Nova Scotia’s Minor Injury Cap: NDP Makes “Minor” Improvements

by John McKiggan

Nova Scotia has a cap on the amount of compensation that innocent victims are entitled to receive when they have been injured in a car accident.

I have posted before about the unfairness of Nova Scotia’s minor injury cap. For example, see Benefits of “Minor Injury” Cap Legislation does not Justify Discrimination

Promise to Scrap the Cap

The NDP campaigned on a promise to do away with the $2,500.00 minor injury cap. Most people believed that the NDP intended to scrap the cap altogether since that was the fairest thing to do.

NDP Increases Cap to $7,500.00

However, on April 28, 2010, the NDP Government introduced changes to Nova Scotia’s minor injury cap. Unfortunately, the cap remains in place. The amount of the cap has been increased to $7,500.00 and some minor improvements have been made to the legislation which will allow more accident victims to recover more compensation.

The legislation was passed on May 7, 2010 but the “new” cap will not take effect until it is proclaimed in force.

“Does the Cap Apply to My Claim?”

I get asked that question a lot. Unfortunately there is no single answer. If you have been injured in a car accident you should get the advice of an experienced Nova Scotia Car Accident lawyer.

$2,500.00 Cap Still Applies to “Old” Claims

One of the key issues that the NDP Government had to struggle with was whether any improvements to the minor injury cap would be made “retroactive”. In other words, would the benefits be extended to anyone who has been injured since the minor injury legislation came into affect in November 2003, or would they only apply on a “go forward” basis? Unfortunately, the NDP Government has decided not to make the improvements retroactive.

Anyone who has been injured in a car accident since November 2003 is stuck with the draconian and unfair $2,500.00 minor injury cap.

Amount of Compensation under “New” Minor Injury Cap

As I mentioned, while the minor injury cap remains in place the amount of compensation that injured victims are entitled to recover has increased from $2,500.00 to $7,500.00. While this is an improvement, innocent accident victims who may end up suffering significant injuries that cause pain for the rest of their life will be limited to the maximum recovery of $7,500.00.

In my view this simply isn’t reasonable.

Sprains, Strains and Whiplash

The definition for the old $2,500.00 cap eliminated the vast majority of injury claims, including people who suffered fractures, some forms of disfiguring injuries, and long term chronic pain.

The new definition will focus on limiting compensation to persons who have suffered sprains strains and certain kinds of whiplash. This is certainly more in line with what the insurance industry asked for when they were lobbying for the original minor injury cap.

Details Matter

However, as always, the “devil is in the details” and how the regulations define what is covered by the cap and what is not covered by the cap will ultimately have a huge impact on the fairness (or unfairness) of this new legislation.

So what does it all mean?

There is no question that a cap of $7,500.00 is better than a cap of $2,500.00.

There is no question that limiting the types of injuries that the minor injury cap applies to is an improvement.

Bad Law Bad Policy

However, I believe that placing a cap on the amount of compensation that innocent injured car accident victims are entitled to receive in order to increase insurance company profits is bad law and bad public policy.

Making minor improvements to a bad law does not make the law fair nor does it make it good public policy. I represent hundreds of injured accident victims who have been waiting to resolve their claims in hope that the NDP Government would do the right thing and scrap the minor injury cap altogether. They now face the prospects of having to deal with their claims under the egregiously unfair provisions of the $2,500.00 minor injury cap.

My book, The Consumer’s Guide to Motor Vehicle Accidents in Nova Scotia explains the “minor injury” compensation cap in detail and explains why the cap is unfair.

The book is for sale on Amazon. However, if you live in Nova Scotia, we will send you a copy free when you contact us through this blog.

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