Car thefts and insurance claims

Who is liable in  insurance claims if the vehicle is stolen?Ontario Accident Insurance Claims

Lock your car doors. You may be liable to lose more than you think and it could affect your insurance claims.

What’s the worst that could happen when a car door is left unlocked in a driveway or parking lot? Most would assume that their car, or the belongings inside it, could be stolen. The consequences turned out to be much worse in a recent case involving an Ontario garage and dealership . The Supreme Court of Canada looked at the insurance claims and recently ruled that the owner of that garage owed a duty of care to a minor who was injured in one of their unlocked vehicles after it was stolen.

On a summer evening in 2006, two teenagers walked around their hometown with the intention of stealing from unlocked cars before finding themselves at Rankin’s Garage & Sales — a business that serviced and sold cars and trucks. The garage property was not secured, and the two found an unlocked Toyota Camry with keys left in the ashtray. Despite not having a driver’s license or any driving experience, one teen got behind the wheel and set off for a joyride with the plaintiff as his passenger. The vehicle crashed, and the plaintiff suffered a catastrophic brain injury.

Difference levels of responsibility in insurance claims

The victim sued and the Trial Judge determined that the garage owed a duty of care to the minor plaintiff and a jury apportioned 37% responsibility to the garage for the teen’s injuries. The primary issue on appeal was whether the Trial Judge had erred in finding that the garage owed a duty of care to the plaintiff in the circumstances, which included his participation in the theft. The Garage appealed.

The Court of Appeal decides on insurance claims

The Court of Appeal found it reasonably foreseeable in the circumstances that minors might steal an unlocked car with keys in it and injure themselves doing so. The basis for this conclusion was that Rankin’s Garage was easily accessible, there were no security measures to keep people off the property after hours, cars were left unlocked with keys in them, and there was evidence of a history of theft in the area and from the garage itself.

The Court of Appeal concluded that the garage should have had minors in mind when considering security measures, and that the care and control of many vehicles imposed a responsibility of securing them against minors. Securing vehicles by locking them and keeping keys secure was the garage’s responsibility.

We all know that there are possible dangers in leaving our vehicles unlocked, but we don’t often think beyond the obvious. A case like this should be a reminder that cars, machinery, and tools can cause harm to those who are not experienced in using them safely. Owners of these items have a responsibility to make sure that they do not fall into the wrong hands.

A business that leaves a car unlocked with the keys inside will not necessarily be responsible when someone is injured after the car is stolen, the Supreme Court has ruled. The business will only be responsible where it should have known both that the car could be stolen, and that someone could be injured due to it being driven unsafely.

 


Changes to Ontario Accident Benefits and the Minor Injury Guideline.

Personal Injury Lawyer Ottawa, David Hollingsworth…The Financial Services Commission of Ontario has again made some changes to Ontario accident benefits and unfortunately, in my opinion as an Ottawa personal injury lawyer, these changes do not favour Ontario drivers, should they become injured in an accident and need to access their accident benefits.  One of the  recent changes in accident benefits  has to do with the MIG (Minor Injury Guideline)  and it requires a pre-existing condition to have been included in a medical note by a health professional to get out of the Minor Injury Guideline.

As of February 1, 2014, the Government of Ontario has decided that Ontario drivers who are accessing their accident benefits and who fall under the Minor Injury Guideline are limited to the cap of $3,500.00 UNLESS they have a  pre-existing medical condition and this pre-existing medical condition must have been documented by a health practitioner prior to the accident.  This is a new requirement. Before February 1, 2014,  pre-existing medical conditions did not need to be documented.  Essentially , what this means is that if you were injured before but had perhaps  not sought out medical treatment that was documented, then you will not be considered for the exclusion of minor injury guidelines and most likely your treatment will be limited to the $3,500.00 cap.

This change in accident benefits highlights why it is critical to treat any injury as serious. Most people think things will heal naturally over time and often can’t find the time to get to the hospital or doctor.  With wait times the way they are, it is understandable; however these types of changes highly why Ontario drivers need to make this a priority. Unfortunately, once an accident has occurred, you can’t turn back the clock.

If you have been in an accident and are injured, it is imperative you speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.  It’s important you know your rights and leave no stone unturned in the event that weeks, months or years later your injuries prevent you from a quality of life you once had.  If you have a question or would like more information about the recent changes to Ontario Accident Benefits,  contact us at www.ottawainjury.ca . We would be happy to sit down with you free of charge .


Another reduction in accident benefits for Ontario drivers.

Why are Ontario drivers not purchasing additional accident benefits?

In January of  2011, FSCO: Financial Services Commission of Ontario lead a study and surveyed the people of Ontario, in particular,  the largest automobile insurance insurers in Ontario.  The survey looked at  24 large insurance companies that help close the 3/4 of the Ontario insurance market.  Sadly the results from the survey indicated that  most people are not purchasing the extra additional accident benefits avail ale to them. In fact, most drivers were unaware of the optional benefits. As an Ottawa personal injury lawyer, I find this very disturbing.  It seems that insurance benefits available to drivers are continuing to be reduced year after year, yet premiums are remaining the same.

As of February 1, 2014, more disturbing reductions in accident benefits came into play. The newest reductions affect attendant care, pre-existing conditions under MIG (the Minor Injury Guideline)  and the election of benefits.  Unfortunately these changes do not favour Ontario drivers, as they are significant reductions.

