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Completing that complicated OCF-3 Disability Certificate (2017 Edition)

Our law firm has written many articles on how to complete the OCF-3 Disability Certificate in previous editions of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog.

Your can read these previous articles here, here, or here.

Don’t get me wrong. Those articles are great and contain valuable information for accident victims, their loved ones, doctors, therapists, even insurance adjusters.

But those articles are dated. Accident benefit and car insurance law is ever changing!!!

The standard OCF claim forms are constantly being updated. We have no reasonable explanation as to why the OCF forms get changed around so often aside from the government is constantly changing car accident law to keep lawyers and insurers on their toes. These changes generally seem to favour large insurers, but that’s another story all together.

The end result is that injured accident victims, doctors, therapists and rehab clinics may be using old forms which won’t be accepted by the insurer when submitted.

In fact, we’ve had experience with more than one adjuster who has submitted the wrong/dated OCF form to our clients by mistake. Our lawyers don’t blame them. The system and the constant tweeks/updates to accident benefit and car insurance law has made an already complex system even more complex and burdensome to accident victims, service providers and insurers alike.

The OCF-3 Disability Certificate is one of the MOST IMPORTANT forms for your car accident case. This form is completed by the injured accident victim, and one of the following professionals:

  • Chiropractor
  • Dentist
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Optometrist
  • Physician
  • Physiotherapist
  • Psychologist
  • Speech-Language Pathologist

This means that your Naturopath, Social Worker, Counsellor, Rehab Coach or Kinesiologist cannot complete the OCF-3 Disability Certificate. If the professional is not on the above noted list, then they aren’t qualified to complete for form.

Make sure that you’re completing the right version of the OCF-3 Disability Certificate. Here it is. This new 2016-2017 OCF-3 has a total of 5 pages. The older version of the OCF-3 has 4 pages. The extra page means more information is required from the insurer.

The OCF-3 Disability Certificate is an important form because it tells the insurance company, from a medical perspective what your injuries are, what your injuries prevent you from doing, and how long your injuries are expected to keep you out of commission. This is likely the first time when the insurer gets an idea of what exactly your injuries are and how they are affecting your life. The insurer will rely on what’s written down on the OCF-3 as the case progresses.

From time to time, the insurer will request and updated OCF-3. This is completely normal, so don’t worry or panic. Your health will change from the date of the accident in to the future. The insurer has a right to know how your accident related impairments have changed, for better or for worse over time. This helps the insurer better understand your health care and benefit needs.

Quick tip: The insurer will pay for the cost of your doctor/health care professional’s time completing the OCF-3 Disability Certificate. Have your doctor or health care professional complete the OCF-3, and submit it along with an invoice for their time in completing the form.

Quick tip: Getting the right doctor or health care professional to complete the OCF-3 Disability Certificate can make, or break your case. If the person completing your OCF-3 doesn’t support your injury claim, and believes that you’re liar, faking, or malingering your injuries, then the OCF-3 will reflect this. The insurer will use this form as a piece of evidence to deny any future or past benefits you’re claiming because your very own doctor completed the OCF-3 in an unfavourable way for your case. If you know that your doctor is surly about completing forms, and doesn’t support any form or disability because they don’t believe in your pain, then it’s best NOT to have that person complete the OCF-3 Disability Certificate on your behalf.0008r_Goldfinger-200x300

Quick Tip for Doctors and Health Care Professionals: When completing the OCF-3 Disability Certificate, beware the wording, particularly in Part 6 under Disability Tests and Information. The wording in this section can get tricky, and gets in the realm of “legalese”. Questions such as:

Is the applicant substantially unable to perform the essential tasks of his/her employment at the time of the accident as a result of and within 104 weeks of the accident?”

“Does the applicant suffer a complete inability to carry on a normal life (ie Has the applicant sustained an impairment that continuously prevents the person from engaging in substantially all of the activities in which the person ordinarily engaged before the accident)

You would think that the Ontario Government (the ones ultimately responsible for the wording and creation of these forms), intentionally worded the OCF-3 form this way to trip people up.

These questions could have been worded in a much less confusing and verbose manner. How about:

Do the applicant’s accident related injuries prevent him/her from returning to work? (Yes/No)

Do the applicant’s accident related injuries prevent him/her from returning to their normal day to day activities/routine? (Yes/No)

One of our personal favourites is that the OCF-3 specifically asks for more information if the doctor believes that the disability will last more than 12 weeks. But there is no reason to explain if the anticipated duration of the disability will last 12 weeks or under. It’s almost as if it’s a crime to be injured or disabled for more that 12 weeks under the Accident Benefit Regime. Here is the specific question from the OCF-3 to justify that 12+ week duration of the disability:

If you responded Anticipated Duration more than 12 weeks to any disability test above, please explain why the task/activity limitations are likely to persist beyond 12 weeks.

Quick Tip: The Applicant needs to sign and date the OCF-3 on page #2 at Part 3. The Doctor or Health Practitioner who completed the OCF-3 also needs to sign and date the form at Page #5 under Part 10. Failure to have both signatures on the OCF-3 will render the OCF-3 form invalid and won’t be accepted by the insurer. This will likely cause delay in getting you the benefits you deserve.

For more information regarding how the complete the OCF-3 Disability Certificate, please contact Goldfinger Injury Lawyers at 1-877-730-1777 or at Free initial consultations all held in the strictest confidence.

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