If you are hearing a roar of applause, and perhaps laughter in delight, it’s coming from high atop the corporate head quarters and legal offices of auto insurers across Ontario.
Insurers won large in two recent Court of Appeal decisions which were released earlier this month:
In the Cobb decision, a Jury verdict of $220,000 in favour of the injured accident victim plaintiff, was reduced by the Ontario Court of Appeal to just $22,136.60. After applying the statutory deductible for pain and suffering claims, that meant the case had no value whatsoever.
This case took 19 days to try before a Jury. Costs were awarded to the Plaintiff in the amount of $409,098.48. That cost award by the trial judge was completely eliminated by the Ontario Court of Appeal, who ruled that “in the circumstances, in my view, the fairest result to both sides is that each party bears its own costs“.
The Insurance Act and car accident legislation is intended to be consumer protection legislation. There are reasons that there are (and were) cost provisions against large insurers to ensure that the scales of justice were not tipped in their favour when it comes to the money required to litigate disputes.