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Articles Posted in Insurance

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Cases are built upon evidence.

Lawyers will try to highlight certain pieces of evidence in order to better suit, or to create a narrative which suits their client’s best interests.

It’s up to a Judge or a Jury to sift through the evidence in order to determine where the truth.

While lawyers can spin evidence any way they want, there are sometimes objective facts which simply cannot be spun.

With today’s instalment of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog, we will try to highlight hurdles which our personal injury lawyers have seen in long term disability cases. Sometimes these hurdles can be cleared. Other times, these hurdles cannot be overcome and really hurt a long term disability case.

Long Term Disability Hurdle #1: The Plaintiff as returned to work. There is nothing wrong with returning to work, so long as you tell your lawyer and don’t hide it. In fact, the Plaintiff has a legal obligation to mitigate his/her damages, which means trying to return to work. We tell our clients that there’s nothing better for a case than a failed return to work attempt. It shows that the Plaintiff tried to mitigate his/her damages by attempting to return to work and that the return to work failed because their injury/disability is bonafide and very serious. If a Plaintiff does not attempt to return to work, the insurer will certainly question why not. If there are notes in the doctor’s records which suggest that a return to work is possible yet was not attempted; the insurer will insist that the Plaintiff has not even attempted to mitigate despite a doctor suggesting that a return to work is possible. Not trying to return to work can delegitimize a Plaintiff’s injury or disability (if a return to work is on the table). If a Plaintiff returns to work without telling their lawyer, or is working under the table for cash it looks like the Plaintiff is trying to pull a fast one on the insurer. This will be frowned upon. This is why it’s so important to have good communication with your personal injury lawyer and fill him/her in on the significant changes in your lifestyle or health. You both want to be on the same page. If your lawyer is advocating for your disability into the future, yet you returned to work months ago; it’s not a good look for your long term disability case.

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Today is Election Day in Canada. We elect a new, or a returning Prime Minister. This is exciting. Will there be a majority government, or will we see another minority government?

These are important questions! Some political basics:

A majority government can do whatever they like; whenever they like! There’s no need to ask the other party what they think or how they feel about an issue. The majority government sets the agenda about what to speak about; and when to speak about those issues. The majority government can prorogue parliament whenever they like at their convenience. Even if the laws they pass don’t seem fair to Canadians; those laws can get passed and then challenged in Court. Even if the Court rules that the laws are unconstitutional, the majority government can invoke the Notwithstanding Clause to get their way! Dare I say, it’s like a majority government has the powers of a dictator.

With a minority government there needs to be some cooperation because one party alone can’t get their way. It forces parties to work together to get things accomplished. This may sound great in theory, but in practice little gets accomplished because nobody is eager to concede or to back down and appear weak. Cooperation in everyday life is important. But politics isn’t everyday life. Letting another party get their glory or appear to have got the job done is a loss to the opposition parties; so there’s no political incentive to cooperate. What might be in the best interest of Canadians may not be in the best interest of a political party. Hence the dilemma. Are the politicians and political parties really there for the right reasons; or is all for the glitz, glamour, ego, power and prestige that comes with office. You be the judge. Dare I say its the later.

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Our law firm receives a lot of calls from people who have been denied Life Insurance, Long Term Disability Insurance, Mortgage Insurance and Critical Illness claims.

Some of these policies are group policies which are offered through an employer.

Sometimes these are private policies which are purchased from an insurance broker or from a bank.

This Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog post will focus more on those private policies which individuals purchase on their own. The thing with private policies is that you need to apply, and qualify for coverage. Monthly premiums vary depending on age, health, disability history, lifestyle choices and other risk criteria.

These risk criteria are examined in detail by an underwriting department at the insurance company.

These underwriters have very important jobs. They have to assess the risk of insuring individuals and put a dollar figure on that risk. Premiums are largely determined based on the risk of insuring the individual and the level or amount of insurance which the individual is seeking.

A life insurance policy which pays out a $50,000 benefit will be less expensive than a life insurance policy which pays out a $5,000,000 benefit.

The same way that a life insurance policy for a 9 year old person will be less expensive than a life insurance policy for a 99 year old.

There are so many factors which go into underwriting that it’s hard to understand. This is why insurance companies narrow down these underwriting criteria based on a set of questions when applying for insurance.

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Car accident law shouldn’t be confusing. But it is!

Workplace injury law shouldn’t be confusing either. But it is!

Part of the reason that both car accident law and workplace injury law are both so confusing is because there are man made laws behind both; which usurp natural law.

For car accident claims we look to the Insurance Act and the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule. Both pieces of legislation are dense; and require that the injured claimant complete a bunch of confusing standard forms.

For workplace injury claims we look to the Workplace Safety Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act along with the First Aid Requirements Regulation 1101

These pieces of legislation are also dense, and require that the injured worker complete a bunch of confusing standard forms.

You cannot sue your car insurer in regular Court over an accident benefit dispute for a car accident claim. Instead you must start a proceeding before the License Appeals Tribunal or LAT in the Automobile Accident Benefits Service or AABS

You cannot sue your employer in regular Court over a workplace accident. Instead you must start a proceeding before the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board or WSIB.

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The Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) provides no fault insurance coverage for injured workers in workplace accidents.

