Did you know there are Injuries that are not ‘caught’ by the ‘Cap’ on ‘Minor Injuries’? Insurance companies don’t want you to know about these injuries; they’d rather have you settle for less than what is afforded to you. Here is a list of injuries not included, and a brief description of each:
- TMJ (temporomandibular joint) injuries;
- Psychological injuries (depression, anxiety, ptsd)
- Chronic Pain
- Dental injuries
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) injuries
The temporomandibular joint (also known as a ‘TMJ’) is basically the hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. There is a TMJ on each side of your face. When the TMJ is not working properly due to trauma, it is often called a temporomandibular dysfunction (or disorder). Often this is called TMD for short. In motor vehicle collisions (or any other sort of trauma where the head is quickly shunted forward and then backwards) the TMJ can be stretched beyond its normal range of motion and traumatized. This can lead to TMD. This sort of injury is very common in rear-end type car accidents. The symptoms of TMD can be a sore jaw, pain or discomfort eating, clicking or cracking when opening or closing your mouth/jaw, ringing or buzzing in your ears, or a decreased range of motion in opening your mouth/jaw. If you have any of these symptoms, go and see your dentist and/or dental specialist (who deals with TMD) and notify your lawyer of the symptoms. TMJ injuries are not caught or covered by the ‘Cap’ on motor vehicle injuries (the Minor Injury Regulation).
Psychological injuries (depression, anxiety, ptsd)
Psychological injuries such as Depression, Anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder often occur following motor vehicle accidents. It is very common for people to pay more attention to the physical rather than the emotional injuries suffered in a car accident. However, the emotional or psychological injuries/symptoms can be just as serious and ought not be ignored nor downplayed. It is very important to treat your psychological/emotional injuries just as seriously as your physical injuries. Chronic pain is often a trigger for these types of psychological injuries and symptoms. Psychological injuries are not caught or covered by the ‘Cap’ on motor vehicle injuries (the Minor Injury Regulation). If you have symptoms of Depression, Anxiety or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, be sure to discuss them with your family doctor and relate them to your lawyer.
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Chronic Pain from motor vehicle accidents is pain that continues to affect your day-to-day life or function more than three to six months after a collision or trauma. Our Courts have made it clear that the Minor Injury Regulation was NOT intended to and does NOT cover injuries/symptoms that last longer than six months. If you have been suffering the ill effects from a car accident or other traumatic event (caused by the negligence of someone else) for more than six months, you should definitely call a lawyer to discuss your rights. The fact that the injuries/symptoms have lasted as long as they have is a pretty good sign that they will not resolve as quickly as hoped and now fall outside the Minor Injury Regulation. If you are in any doubt as to whether your injuries/symptoms fall outside the Minor Injury Regulation and are therefore not ‘capped’ call a lawyer. The insurance companies will almost certainly offer you a small settlement early on in the hopes that you will ‘bite’ before you realize the extent of your injuries/symptoms or the time that it will take for them to heal (or improve). Don’t fall into that ‘trap’ – call a lawyer.
Concussions occur when there is a trauma to your brain. This can occur in any sort of car accident – it does not have to be at high speed or cause a lot of damage to any of the vehicles involved. The trauma to your brain occurs when your brain is suddenly moved forward/backwards/sideways and hits your skull. Remember that your brain is soft and your skull is hard. There is not a lot of distance between your brain and your skull. This is why it doesn’t take much force to send your brain crashing into your skull with you suffering a concussion as a result. Concussions are NOT covered by the Minor Injury Regulation. If you suffer a concussion, don’t allow the insurer for the at-fault vehicle to try to negotiate a settlement with you without speaking with a lawyer first. Although there is a greater understanding of concussions today than there was thirty years ago – when I started practicing Law – there is still a big gap in both understanding how to measure, treat and cure concussions.
The Minor Injury Regulation (the ‘Cap’) was designed for the insurance companies in order to limit claims by people injured by the negligence of the insurance companies’ drivers. However, the Courts have significantly limited the Minor Injury Regulation to ‘soft tissue’ injuries that resolve in three to six months. Fractures to bones are NOT covered by the Cap. ANY sort of fracture would take you outside of the Cap. In other words, a broken finger or nose or toe for example, would mean that your injuries fall outside of the Cap. If you are not sure whether your injuries/symptoms fall outside of the Cap, speak with a lawyer.
Dental injuries are not ‘capped’ by the Minor Injury Regulation. If you have suffered, for example, a chipped tooth or temporomandibular joint injury, they are not ‘capped’ and you can claim damages from the at-fault driver for your injuries. In over thirty years of practicing personal injury Law, I have seen many people suffer various types of dental injuries from motor vehicle and other accidents. Often the damage to the teeth are not immediately dealt with, as the individual is more concerned about pain and suffering from a neck or back injury. Also, a person’s teeth can suffer a hairline crack that is not identified for weeks or months. Additionally, I have seen cases where a person’s teeth fillings or crowns have been negatively affected by the trauma from an accident. If you are unsure as to whether or not your dental issues are related to a recent (or not-so-recent) accident or collision, see your dentist, a dental specialist and relate the issue to your lawyer.