Category: Spinal Cord Injuries

Whiplash Injuries and Nova Scotia’s “Minor Injury” Compensation Cap

by John McKiggan

Since 2003 Nova Scotia has had some form of a cap on the amount of compensation innocent accident victims are entitled to receive for their non-pecunaiary damages (what most people refer to as “pain and suffering”). For more information you can read:

Nova Scotia’s Cap on Compensation for ‘Minor Injuries’ in Car Crashes (2003 – 2010)

Although the cap has been in place now for eight years there are few reported decisions where the courts have interpreted what the definitions in the legislation actually mean. As a result, there is still debate between lawyers and insurance adjusters and defence lawyers about what injuries are “capped”.

Court of Appeal Helps Clarify Causation in Personal Injury Claims – Farrant v. Laktin

by John McKiggan

“What Caused My Injury?”

A defendant is only responsible for compensating a plaintiff for injuries caused by the defendant’s negligent conduct. Proving what injuries were, or were not, caused by the defendant’s conduct is often the biggest battle in many personal injury trials. See for example, Causation in Personal Injury Claims.

There has been some legal debate as to how the Supreme Court of Canada’s decisions in Athey v Leonati and the more recent decision of Resurfice Corp v. Hanke relate to one another.

Turning Your Head Increases Risk of Whiplash Injury

by John McKiggan

“Are Whiplash Claims Capped?”

Recent changes to Nova Scotia’s so-called “minor injury” compensation cap rate the injury using what is known as the Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD) Scale. Compensation for non-pecuniary damages for WAD 0, WAD 1 and WAD 2 injuries are “capped” at $7,500.00.

But compensation for more severe forms of whiplash WAD 3 and WAD 4 injuries are not subject to the “minor injury” cap.

Court of Appeal Upholds Record Award for Chronic Pain – Degennaro v. Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital

by John McKiggan

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently released its reasons in Degennaro v. Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. The Court of Appeal confirmed a $3 million compensation award for chronic pain stemming from a slip and fall injury.

As far as I can tell, the decision is the largest compensatory damage award from chronic pain in Canada.

Diane Degennaro was visiting her son who was a patient at the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. A nurse at the hospital offered Ms. Degennaro a bed to sleep in while she was staying with her son. When Ms. Degennaro sat on the bed it collapsed and she fractured her sacrum (the pointed bone at the base of the spine).

Children Should Stay in Rear Facing Seats Longer: Child Safety Experts

by John McKiggan

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for children age 4 and up. Child car seats have been shown to lower the chances of death in a car accident by 28 per cent compared with seatbelts. They have also been found to reduce the severity of car crash injuries.

Most child car seat manufactures recommend that children stay in rear facing seats until they are 1 year old or 9 kilos as a guideline, before being placed in forward facing seats.

Rear Facing Seats Safer
But after reviewing data from injuries due to car crashes over several years that shows that children in rear-facing car seats are more likely to surivive, the American Academy of Pediatrics and U.S. traffic safety officials have teamed up to release new guidelines that recommend toddlers should sit in rear-facing car seats until age two. If a child under the age of two outgrows the weight limits for their infant car seat, they should be moved to a rear-facing convertible car seat and kept in that position until age two.

Brain Injuries: Minor Hockey Players 10x More Likely to Suffer Brain Injuries

by John McKiggan

Body Checking Increases Risk of Bain Injury

Perhaps this new research should have been published in the Journal of Common Sense (if there was such a thing they probably wouldn’t have enough subscribers).

A new study of minor hockey players has found that the incidents of brain injury in 9 and 10 year olds has increased ten times since Hockey Canada decided to allow body checking at a younger age in minor hockey.

Nova Scotia Motor Cycle Injury Claims – Helmets Reduce Spinal Cord Injuries

by John McKiggan

Nova Scotia has had a mandatory helmet law for motorcycles (and bicycles) for many years. But there are some jurisdictions in the United States (Florida and Texas for example) where motorcycle helmets are not required.


There are “mountains” of studies that prove that helmets reduce the risk of death and brain injury after a motorcycle accident. But opponents to mandatory helmet laws have claimed for some time that helmets increase the risk of spinal injury because of the torsion laced on the neck by a heavy helmet.