For anyone who practices in the field of accident benefit law (dare I now call it litigation), what we all need is more paper work, more records, and more forms to be completed by insureds, and insurers alike. What is already a complicated and confusing system has been rendered even more complex with the shift of accident benefit disputes from the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) to the Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals of Ontario (SLASTO) License Appeals Tribunal (LAT). How’s that for a mouthful?
Accident benefits, at their most basic, are designed to protect an insured accident victims following a motor vehicle accident. The Insurance Act is consumer protection legislation supposedly aimed to help rehabilitate and make ends meet for somebody whose livelihood and health has been impaired in an accident. Items in dispute can range from simple physiotherapy treatment, to weekly income replacement benefits, to more complicated catastrophic disputes.
Since 1997, FSCO has been hearing accident benefit disputes between injured car accident victims and their accident benefit insurers. FSCO was mandated to hear these types of cases. FSCO had its own mediators, arbitrators, practice code and a wealth of case law built over the years to guide the public and insurers. Continue reading →