Every case is unique. We cannot provide you with a legal opinion without knowing all of the facts of your situation and without considering all of the medical evidence regarding the nature and extent of your injuries.
If you have been injured in a car collision on or after April 28, 2010 you should seek advice from an experienced Nova Scotia car collision lawyer.
Grades of Whiplash Associated Disorder
WAD 0 No complaints about the neck. No physical signs.
WAD 1 Neck complaint of pain, stiffness or tenderness only. No physical signs.
WAD 2 Neck complaint and musculoskeletal signs. Musculoskeletal signs include decreased range of motion and point tenderness.
WAD 3 Neck complaint and neurological signs. Neurological signs include decreased or absent deep tendon reflexes, weakness and sensory deficits.
WAD 4 Neck complaint and fracture or dislocation.
For more information about how the neck can be injured in a car collision read How Neck Ligaments Are Injured In A Car Crash