Minor Injury Guideline is not just holding up—it appears to be gaining strength

Willie Handler is a familiar name to anyone working with auto insurance regulations. He has left the public sector, joined the private sector as a consultant and he now maintains a blog called Ontario Auto Insurance Topics.  He recently posted an article titled HCAI Data Confirms Ontario’s Minor Injury Guideline is Holding Up in response to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) Health Claims Database Standard Report published in December 2013.

The IBC report outlines data collected by HCAI (Health Claims for Auto Insurance) since 2011. Of note, the data collection starts five months after the September 2010 changes to the Schedule, which brought us the lowered med/rehab limits and the Minor Injury Guideline (MIG).

Mr. Handler’s blog post contains a chart that catalogues the findings from the IBC report. While the statistics for serious injuries (fractures, spinal cord injury, brain injury, major multiple injury) do not see much fluctuation over the years, there is a significant fluctuation when you consider injuries classified as sprains/strains and peripheral nerve injuries.

claimants reported by injury group chart

According to Mr. Handler’s chart, in the first half of 2011, 67.5% of injuries were classified as “sprains/strains”; in the first half of 2013, 75.4% of injuries were classified as “sprains/strains”.  At the same time injuries classified as peripheral nerve injuries, including WAD III, seemed to go down from 10.2 % in the first half of 2011 to only 4.5 % in the first half of 2013.

It is highly doubtful that people are suddenly getting “less injured” over the past few years. What is likely the case is that more and more people are getting pushed thoughtlessly into the MIG. This trend does not come as a surprise to anyone practising in this area.

This trend is problematic on many levels. First and foremost, it suggests that people with injuries that are more serious than a simple strain are being treated inappropriately in the MIG. These people are not getting the treatment that they need and they will need to jump through hoops to attempt to get out of the MIG. This is going to cost accident victims time and money that would better be spent focusing on getting the treatment they need. Delays in treatment generally result in poorer outcomes over time.

The challenge of getting out of the MIG is only going to get worse when one considers the likely impact of the  February 1, 2014, changes to the SABS.

OTLA remains committed to highlighting these inequities and fighting for the benefit of the accident victims that we represent.

Angela Comella
Written by

Angela first joined Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers as a summer student in 2004. It was during this time that she developed a passion for advocacy on behalf of injured persons and their families. In September 2005, after a successful completion of the Bar Admission Course, she returned to the firm as an articling student. Angela was called to the Bar in July 2006. Her practice is focused on personal injury matters, medical malpractice, disability law and criminal injuries compensation.

  • Samantha

    I agree with Rhona, Accident victims will continue to pay high costs to hire lawyers. but then again its how our economy works.

  • Rhona

    HCAI Data Confirms Ontario’s Minor Injury Guideline is Holding Up alright – holding up the fair and timely disposition of claims and it’s worked out to be a great excuse for denial of claims. Good point about ‘less injured’, MVA victims don’t just go way, they end up on the public systems, they are left without timely or adequate treatment and they are left behind, unable to fully recover.
    If we don’t clean up the deplorable quality of the IME/IE reports and testimony that are the basis for these coverage denials and limitations in the first place, we cannot expect any form of justice or fairness in the system. Accident victims will continue to have to pay high costs to hire lawyers, courts will continue to be clogged and Ontario’s taxpayers will pay even more through social systems. A win-win for Ontario’s insurers who, with the help of our elected legislators just managed to make things worse. MIG, major injustice greedy act designed for insurer profit.