A paper written by J. Derek Allchurch and Geoffrey D.W. Brisbin, Litwiniuk & Company
“The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.” – Tacitus
The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of Alberta’s Minor Injury Regulation and a comparison with the parallel legislative schemes in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The purpose of the Minor Injury Regulation is to limit the recovery of a plaintiff for pain and suffering relating to “minor injuries” sustained in a motor vehicle accident. In effect, this has limited the discretion of the judiciary in assessing damages and seems to fly in the fact of the core principle underpinning tort law, restitutio in integrum.
After a brief review of the legislation, the paper will canvas the three seminal decisions which inform the application of the Minor Injury Regulation in Alberta today. Following this, a comparison of the Alberta legislation with that of the Maritime Provinces will allow for a better understanding of where the régimes differ and the possibilities for cross jurisdictional application. Finally, lessons and strategies learned in Alberta for getting outside of the cap will be discussed with the hope that they will aide in maximizing recovery for Atlantic claimants.
As Newfoundland and Labrador does not currently have regulations in place which restrict minor injury damages in motor vehicle accidents (though, there is a $2,500 deductible), the legislation in Newfoundland and Labrador will not be discussed. However, the popularity of insurance reform amongst insurers make the implementation of minor injury legislation in Newfoundland and Labrador a distinct possibility.
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