car accident lawyer edmonton

Minor Vs. Major Injuries: What You Need to Know

When it comes to personal injury law, there are a few key distinctions that you need to know in order to be able to protect yourself following an accident. Whether you’re dealing with major pain and/or extensive injuries following a collision or have minor discomfort that disrupts your daily routine, it’s important to know that there is help you can turn to in order to get proper compensation and subsequent medical care for recovery.

At James H. Brown and Associates, we know that the days following an accident can often be filled with confusion and stress as you navigate the many details at hand. Below, we’ll take a closer look at the difference between minor and major injuries. Read on to learn more!

Why the Distinction Matters

One of the most important reasons to be aware of the distinction between major/minor injuries is that Alberta has imposed a “cap” on the number of damages that can be sought for minor injury claims. For claims occurring after January 1, 2022, the minor injury cap in Alberta is $5,488 (note: this is adjusted annually for compensation). According to the regulations introduced in November 2020, the definition of minor injuries now includes sprains, strains, and whiplash-related injuries, so long as they do not result in serious impairment for the individual affected. In simpler terms: a minor injury is defined as a soft tissue injury that damages tissues, ligaments, muscle or other tendons in such a way that does not cause long-term problems where work, leisure, or overall quality of life is concerned.

When Are You Exempt from the Cap?

While the examples above tend to cover the majority of minor/soft tissue injuries, there are instances that are exempt from the compensation cap. Soft tissues injuries may not be subject to the cap if they involve any of the following:

  • It limits your ability to work, attend school, or perform other essential tasks.
  • It has not improved within three to six months.
  • It is not expected to improve (i.e.: your injuries result in a permanent disability).


It’s also important to be aware that the Cap only limits damages awarded for pain and suffering. This means that you may still be entitled to compensation and relief where the loss of income, sudden inability to perform household tasks and need for long-term expenses are involved. With these stipulations in mind, it is essential to seek medical care as well as sound legal advice as soon as possible following an accident to ensure you have the right kind of protection and assistance where it matters most.

What Constitutes a Major Injury?

In contrast to minor injuries, major injuries (also called serious injuries) are those considered to be significantly life-altering and/or long-lasting. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI), broken bones, severe debilitating pain, and other related kinds of injuries qualify as major impairments and are typically not subject to the cap as mentioned above.

Getting the Help You Deserve

Both major and minor injuries have the ability to disrupt our daily routine and affect our quality of life. While many Edmontonians are often inclined to shrug off minor injuries before realizing just how difficult it can be to manage something like Whiplash on your own, it’s important to realize that it is okay to seek help, and it’s just as important to partner with the right legal firm when handling the realities of dealing with a personal injury.

At James H. Brown and Associates, our team of personal injury lawyers brings over 250 years of combined experience to our cases. Since 1993, we’ve partnered with Edmontonians and clients across Alberta to overcome and resolve tens of thousands of soft tissue and whiplash cases. We believe in making sure you always have the representation you deserve when it matters most, and are proud to offer a Cap guarantee: if the damages you receive from your accident settlement are limited to pain and suffering and restricted by the Cap, we waive our fees*.

With James H. Brown and Associates on your side, you never have to worry about facing the road to recovery alone. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you or your loved one move forward and pursue fair settlements and relief in the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident in Alberta.

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