In addition to the definition provided by the Regulation, the courts have interpreted what permanent, important, and serious mean in the context of the minor injury threshold. The following interpretations come from case law.
What is considered a permanent injury?
The first criterion for falling outside the minor injury threshold is satisfying a judge that an injury is permanent. Judges will consider the medical records, treatment history, and witness testimony about prognosis.
The case law below provides further insights into the permanence of an injury:
- Permanent does not necessarily mean, in a strict sense, forever and until death. It means, in this context, “a weakened condition lasting into the indefinite future without any end or limit” (at para 29, citing Bos Estate v. James (1995), 22 OR (3d) 424,  OJ No 598).
- “While the word “permanent” does not mean forever, it does require that the impairment last into the indefinite future, as opposed to a predicted time period with a definite end” (at para 30).
Mamando v Fridson, 2016 ONSC 4080, 2016 CarswellOnt 9923:
- It is not necessary the Plaintiff’s injuries will last until death, just that they are expected to last indefinitely (at para 9).
What is considered an important injury?
The second criterion for falling outside the minor injury threshold is satisfying a judge that an injury is important. The judge will consider whether the impairment is in relation to an important physical, mental, or psychological function. The criterion is quite broad.
The case law below provides further insights into the importance of an injury:
- Look at whether the functions are important to the injured person. Whether something is important is a qualitative test (at para 33, citing Ahmed v. Challenger,  OJ No 4188 (ONCA), who cited Meyer v. Bright (1993), 15 OR (3d) 12 (CA)).
- An important “bodily function is one that plays a major role in the health, general well-being and way of life” of the Plaintiff (at para 33, citing Meyer, supra).
What is considered a serious injury?
The third criterion for falling outside the minor injury threshold is satisfying a judge that an injury is serious. The judge will consider the level of impairment stemming from the injury, and the effects the injury has had on the injured party’s life. They will consider impairments in relation to daily activities, hobbies, family life, and work.
The case law below provides further insights into the seriousness of an injury:
- Look at the impairment to the person, not the injury itself. The judge also noted, “soft tissue type injuries can be as crippling and devastating as other major or mental injuries” (at para 36, referring to Meyer, supra).
- To be serious, it must go beyond tolerable (at para 37, citing Frankfurter v. Gibbons (2004), 74 OR (3d) 39 (ONSC) at paras 22-24).
- “An interference with the ability to perform a certain number of the daily activities performed pre-accident, while frustrating and unpleasant, is not necessarily beyond tolerable and, therefore, serious” (at para 38, citing Branco v. Allianz Insurance Co of Canada,  OJ No 3056 (ONSC) at para 25).
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