Edmonton, Alberta – The Alberta Court of Appeal has upheld a $4,000 cap on compensation for injuries resulting from automobile collisions. The Court overturned a Court of Queen’s Bench ruling last year that said the cap was discriminatory.

The controversial decision was slammed by the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), which said that a compensation cap “denies the rights of Albertans to access justice,” according to Tom Achtymichuk of the Alberta branch. “We strongly believe that it is every Albertan’s right to access the justice system to determine fair compensation for their injuries.”

Others believe that the cap has had a positive influence on auto insurance rates, as many Alberta drivers had their premiums reduced in 2004 when the cap was imposed and a new method of calculating rates was introduced.

Earlier this month, the Insurance Bureau of Canada requested an auto insurance premium hike in Alberta of approximately 40 per cent.

In June 2008, the CBA published a report that said the automobile insurance industry would continue to be highly profitable even if the $4,000 cap were removed.

The decision is the result of cases involving two women who were injured in auto crashes and challenged the cap. It is expected that the case will end up in the Supreme Court of Canada. New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have similar caps that are also being challenged in court, while Darrell Dexter, recently elected as premier of Nova Scotia, promised in his campaign that he would scrap that province’s $2,500 cap.

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