• Hisham Imtiaz

Cyclists & the Minor Injury Guideline

UNDERSTANDING THE MINOR INJURY GUIDELINE


Sadly, our office gets numerous calls from cyclists that have been injured as a result of a motor vehicle collision but question whether or not they are able to access treatment because they were able to ride away from the scene or they don’t have broken bones.


This is a natural response post-crash, but we want to make it absolutely clear that even “minor injuries” allow you to access health benefits for treatment.


In Ontario, a cyclist is entitled to receive Accident Benefits if you are involved in a collision with a motor vehicle, regardless of fault. What benefits may be available to you are outlined under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) and, in part, differ based on the severity of one’s injury.

For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the Minor Injury Guideline (MIG), which applies to a majority of situations where one’s injuries fall under the definition of a “minor injury”.


What is a Minor Injury?

The definition of a minor injury is set out in two places, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario’s Superintendent’s Guideline No. 01/14 and under s.3 of the SABS. To summarize, a minor injury is defined as containing one or more of the following:

  • Sprain;

  • Strain;

  • Whiplash associated disorder;

  • Contusion;

  • Abrasion;

  • Laceration or subluxation; and

  • Any clinically associate sequelae (this translates to mean any injury or condition that arises from one of the above).

The following definitions are further elaborated on:

  • Sprain means an injury to one or more tendons or ligaments or to one or more of each, including a partial but not a complete tear;

  • Strain means an injury to one or more muscle, including a partial but not a complete tear;

  • Subluxation means a partial but not a complete dislocation of a joint;

  • Whiplash injury means an injury that occurs to a person’s neck following a sudden acceleration-deceleration force; and

  • Whiplash associated disorder means a whiplash injury that, a) does not exhibit objective, demonstrable, definable and clinically relevant neurological signs, and b) does not exhibit a fracture in or dislocation of the spine

If your injuries are found to fall under one or more of the above, then your injuries will be governed by the MIG.


If you are found to suffer a predominantly minor injury, benefits for medical and rehabilitation benefits are capped at $3,500.00.


Benefits available under the Minor Injury Guideline

Such benefits may be utilized to cover treatments a variety of treatments for your physical injuries and are paid directly to your treatment provider:

  • Physiotherapy

  • Massage therapy

  • Chiropractic care

  • Acupuncture

  • Personal trainer

  • etc.


What is not covered by the Minor Injury Guideline

It is important to note that not every injury is covered by the MIG. Specifically, the following injuries will not fall under the definition of a minor injury:

  • Complete tears of a muscle;

  • Complete dislocation of a joint;

  • Concussions;

  • Fractures;

  • Psychological impairments;

  • Injuries requiring surgery;

  • Amputations; and

  • Chronic pain.

In addition, the SABS highlights that the MIG will not apply to an individual if there is compelling medical evidence to indicate that a pre-existing medical condition, that was documented by a health practitioner prior to the collision, will prevent the individual from achieving maximal medical recovery under the MIG.


Put simply, even if you are found to suffer a minor injury, you may still be removed from the MIG as a result of your pre-accident health conditions, so as long as the condition is found to materially impact your recovery.


The importance of correct classification

If your injuries are found to fall outside of the MIG, you will be designated as suffering from non-catastrophic injuries which entitle you to up to $65,000.00 in medical and rehabilitation treatment. There is also the possibility of one having injuries found to be “catastrophic” in nature, which would allow you to access up to $1,000,000.00 for medical and rehabilitation benefits along with attendant care costs.


How we can help

If you are ever involved in a motor vehicle collision, your first priority is to make sure that you get to safety and obtain medical attention promptly.


We understand that motor vehicle collisions can be a dizzying and traumatic event, especially for cyclists, making it difficult to understand what to do. That is why we set up our Crash Report tool so that you or a witness can collect all the information you need for your claim. Please also refer to this article for a detailed understanding on what to do at the scene.


Once you have received medical attention, contact us right away. Our experienced team is more than happy to set up a free consultation to educate you on your rights and assist you with obtaining the benefits you rightfully deserve.

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The Biking Lawyer LLP is a founding organizer and sponsor of the Toronto Bike Brigade. Proceeds from all of our work go to support the Bike Brigade as they deliver food, supplies, and support to communities in need. Solidarity, not charity.

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