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What cases exceed the minor injury threshold?

Car accident lawyers depend on past case law decisions to argue whether someone’s injury falls outside the minor injury threshold.

The following case law identifies various types of activities which were found to be impaired to the point where they exceeded the minor injury threshold. These activities fall under three main categories of impairment: employment, daily living activities, and housekeeping.

Impairment preventing employment activities

Antinozzi v. Andrews, 2011 ONSC 3296, [2011] OJ No 3335

Ms. Antinozzi had a consistent and uninterrupted work history. The physical and psychological injuries she suffered from her accident substantially, if not entirely, interfered with her ability to continue her employment. Any inconsistencies in reporting to her doctors were relatively minor and did not detract from the overall picture. It was also found that she was less engaged with her daughter following the accident.

Mamado v. Fridson, 2016 ONSC 4080

Mr. Mamado was found to have a serious impairment making him unable to work and could not be reasonably accommodated by his workplace. With the “competitive employment scene that currently exists, there is often little tolerance for employees with disabilities who are perceived to ‘slow down the line’” (at para 32).

Rodrigues v. Purtill, 2018 ONSC 3102, upheld on appeal at 2019 ONCA 740

Ms. Rodrigues’ mechanical low back pain caused issues with bending and lifting. She was physically unable to resume her regular or usual employment as a veterinary assistant. The judge dismissed one of the experts’ opinions that she could do sedentary work because that was not her regular or usual occupation. Psychologically, she had severe survivor’s guilt, self-hatred, and a sense of worthlessness. The judge found she was unable to work a full day. The cumulative effect of both the psychiatric and orthopaedic consequences of the injuries suffered should be accounted for.

Maxwell v. Luck, 2014 ONSC 7179

Ms. Maxwell suffered a severe whiplash injury, leading to chronic pain, in a collision with a large commercial truck, resulting in a serious impairment. Her occupation as a dancer involved strenuous, high-energy manoeuvres and her primary recreational activity of horseback riding also required considerable stamina, both of which were affected.

Doxtater v. Farrish, 2014 ONSC 4224

Ms. Doxtater’s injuries were found to be a serious impairment. She suffered physical, mental, and psychological impairments after her motor vehicle accident. At trial, she was struggling to carry out the duties of her position at work.

Impairment preventing activities of daily living and/or housekeeping

Ashburn et al. v. Storrey, 2019 ONSC 6486

Mrs. Ashburn was 61 years old at the time of the motor vehicle accident and was not working. The judge accepted her as a credible witness and that she suffered from chronic pain, which was unlikely to improve. Her limitations included standing and walking. She could no longer care for her house or yard. She required assistance with meals, grocery shopping, and heavier house cleaning. She could no longer care for or enjoy the company of her husband, daughters, and grandchildren to the same extent.

Ivens v. Lesperance, 2012 ONSC 4280

Mr. Iven’s accident hindered his ability to engage in weight training, snowmobiling, and bicycling. His impairment left him unable to engage in the high level of physical activity he enjoyed pre-accident. The judge found that Mr. Ivens was expected to continue to suffer from knee problems and chronic pain for the foreseeable future. Mr. Ivens’ employer accommodated his injuries, but his sales dropped, relative to pre-accident levels.

Snider v. Salerno, 58 OR (3d) 209, [2001] OJ No 5752

Mrs. Snider sustained soft tissue injuries, which the judge found met the definition of an important, serious, and permanent injury. There was a focus on the impact of the injury on her and the loss of enjoyment in her golden years.

Mader v. Hunter, 2012 ONSC 650

Ms. Mader suffered physical and mental pain following a motor vehicle accident. She was prevented from vacuuming, riding a bicycle, comfortably driving a car, and walking up a flight of stairs. Prior to the accident, she led an active lifestyle, which was reduced to almost nothing after the accident.

Bishop-Gittens v. Lim, 2016 ONSC 2887

Ms. Bishop-Gittens suffered headaches, sleep trouble, emotional instability, and soft tissue injuries. These injuries resulted in an impairment which seriously impacted important functions, in a permanent manner, following a motor vehicle accident. She lost the ability to prepare meals for herself, and a loss in socialization.

McLeish v. Daines, 2017 ONSC 870

Following a motor vehicle accident, Ms. McLeish suffered headaches, sleep problems, and soft tissue injuries in her neck. Her relationship with her spouse, friends, and daughter were all affected. The court found her impairments to be serious, important, and permanent.


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