When I first began practicing personal injury law, I quickly noticed how COMPLICATED Ontario’s regime of car accident law was. This was completely unnecessary. Our government has made things so complicated, that lawyers need to specialize in car accident law in order to get results.
Car accident law should not be rocket science. In its purest sense, an innocent accident victim is seriously injured by another party who made a mistake or driving error. Rarely is there deliberate intent on the at fault party to cause a serious accident (save for drunk driving cases). There is no requirement for the parties involved to be sophisticated, knowledgeable of the law or wealthy. The at fault party should be responsible to compensate the injured party for the losses and pain and suffering. This sounds easy enough.
At Goldfinger Personal Injury Law, we have always engaged in making the law easy to understand for our clients. We want to break things down, so that people understand how things work, and how their case works.
This task has been made exponentially more difficult since April 1, 2016. The Ontario Government has moved all accident benefit disputes to a new Tribunal. New rules. New forms. More forms. More expensive to start the process for the injured. NO ACCESS TO THE COURT.
It used to be when you had a problem getting paid accident benefits, that you were able to apply for a FREE MEDIATION to the Financial Service Commission of Ontario (FSCO). FSCO was a Ontario Government body responsible for hearing all sort of accident benefit disputes between insurers and injured accident victims. There was a rich body of case law and detailed rules of procedure which had evolved. Insurers, paralegals, lawyers and even some members of the public knew how the system worked. There was familiarity. It was tailored specifically for accident benefit claims. And if matters didn’t pan out of FSCO, it was within the claimant’s power to keep pursuing the claim via Arbitration at FSCO, or leave FSCO entirely and sue instead before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. There was a level of flexibility and control there which allowed the claimant to control the process to some extent. There were also many opportunities for settlement along the way.