What Kind of Accident Claimant Are You?

The various benefits available are all described below. There are essentially three general classifications used for people applying for Accident Benefits today:

  1. Minor injury

  2. Non-catastrophically injured

  3. Catastrophically injured

Your classification will affect your entitlement to Accident Benefits.

Minor Injury

Minor injury classification applies to accident victims who suffer no more than minor injuries. Pre-existing medical conditions or an inability to recover under the minor injury guideline benefit limits may be relied upon to reclassify a claimant, but it is an arduous task that requires "compelling evidence" and likely the assistance of an experienced Accident Benefits lawyer.

Non-Catastrophic (Non-CAT)

Non-CAT classification applies to some head injuries; all fractured and broken bones; complete tears to muscles, tendons and ligaments; complete dislocations; demonstrable and clinically relevant (confirmed by CT scan, MRI, etc.) damage to the spine and or neck; and any other impairment that permanently affects the ability to function.

Catastrophic (CAT)

CAT classification may apply to claimants who have the appropriate medical professional complete an application for catastrophic impairment. The physician or neuropsychologist who completes the form must be of the opinion that the claimant meets one of the tests for catastrophic impairment, as laid out in the appropriate schedule. The new schedule provides a CAT classification in instances of:

  • Paraplegia or quadriplegia
  • Amputation or impairment causing the total and permanent loss of an arm or a leg
  • Loss of vision in both eyes
  • Severe brain impairment
  • An impairment that, in accordance with the American Medical Association's Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 4th ed., 1993, results in a 55 percent whole body impairment or a marked-extreme impairment due to mental or behavioural disorder

The Legislature's definition of catastrophic impairment was intended to foster fairness for victims of motor vehicle collisions by ensuring that accident victims with the most health care needs have access to expanded medical and rehabilitation benefits. As a result, CAT claimants receive get vastly enhanced access to benefits (see Accident Benefits - what's available?).