Caring Family Members Will Feel the Sting of the New Law: Changes to Auto Insurance Effective September 1, 2010

Posted by on April 27, 2010 under Accident Benefits, Automobile Insurance, Claims Denial, Disability Benefits, Insurance Companies, News Read the First Comment

[This is the fourth part of a series by Patrick Brown on upcoming changes to Ontario's Auto Insurance Laws]

Starting September 1, 2010, many family members who provide basic care needs to their injured family members will be cut out from receiving any compensation for these essential services.  The new law eliminates any benefits going to a family member who help the disabled family member unless they show they suffered an “economic loss” because of it. 

This will have a devastating impact on families who chose to have family members look after their severely injured loved ones.  The new law was passed at the request of the insurance industry.  It will force families to use outside agencies.  Right now for instances, if a family member is hit by a car and suffers serious injury to the extent they can no longer dress, bathe or feed themselves, a benefit is available up to either 3,000 or 6,000 per month so that other families members can help.  Under the new system, this funding will stop unless mom, dad or sibling can show they lost money somehow [i.e. they have to quit work or miss work without pay]. The only way to access the benefit is to have a third party care agency come in and provide the services. Read more of this article »

Auto Insurance Changes Effective September 1, 2010: Justice Restored in Fatality Claims

Posted by on April 6, 2010 under Accident Benefits, Automobile Insurance, Case Law, Insurance Companies, News Comments are off for this article

This is the second of a series where Patrick Brown discusses the upcoming changes to auto insurance.

The Ontario Government has now stepped up and restored both dignity and respect to the senior community and those families that have lost a loved one at the hands of a bad driver. 

The Minister of Finance announced that effective September 1, 20010, the deductible in auto related wrongful death cases will be eliminated.  The right to a grandparent to receive compensation when they lose a grandchild will be restored.  As well, grandchildren will also be able to advance meaningful claims for compensation when they lose a grandparent to a negligent driver.

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Ontario Auto Insurance Changes effective September 1, 2010

Posted by on March 31, 2010 under Accident Benefits, Automobile Insurance 2 Comments to Read

Consumers Beware!!!

This is the first of a series where Patrick Brown discusses the upcoming changes to auto insurance.

Starting this September, if you are injured in a car accident, the benefits available to assist you in getting better will be drastically reduced.

The insurance industry has set it self up, once again, for record profits.  Following intensive lobbying by the insurance industry, the Ministry of Finance released the new Regulations for Auto Insurance on www.e-laws.gov.on.ca.  These regulations are now law.  As of September 1, 2010, all persons who are injured in an incident involving a car (this includes cyclists and pedestrians) will face reduced benefits when hurt.

Dollars used to care for the injured victims will be deflected away from the insurance industry to the public health system.  The last time the government gave a break to the auto insurance industry was in 2003 when they reduced compensation to be paid out to victims of accidents.   Back in 2003 the industry was crying poor and pressing the panic button on rising health care costs and increased premiums. After the 2003 changes were made profits soared. In 2004, Canada’s property and casualty insurance industry made $4.7 billion. It went on to make $4.6 billion in 2005 and about $5.8 billion in 2006.   Read more of this article »

Court Clarifies Income Replacement Benefit Test

Posted by on February 11, 2010 under Accident Benefits, Automobile Insurance, Case Law, Disability Benefits Comments are off for this article

Under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS), a person injured in a car accident in Ontario is entitled to receive a weekly income replacement benefit for two years if he or she is unable to perform his or her own occupation.after two years, the injured person is only entitled to receive an ongoing income replacement benefit if the injured person is completely unable “to engage in any employment for which he or she is reasonably suited by education, training or experience.”

In the recent decision of Burtch v. Aviva Insurance Company of Canada, the Ontario Court of Appeal was asked to articulate the proper test for income replacement benefits more than two years after an accident.  Specifically, it was asked to consider whether an injured person is considered able to engage in employment if there is job that the injured person is not currently qualified for but is capable of qualifying for.

The Court of Appeal held that it is not necessary for the injured person to the formally qualified and able to begin work immediately for alternative employment to be considered a reasonably suitable alternative.  A job for which the injured person is not already qualified may be a suitable alternative so long as “substantial” upgrading or retraining is not required.

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Is an Insurer’s Examiner an “Expert”?

Posted by on January 7, 2010 under Accident Benefits, Case Law, Claims Denial, Insurance Companies Comments are off for this article

“When is an expert not treated as an expert?”  That was the question Ontario Superior Court judge Thomas Lederer asked in the case of Babakar v. Brown .

The Babakars were involved in a motor vehicle collision and were insured by State Farm.  They applied to State Farm for accident benefits.  At some point, State Farm required the Babakars to attend insurer examinations under section 42 of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule with psychologist Dr. Hoath, orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Kadish, and physiotherapist Mr. Diaz.  Based on the reports of Dr. Hoath, Dr. Kadish and Mr. Diaz, State Farm terminated the Babakars’ accident benefits.

at the examination for discovery of State Farm’s representative, the Babakars’ lawyer askedState Farm to make the following inquiries of Dr. Hoath, Dr. Kadish, and Mr. Diaz:

1.                  To ask Dr. Hoath whether pre-accident or other historical records were needed and if he ever made a request to State Farm for the records.

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Plaintiff not Required to Disclose Amount of Previous Settlement

Posted by on November 3, 2009 under Accident Benefits, News Comments are off for this article

Lynda Anderson suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident in 2001.  She sued the at-fault driver and in March 2008, she settled her lawsuit.

In June 15, 2005, Ms. Anderson suffered additional injuries in a slip and fall.  She started a second lawsuit against the owner and occupier of the property where she fell.  At her examination for discovery in the slip and fall action, the defence lawyers asked that Ms. Anderson produce copies of the settlement documents from her 2001 MVA.  Ms. Anderson refused to produce these documents.  She agreed to produce her medical records and reports, but felt that the settlement documents were irrelevant.  The defendants brought a motion to compel Ms. Anderson to produce the information.

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Court of Appeal Orders Insurance Company to Pay Interest on Overdue Judgment

Posted by on October 15, 2009 under Accident Benefits, Case Law, Insurance Companies Comments are off for this article

In the recent decision of Close v. Dominion General Insurance, the Court of Appeal overturned the decision of the trial judge, Justice Mary Marshman.

Justice Marshman had ruled that the limitation period for Gordon Close to claim that Dominion had incorrectly calculated his Income Replacement Benefit (IRB).  She also ruled that Dominion was not required to pay post-judgment interest on the judgment it owed to Mr. Close.

The Court of Appeal reversed both findings.  On the issue of IRBs, the Court said that Mr. Close’s limitation period didn’t start to run until Dominion became aware of the error and refused to pay the amount that Mr. Close was paying.

It also held that the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule required insurers to pay post-judgment interest as well as pre-judgment interest, and the trial judge had no discretion to hold otherwise.