Summer long weekends can bring out the best, and worst in people.
As a personal injury lawyer, we are consulted in situations where bad things happen. Often bad things happen to very good people. This can have a devastating impact on the lives of the injured party, along with the lives of their families and loved ones. The future of one’s life can be altered for the worst in an instant thanks to some bad decisions.
Our law firm helps people from across the province of Ontario get the compensation they deserve. But Brian Goldfinger has seen far too often that the laws to compensate innocent accident victims, particularly in car accidents aren’t fair.
- There is a secret credit for each car accident case whereby the first $38,818.97 for every award under $129,395.49 vanishes! That means if a Judge or Jury awards you $40,000 in damages for your pain and suffering in a serious car accident case which isn’t your fault, that $38,818.97 is subtracted from that amount leaving you with only $1,181.03! If a Judge and Jury award you $35,000, you are left with ZERO after the $38,818.97 deductible is applied. At law it’s called a deductible, but in reality, it’s a secret credit
- Your personal injury lawyer CANNOT mention the aforementioned secret credit to the Jury at trial and the majority of people and juries alike don’t even know that a deductible applies which contemplating awards for car accident cases.
- If your personal injury lawyer mentions the deductible aka secret credit, a Judge may declare a mistrial and seek that the Plaintiff and his/her personal injury lawyer pay costs to the defendant.
- The will of the jury is usurped by the law when the deductible aka secret credit is applied. If a jury intends to award a Plaintiff $50,000, they should get the $50,000 award as the jury intended. But instead, the will of the governments supersedes the will of the jury which sat through the evidence and heard the case when the deductible is automatically applied.
- There are no exceptions where the deductible aka secret credit is NOT applied in car accident cases in Ontario. It applies to The negligence, acts, errors or omissions of the at fault party aren’t factored in to the equation when contemplating a damages award. That means that the Defendant could have been driving drunk, while high on drunks, texting, speeding and asleep at the wheel all at the same time! Regardless, the deductible aka secret credit still applies! Regrettably, the system has been set up in such a way that the at fault party has more protections and rights that the injured accident victim and his/her family. Injustice like this gets a personal injury lawyer like Brian Goldfinger very upset and gets his blood boiling.
- In addition to the secret credit, the Plaintiff also must prove that his or her injuries represent both a serious and permanent impairment of an important bodily function. This is called the threshold. In the event that the Plaintiff’s injuries do not surpass this threshold, then the Plaintiff will get awarded ZERO. Just like the application of the secret credit, the conduct of the at fault driver is not factored in. Again, the Defendant driver could have been texting while driving drunk, high and speeding. It doesn’t matter. If the injuries do not in a Judge’s eyes surpass the threshold, then the Plaintiff will be awarded ZERO.
- Whether or not a Plaintiff’s injuries will surpass the threshold is a decision for the Judge hearing the case to make.
- Damages for pain and suffering are caped in Canada. In the United States, we tend to see large awards for pain and suffering (dependent upon the State. Some States have hard caps or stricter laws which prohibit recovery). In Canada, the hard cap on damages for pain and suffering, factoring in inflation as of June 2019 sits at around $388,319. These stats are revised subject to inflation. A great resource, in case you’re interested in keeping up with current statistics in pain and suffering general damages in Canada is this website.
- Why does a hard cap for general damages exist in Canada? Good question. Long ago the Supreme Court cam out with a trilogy of cases on this issue. At the end of the day, the Supreme Court of Canada did not want awards to spike up like they did in the United States. This cap on general damages has not been challenged by personal injury lawyers and remains trite law. That’s not to say that it should not be challenged as many do not feel like it truly compensate accident victims to keep up with modern times and cost of living.
- Standard level income replacement benefits under the current accident benefits regime only pay a maximum of $400/week reflecting 80% of your net pre-accident weekly income. This standard level has not been adjusted ever. It came out as $400/week and has not been increased to keep up with inflation. Only recently were you able to purchase additional coverage or riders under a standard automobile policy to increase the income replacement benefit level from the $400 weekly base. But these increases require that the insured pay additional premiums; which very few people want to do, let alone have the means to do. Also, few people are aware that additional coverage and additional coverage levels exist. Some brokers or insurers don’t offer or suggest these benefits to a person looking to get coverage over the phone or in person. They just want to make the quick sale, and move on to the next without going over the insurance options thoroughly. This is doing a disservice to the client who should be presented with all options before make such an important decision.
Brian Goldfinger would be remiss if he didn’t comment on the recent transactions by Toronto’s professional baseball team. Sometimes the best trades, are the trades you don’t make. There was no reason to trade the assets when they did. Holding on to those assets and trading them at a later date would like have yielded a greater return.