What is a “Minor Injury” in Car Accidents?
The Minor Injury Guideline (MIG) is a policy under Ontario’s Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS), which is a piece of legislation that sets out the rights, responsibilities and rules for insurance companies and insured persons in dealing with auto insurance claims. The current version of the MIG was released in 2014.
What is a Minor Injury?
For the purposes of the MIG, a minor injury means one or more of the following:
- whiplash associated disorder
- any clinically associated sequelae (meaning an injury or condition that arises because of another injury)
The MIG does NOT cover:
- injuries requiring surgery
What Benefits Can I Receive for a Minor Injury?
The MIG sets a cap of $3,500 for the medical and rehabilitation benefits you can receive for your “minor” injury. This allows you to obtain treatment without needing ongoing approval from your insurance company. The goal is to ensure people injured in car accidents get help quickly and heal fully.
These benefits go towards paying for healthcare and rehabilitation care to recover from your injury. That could be care from a physician, chiropractor, dentist, occupational therapist, optometrist, psychologist, physiotherapist, registered nurse or speech-language pathologist.
They can also cover the costs of equipment that you need for your recovery, such as therabands, gym balls, hot or cold packs, lumbar rolls, etc.
If you have extended health benefits, you must use those first before you can collect the auto insurance benefits available to you through the MIG.
Why is Correct Injury Categorization so Important?
Insurance companies are quick to classify injuries as minor for the sake of efficiency and saving money. But having your injuries incorrectly classified in the MIG puts you at a great disadvantage.
Even if your injuries are considered to be minor, the $3,500 of coverage granted by the MIG can be used up fairly quickly.
There is a huge difference in terms of what benefits you’re entitled to with an “minor” injury versus a more serious injury (considered a “non-catastrophic” injury). Where minor injuries have a $3,500 cap, non-catastrophic injuries have a cap of $65,000–that cap is a combined limit for medical, rehabilitation and attendant care costs.
The third and most serious category of car accident injuries is “catastrophic”, which has a $1,000,000 cap that also combines medical, rehabilitation and attendant care costs.
If you suffered a concussion or are struggling psychologically, it may be possible to have your injuries moved out of MIG classification. Because these injuries may not be as apparent or obvious, they can be harder to diagnose or prove.
If you have a documented pre-existing medical condition or have other conditions caused by the car accident that would prevent you from achieving maximal recovery if limited to $3,500, you may be able to have your injuries moved out of the MIG category.
If you’re injured in a car accident, get checked by a medical professional right away. During this challenging pandemic, you may be tempted not to go into a hospital or other medical facility if you can possibly avoid it–but it is critical that your injuries and condition are assessed. Sometimes injuries that seem minor initially, or that you assume will heal on their own, actually get worse over time.
If you are having any trouble getting the benefits you need to recover from car accident injuries, an injury lawyer can advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive the benefits you need and are entitled to. Contact us today to find out how we can assist you.