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TMJ Injuries and The Soft Tissue Injury Cap in Alberta



by Alexis Moulton

Plaintiff and Defence counsel alike were eagerly awaiting Justice Shelley’s decision in Sparrowhawk v. Zaplotinsky [2012 ABQB 34]. This decision is one of the few decisions that has been rendered on the Minor Injury Regulation and Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols Regulation. As counsel for both Plaintiffs and Defendants know, one of the sticking points in settlement and resolution of claims arising from motor vehicle accidents has been whether or not an injury to the temporomandibular joint (“TMJ”) represents a minor injury such that it would fall within the cap on soft tissue damages.

Justice Shelley determined that the injury to the Plaintiff's jaw and teeth were injuries that fell outside the cap on soft tissue damages. Further, Justice Shelley's comments with regard to "significant impairment" and the more subjective nature of assessing that impairment will have wide reaching impact to a number of cases regardless of whether those cases involve injury to the jaw or teeth.

Please click here for a more complete analysis of the Sparrowhawk decision.

 TMJ Injuries and The Soft Tissue Injury Cap in Alberta

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