Edmonton, Alberta – The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has dropped its request for a 40.2 per cent increase in auto insurance premiums, and is calling on Alberta’s personal injury lawyers to abandon their drive to remove a cap on compensation for minor injuries in auto collisions.

Last week, the Alberta Court of Appeal overturned a ruling that said the $4,504 compensation cap on minor injuries is discriminatory.

Jim Rivait, vice-president of IBC for Alberta and the North, said that in response to the Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold the cap on pain and suffering payouts, IBC is removing its call for a 40.2 per cent increase in auto premiums at this week’s Automobile Insurance Rate Board hearings.

“This is the right thing to do for the drivers of this province,” Rivait said. “Now, the ongoing affordability of auto insurance in Alberta is largely in the hands of personal injury lawyers as they deliberate on whether to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, a process that would take years. Let’s hope, for the sake of Albertans, they abandon this challenge now, and spare them an extended period of uncertainty.”

The Court of Appeal of Alberta issued its decision on Morrow v. Zhang last Friday. The unanimous decision confirmed the validity of the province’s $4,504 cap on pain and suffering awards for minor, non-permanent injuries. The 2004 legislation that implemented the cap also raised the limit for no-fault medical rehabilitation services from $10,000 to $50,000, and brought in diagnostic and treatment protocols for sprain and strain injuries.

The Appeal Court dismissed the argument that the cap is discriminatory, and said that “the legislation, as a whole, responds to the needs and circumstances of those suffering minor soft tissue injuries.”

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