April 1, 2016 was an important date for car accident victims across Ontario. Not because it was April Fools Day. But because on this date, everything to do with hearing and adjudicating accident benefit disputes in Ontario changed.
All accident benefit disputes filed on or after April 1, 2016 which used to be heard at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario were from that point forward heard at the License Appeals Tribunal or LAT for short.
Only around 2 or 3 adjudicators from FSCO transferred over to the LAT, so there was no real continuity or institutional knowledge which had carried over from FSCO to the LAT.
Adjudicators at the LAT were not bound by any precedent set by the years of caselaw developed at FSCO.
There were new shorter time lines which the parties had to deal with. New rules regarding expert reports and expert qualifications.
Costs only awarded in rare circumstances, and when costs are awarded, they are under the low end of the spectrum.
The cost burden shifted significantly to the injured accident victim who has much less money to spend on legal fees than does the insurance company who they are fighting against.
At FSCO the accident victim simply filed for mediation. The cost of filing for mediation was free to the accident victim. If the mediation failed, the accident victim could give up on the case, pay $100 to file for Arbitration, or elect to sue in Superior Court.