When workers have been injured in the course of their employment; often they look to our law firm to sue their employer.

But here’s the catch. And oh boy; is it ever a big catch.

You see, the thing is, in the vast majority of cases, you cannot sue your employer for your workplace injuries. There are certain exceptions like working for a bank, a law firm, or a funeral home. But in the vast majority of cases, you cannot sue your employer for their negligence giving rise to a workplace injury.

Employers are given one of two classifications. They are either classified as Schedule 1, or Schedule 2 employers. The marjority of employers fall under Schedule 1.

A Schedule 1 cannot sue his or her own Schedule 1 employer. They will be forced to make a WSIB claim. In the event that they find a personal injury lawyer to take on their case and sue their employer for their workplace injuries, the Defendant will bring an Application to the Worplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT) to have the lawsuit kicked out of Court and force the injured worker to pursue a WSIB claim.

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The cost of Physiotherapy is NOT covered by OHIP. That means that if you need physiotherapy, someone needs to pay for it.

The cost of chiropractic treatment is NOT covered by OHIP. That means that if you need chiropractic treatment, someone needs to pay for it.

The cost of out of hospital occupational therapy is NOT covered by OHIP. That means if you need to see an occupational therapist,  someone needs to pay for it.

The same applies to psychotherapy, massage, cranial sacral treatment, nutritionist, a rehab coach, a PSW, an RSW, social work for a car accident case outside of hospital, speech language therapy, neuropsychological testing, driver retraining, case management services, psychology (not to be confused with psychiatry); even some forms of medicinal cannabis for pain management are not covered by OHIP.

All of these services are very important to accident victims for the long roads to recovery following a accident; motor vehicle or otherwise.

If the accident victim has their own form of collateral benefits with an insurer like Blue Cross, Manulife, SunLife, GreenShield, Canada Life etc.; some or percentage of those benefits may be covered. Most policies differ; but it’s not uncommon to see a cap for these services set at around $500 or $750 per year.

If the accident victim was involved in a motor vehicle accident; or an accident arising from the use or operation of motor vehicle s/he will have access to accident benefits to pay for these services.

The level of accident benefits available to each person varies depending on the coverage purchased under the policy along with the degree of injury. For the most minor accidents, people will only have access to $3,500 in benefits. For more serious accidents there is a blended level of $65,000. For the most serious accidents, there is $1,000,000 available in coverage.

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Let me tell you a story.

It’s about an insurance company which deals with long term disability policies.

The size of the insurance company is irrelevant for this story, because most insurers are very similar in their approach. But in fairness, they are not all the same.

The insurance company underwrites thousands and thousands of group and individual long term disability policies.

If the insurance company pays out long term disability benefits on each and every long term disability claim that gets filed; then their profitability as a company suffers.

If the insurance company does not pay out on each and every long term disability claim that gets filed; then they become more profitable.

The more money which an insurance company pays out in benefits; the less money they get to keep and report as profit.

Some long term disability claims are denied for good reason. Some long term disability claims are denied for other reasons which have little merit.

This is where a personal injury or long term disability lawyer comes in to the mix.

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After a serious accident or collision, the injured party will require treatment.

Sometimes the treatment is covered by OHIP. Seeing your family doctor, getting surgery, assistance through LHIN, seeing a specialist, publicly funded physiotherapy; these are all examples of treatment which is covered under the OHIP system. That means that regardless of who was at fault for the accident, that you don’t need to pay for the treatment. This type of treatment is of particular important for all manners of accident and injury cases. If you hold a valid Health Card, there is no excuse for not at the very least, seeing your doctor. It’s free.

Sometimes treatment is NOT covered under the publicly funded OHIP system. Seeing a psychologist, a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, chiropractor, speech language pathologist, massage therapist; these are examples of treatment which is NOT commonly covered by OHIP.

To get these forms of treatment which are not covered, accident victims have a few options to access treatment.

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When it comes to your home, there is nothing more terrifying or tragic than a house fire. All of your possessions, belongings and memories are stashed away in that home. Once it goes up in a blaze, all of those things are gone forever. House fires are devastating for a family.

Fires are also devastating for commercial properties and business owners. Having a businesses’ merchandise and goods lost to fire can completely destroy a company, leaving it’s employees and shareholders in ruins.

People call Goldfinger Injury Lawyers when faced with fire loss. Our lawyers assist families and businesses recoup their losses, and stand up to the insurance company so that our clients get the compensation and peace of mind which they deserve.

The purpose of this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post is to go over the basics of fire loss claims and how to get them started; along with what to expect.

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Long Term Disability insurance is based on the basic premise that you are too disabled to work, and that you are insured for a percentage of your pre-disability income. This percentage can vary anywhere from as low as 50% to as high as 80%, depending on the wording of the policy along with the riders contained in the policy.

You know what your pre-disability income was. But your long term disability insurer does not.

Chances are, your long term disability insurer has never heard of you, met you, or hasn’t the faintest idea what you do for a living until you’ve applied for long term disability insurance.

Once you’ve applied, the only way the insurance company has a chance to get to know you is on paper; based on the forms you’ve submitted to them in support of your application for long term disability insurance.

A very important form is the Employer’s Statement, or Employer’s Declaration.

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