It’s the holiday season! Time to get together with family, friends and loved ones and celebrate what matters most.
This holiday season, you’ll notice a few changes to the Goldfinger Personal Injury Law website. Number 1: It’s got a new look, new content and a new layout. We want to keep things “fresh” for the new year so we can keep up with the latest in personal injury, traumatic brain injury and legal car accident news and developments in Ontario.
Number 2: We also have a new look and a new feel for our blog. Let us know what you think about it.
Diving in to our reader mailbag, I have a question from Brett in Toronto. Brett asks:
“Brian, Merry Christmas to you and the team at Goldfinger Personal Injury Law. What is it you want for Christmas this year?”
Thanks for your question Brett. The holidays, whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanza, Diwali or Chanukah are a special time. This year, I’m not wishing for anything personal. Rather, I’m wishing for something which all Ontarians would benefit from.
The biggest hurdle these days for personal injury lawyers in Ontario are all the legislative changes to the Insurance Act. Unfortunately, nobody notices how these changes have impacted them until it’s too late. This is why, this Holiday Season, I’m going to share with you my Top 5 Personal Injury wishes for accident law in Ontario:
5. The elimination of the $30,000 deductible for car accident claims in Ontario. What’s that? A $30,000 deductible? I’ve never heard of that before you say? Of course you haven’t! Basically, if you want to sue for pain and suffering as a result of a car accident in Ontario, the first $30,000 for any claim which falls below $100,000, VANISHES. So, if you go to Court, and a Judge awards you $40,000 in damages; the first $30,000 is gone. So, your $40,000 damages award is really just a $10,000 award after the statutory deductible is applied. Sucky isn’t it? Guess who asked government to pass that legislation. It wasn’t me. It likely wasn’t you either….
4. The lengthy delay for Financial Services Commission of Ontario (“FSCO”) mediation dates, and trial dates in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. If you applied for mediation TODAY at FSCO, you wouldn’t have a mediation date for between 9 months to 1 year. That means you will go 9 months to 1 year without due process and likely, without any interim benefits such as attendant care benefits and income replacement benefits. If you sued somebody for a personal injury case at the Toronto Court today, you wouldn’t likely see the inside of a Courtroom for your trial date for some 3-6 years. Seriously. That’s a long time. If that should happen in a criminal case, the case would be dismissed by virtue of an 11(b) Charter of Rights and Freedom argument (your right to trial within a reasonable time).
3. The elimination of Independent Medical Assessments commissioned by Insurance Companies during the claim period of a case. How “independent” are these assessments anyways? When the doctor or health professional relies on insurers to provide them with 80-100% of their referrals, the assessments won’t be so independent. When the doctor/health care professional spends 2-3 minutes with a patient, and then generates a 20-30 page generic report used strictly to limit an insurer’s exposure in an accident case. Let’s be real. These reports are rubbish. This practice of hurrying patients/accident victims through assessment mills needs to stop (on both sides).
2. Bring back accident benefit levels for car accident claims to what they were 5-10 years ago; or kill no fault insurance in Ontario completely. Ontario car drivers used to be entitled to $100,000 in medical/rehabilitative benefits; a caregiver benefit of $250/week; and attendant care benefits of $3,000/month per accident claim. All figures are for non-catastrophic cases. Now, you’re only entitled to $50,000 for medical/rehabilitative benefits; no more caregiver benefit is available; and attendant care benefits have been reduced to $1,500/month; and this benefit needs to be “incurred”…but nobody has figured out what that means yet. Basically, every Ontario driver is paying for the same insurance, and they get a fraction of the coverage they used to. Open your eyes Ontario. You’re getting screwed.
1. Eliminate the Minor Injury Guideline aka The MIG. The MIG was introduced recently, and only now have insurers and adjusters caught on how to use it. Their use of the MIG is simply an abuse of power at your expense. Basically, if an insurer deems your injuries to fall into the MIG, you’re only entitled to $3,500 for medical/rehabilitative benefits which also include the price of any Independent Assessment arranged by the insurance company. You and your insurer will go through that $3,500 in a blink of an eye, and you’ll be left with nothing. G-d help you if you’ve sustained a traumatic brain injury or really got hurt in a car accident and you’ve been put into the MIG. There won’t be any help coming to you any time soon. You’ll have to wait your standard 9 months-1 year for a mediation date at FSCO and pray you get the result you want.