If you’ve been in a minor accident since September 1st 2010, then you’re no stranger to the Minor Injury Guideline (or MIG). It’s legislation which governs how much compensation you receive depending on the type of injury you have. Prior to this being passed, all accident victims with non-catastrophic injuries could receive medical benefits of up to $100,000. Now these benefits have been clipped in half to just $50,000 and, in the case of minor injuries, this has been drastically reduced to a mere $3500. If you’re wondering what the MIG is and how it affects you, then read on.
What is the MIG?
The MIG (Minor Injury Guideline) is the approved process for the treatment and care of minor injuries. It supplements the Pre-Approved Framework (PAF) which was passed in 2002. The goal of this guideline is to hasten the treatment and recovery process of victims. It finally gives a separate process and definition to the soft tissue injuries which make up the majority of claims. The MIG has two criteria under which an injury must fall to be covered: 1) It has to have the definition of a Minor Injury as described by the MIG 2) There must be no compelling evidence that a pre-existing condition exists and that this condition would impede or exacerbate the new injury beyond the $3500 limit.
Therefore the MIG defines a minor Injury as follows:
“…means a sprain, strain, whiplash associated disorder, contusion, abrasion, laceration or subluxation (A partial dislocation or a slight misalignment of the vertebrae) and any clinically associated sequelae (A condition that is the consequence of a previous disease or injury). This term is to be interpreted to apply where a person sustains any one or more of these injuries. ”
This means that if you have any of the injuries mentioned above (always verify this with your doctor), and do not have a preexisting condition that makes your injury worse, you fall under the MIG and will only receive medical benefits of up to $3500. Anything beyond that figure will not be covered under the Guideline. If you do have a preexisting condition, you are exempt from this.
So what if you do have a preexisting condition? Well you’re not safe yet. While having a preexisting condition does exempt you, it must be proven that it will interfere with how well you recover from your recent injury. This is not always easy. Insurance companies can deny your claim for additional benefits and, unless you have proper legal representation, you can find yourself settling for a lot less than you are entitled to. This is what happened in the case of Lenworth Scarlett and the Belair Insurance Company.
Mr. Scarlett was a passenger who got injured in a motor vehicular accident in 2010, after the new guideline was passed. The car he was riding in was insured by The Belair Insurance Company and, as such, he was able to claim his benefits from them. It was determined shortly afterward that he sustained soft tissue damage as a result of this accident. According to the Belair Insurance Company, Mr. Scarlett’s injuries fell under the MIG. His lawyer however, showed that there was compelling documentation which proved that he had a preexisting condition and that he was not covered under the MIG. The judge agreed with him, ruling in his favour. Here is what the judge in the case had to say about the matter:
“It makes no sense if the Insurer is positioned to veto access to benefits on the basis of the delivery of a single report, in the face of credible evidence to the contrary, when the resulting delay in treatment could last for years. This runs contrary both to the spirit of the accident benefits scheme and the stated purpose of the Guideline itself.”
As long as the victim provides adequate documentation proving that there is a preexisting condition, it is up to the insurance company to prove that your claim is covered by it. All victims have the right to adequate compensation for their injuries. Imagine if Mr. Scarlett didn’t fight for his case. He’d be stuck with the expenses and taking care of his injuries all by himself! It is important to fight for your rights. Always consult a Minor Injury Lawyer to ensure that you gain the benefits that you deserve.