I tell many clients that even though they may think their claim is ‘capped’ under the Minor Injury Regulations, it may not be. The best example I can give of a claim where the client thought that there injury was ‘capped’ but turned out it was not is as follows:
The client was in a car accident and suffered injuries to her neck that her family doctor described as a ‘WAD II’. This means that she was diagnosed with a whiplash associated soft tissue injury to her neck. She had an xray right after the accident and it did not show any ‘bony’ injury. The client was off work for about a month after the collision and then returned to work on a modified basis and eventually was back at work fulltime within about three or four months.
At eighteen months post-collision her family doctor provided me with a medical report again calling the injury a ‘WAD II’. As my client continued to suffer chronic pain from her injuries I told her not to entertain settlement discussions and to continue to treat the injuries as appropriate (chiropractic/massage/physiotherapy/medications) and wait until she reached ‘maximum medical improvement’. At thirty months post-collision she had an increase in her pain symptoms and had a CT scan done at the hospital. A CT scan is a more detailed imaging than that provided by xray.
The CT scan showed that my client had a fractured neck and had had that since the collision (according to the neurological specialist she saw for potential neck surgery after getting the CT scan). The defendant’s insurer tried to argue at trial that the fractured neck could have been there ‘from birth’. Needless to say, that argument held little sway and the case was settled very favourably for my client just before the judge came back with his decision.
The moral of this story is that don’t make assumptions about your injuries if it at first appears that they are ‘capped’. They may be, but they may not.
Speak to a lawyer to review your specific fact situation.
Photo courtesy of dhammaza from Flickr.