Suffering a soft-tissue injury, whiplash-associated disorder injury, or other whiplash injury does not always mean a claim is definitively bound by the minor injury cap. The following cases that went to trial can be used to argue that general damages are over the minor injury cap or its equivalent threshold in Ontario. They include people who were found to have a serious impairment by the courts even though the insurance companies argued these injuries were minor.
Recreational activities – over the minor injury cap
Ivens v. Lesperance, 2012 ONSC 4280 (CanLII)
Mr. Iven’s motorcycle accident injuries were determined to be a serious impairment which prevented him from engaging in the high level of physical activity he previously enjoyed such as weight training, snowmobiling, and bicycling.
Knudsen v. Tyckyj, 1994 CanLII 7336 (ON SC)
At 92, Mr. Knudsen was struck by a driver while walking across a street. The court concluded that the inability to take long walks, visit an ill relative, putter around the home, and fish constituted a serious impairment.
Johnson v. Air Car Limousine Services (1985) Ltd.,  O.J. No. 858 (Gen. Div.)
The victim’s inability to go for long walks and dance after her accident resulted in a finding at trial that she suffered a serious impairment.
Snider v. Salerno, 2001 CanLII 28090 (ON SC)
Ms. Snider suffered a serious impairment and severe whiplash resulting from a rear-end collision. Prior to the collision, she was an active and highly skilled Bridge player and a keen gardener. The court concluded that her inability to participate in those activities resulted in dramatic loss of enjoyment of life.
May v. Casola,  O.J. No. 2475
Ms. May’s permanent symptoms such as sleep disorder, severe neck pain, headaches, dizziness, and nausea were considered a serious impairment, which had a significant effect on her quality of life. Although she was able to perform all her daily activities, she was awarded a sum over the minor injury cap.
Household chores – over the minor injury cap
Mader v. Hunter, 2012 ONSC 650 (CanLII)
Ms. Mader was rear-ended and sustained injuries that limited her capacity to vacuum, ride a bicycle, comfortably drive a car, or walk up a flight of stairs, and she was considered to have suffered a serious impairment. She had been an active woman but was reduced to a reclusive, lonely, and inactive life, affecting her enjoyment of daily activities.
Acitino v. Howes Estate,  O.J. No. 4361
Ms. Acitino had limited functioning due to a pre-existing injury. She later suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck and shoulder in a motor vehicle collision. She was not working and had no immediate family, so friends and acquaintances in a support group were her entire life. The inability to perform household chores or freely socialize with her friends resulted in a substantial interference with the activities of daily living which was deemed a serious impairment.
Morrison v. Gravina,  O.J. No. 2060
Ms. Morrison’s injuries after a motor vehicle accident were considered a serious impairment as they affected her ability to do domestic chores such as gardening, vacuuming, and housekeeping, and interfered with her ability to seek employment.
Bishop-Gittens v. Lim, 2016 ONSC 2887 (CanLII)
Ms. Bishop experienced a significant loss of socialization and noticed that simple cleaning tasks took substantially longer after being involved in a motor vehicle accident. Her ability to prepare meals was also severely impacted. These limitations were considered serious impairments of her usual activities of daily living.
McLeish v. Daines, 2017 ONSC 870 (CanLII)
A young mother suffered from headaches, difficulty sleeping, and pain in her neck and lower back after a motor vehicle collision. Her ongoing pain affected the quality of her relationship with her partner, the ability to socialize with friends, and her capacity to raise or participate in activities with her daughter, which significantly impaired her activities of daily living and constituted a serious impairment.
Employment – over the minor injury cap
Maxwell v. Luck, 2014 ONSC 7179 (CanLII)
Ms. Maxwell suffered a severe whiplash injury in a collision with a large commercial truck resulting in a serious impairment. Her occupation as a dancer involved strenuous, high-energy maneuvers and her primary recreational activity of horseback riding also required considerable stamina, both of which were affected.
Altomonte v. Matthews  O.J. No. 5756 (S.C.J.)
Ms. Altomonte suffered soft-tissue injuries to her neck and back which became chronic. These injuries diminished her limited energy and capacity to work. She had little stamina remaining for the enjoyment of life and activities of daily living which were deemed a serious impairment.
Doxtater v. Farrish, 2014 ONSC 4224 (CanLII)
Ms. Doxtater’s injuries were found to be a serious impairment as her physical, mental and psychological functions after her motor vehicle accident were compromised, and she was struggling to carry out the duties of her position at work.
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