Defining ‘Minor Injury’ in Personal Injury Motor Vehicle Cases

By Roger Foisy on August 30th, 2011

In September 2010, the Ontario Liberal government dramatically reduced the amount of medical and rehabilitation benefits available for injured people. For most Ontario car accident victims, the amount of available rehab money dropped from $100,000 to $3,500 with the introduction of the Minor Injury Guideline (MIG).

The Minor Injury Guideline (MIG) replaced the Pre-Approved Framework (PAF) and its definition of minor injury. Along with this new definition, the MIG includes pre-approved funding, allowing for faster treatment. The purpose of the MIG is to help decrease costs to insurers. For the MIG to profit insurers, at least 55% of all accident benefit claims must be considered minor injuries. In order to be excused from the $3,500 maximum, evidence must be shown that these limited funds would prevent recovery, like evidence of a pre-existing condition.

If proven, the claimant would be taken out of the MIG and given $50,000 worth of treatment services. The PAF mainly defined minor injuries as whiplash-related. The MIG, on the other hand, includes many more options when describing a minor injury; sprains and strains, subluxations, or partial dislocations of a joint, contusions, abrasions, and lacerations. It also still considers whiplash-associated disorders. Then there are sequelae, or the conditions resulting from the original injury.

Unfortunately, the definition does not specifically address psychological disorders, chronic pain, or the specifics of what sequelae actually include. I have seen first-hand how this has impacted people who cannot afford psychological counseling for debilitating driving anxiety, physiotherapy or other medical and rehabilitative aids.

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