November 2, 2011 by Canadian Underwriter
New Brunswick’s Auto Insurance Working Group has recommended that the government increase its minor injury auto cap from $2,500 to between $4,000 and $6,000.
Also, the cap should be subject to annual indexing to CPI, the working group also recommended.
New Brunswick appointed the working group in January 2011 to review the province’s $2,500 cap on pain and suffering for minor injuries sustained in auto accidents. The review was precipitated by suggestions that the $2,500 cap was too low.
The New Brunswick working group also recommended that the government change its definition of a minor injury. Under current legislation a “minor personal injury” is defined as follows:
“Minor personal injury” means an injury that does not result in:
“a) Permanent serious disfigurement
“b) Permanent serious impairment of an important bodily function caused by a continuing injury which is physical in nature.
‘Serious impairment’ means an impairment that causes substantial interference with a person’s ability to perform his/her usual daily activities or regular employment.”
The new definition would replace the wording above to read:
“A minor personal injury is a sprain or strain or whiplash-associated disorder, or a combination thereof, which results in minor consequences to a person’s life. ‘Minor consequences’ means that neither the impairments nor the limitations resulting from the injury last more than six months and a person substantially retains his or her pre-accident bodily functions, level of activities and participation in life.”
Other recommendations include educating claimants injured in auto accidents about their rights, access to early care and assessment and a continuing review process.