Of particular note is the reduction in attendant care. The new attendant care provisions reverse the law as established by the Court of Appeal in Henry v. Gore.  What this case established was the amount of “economic loss” is a threshold requirement for payment of an attendant care benefit.   Essentially why this case was so important was because it addressed that is an attendant care provider was not acting in the course of his or her ordinary employment, then the amount of benefit payable to them was not to exceed the amount of monies they would have earned in their regular employment.   This amendment  can leave families in a difficult position as they may not be able to afford to care for their own family members. In other words, if your income is lower than the benefit  pay out, you will only get paid what you would have otherwise made at your regular job.  So for example, if you are a stay-at-home parent and do not have an income, you will receive nothing for attendant care benefits . This forces many families in a situation of not being able to  afford to care for their loved ones with injuries and professional providers will need to be hired.

Ottawa personal injury lawyer David Hollingsworth appeared on CTV news this week and discussed these changes and the implications of the changes for Ontario drivers and their families. In case you missed it, please visit the CTV news at noon website and watch the video.

If you have any questions that relate to the amendments in Ontario insurance, personal injury, or accidents, please fell free to contact us and we would be happy to help.

 


Ontario Accident Benefits Insurance Compensation. Which optional benefits should you purchase?

Ontario Accident Benefits Insurance Claims David Hollingsworth Personal Injury Lawyers.   The Ontario insurance regime is one of the most complicated insurance regimes in North America. When it comes to car insurance, you certainly don’t want to scrimp but you always don’t want to pay extra money if it’s not needed. Sadly, when it comes to choosing optional accident benefits, many people will automatically settle for basic coverage.  As an Ottawa personal injury lawyer, I can tell you, this may be a huge mistake.

Now, the truth is hopefully you will never need to access your accident benefits .  Great !  If you do however get injured in an accident, you may find yourself unable to work, injured, in a home that needs modifications and that’s when you want to make sure you have access to as much accident benefits compensation as possible. Sadly, most people don’t really know what their accident benefits insurance coverage is until they really need it.

A basic auto insurance policy in Ontario contains far less accident benefits coverage than a policy where the “top-ups” have been purchased.  Along with this decrease in benefits comes a decrease in yearly premium payments.  Many will opt for this.   I would caution you not to. I urge everyone to speak with their broker and find out what optional benefits are available to you and at what cost.

For instance the  Medical and  Rehabilitation Benefits jump from $100,000 to $50,000 or possible even $ 3,500 if you have purchased the optional benefit.

If you purchase additional accident benefits, you can be entitled to  Housekeeping Benefits and Caregiver Benefits , which have been eliminated in the basic policy.

Attendant Care Benefits are another optional benefits that can be purchased and allow you to have access to $72,000 instead of  $36,000. You may have access to additional accident benefits through your work and in this case may not require purchasing additional accident benefits.

It’s important to know what options you have and choose what’s best for you and your family.  Another important piece of information you need to know is that if you have more than one vehicle, you only need to purchase these additional accident benefits for one vehicle only.

In my opinion, the top up amounts are well worth it.  An average vehicle can purchase most additional accident benefits for under $200 a year.  That $200 a year translates to a significant amount of money if you need, when you really need it. I cannot tell you how many personal injury cases I have settled where people have given additional much need funds and they are so thankful that they purchased those additional accident benefits. Talk to your broker about what options you have and what accident benefits are available to you. To read about some of the accident benefits settlement amounts we’ve secured for our clients visit http://www.ottawainjury.ca/cases


Ontario Accident Benefits Forms Disability Certificate OCF-3 , Ontario Insurance Claims Forms

What is an OCF-3 Disability Certificate?

If you have been injured in an accident in Ontario, you will likely need medical help and you may even need legal help.  Your insurance company is often one of the first calls that get made.  Typically, your insurance company will start your claim by sending you a package to complete.  In this package, you will be required to fill out many detailed forms. These forms are extremely important and often are of great importance when it comes time to settling your case.  That is why it is so important to make sure they are filled out correctly. Insurance companies can deny a claim if there is misleading information on the forms.

OCF 3: Disability Certificate

One of the first forms to fill out is the OCF 3; otherwise known as the Disability Certificate  OCF-3. The OCF-3 Disability form needs to filled out by you and your health practitioner (this could be your chiropractor, dentist, occupational therapist, nurse practitioner, optometrist, physician, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, psychologist or speech language pathologist). Your insurance company  will pay for the completed OCF-3. There is no expense charged to you.

Ottawa Insurance Claims Lawyer

If you or a loved has been injured in an Ontario car  accident and you are  applying for Accident Benefits, you must fill out a Disability Certificate. Your doctor will need to fill out a Disability Certificate  OCF-3 from your insurance company. The OCF-3 Disability Certificate form can be found at the  Financial Services Commission of Ontario site. The manner in which this is filled out is extremely important. It is important to be completely honest with your doctor and have your doctor fill out the form in as much detail as possible. It’s important to include all personal injuries on the form, including psychological injuries, any mental injuries, emotional injuries etc.. Be as detailed as possible.  The last thing you want is to be suffering from an injury down the road and have the insurance company deny your claim because you didn’t give all the information at the time of the accident. You may need therapy later on and not know it at the time of your injury. Somethings to keep in mind…

Have you been previously injured in an accident? Do you suffer from pre-existing conditions ? Some pre-existing conditions could affect the outcome of your claim. Your doctor needs to be extremely thorough. What other injuries does your doctor suspect go along with your injury? Do you get headaches? Are you having trouble with bright lights, loud noises? Are there  neurological injuries? Areyou having concentration difficulties? Do you feel pain anywhere else? This all needs to be documented on your Disability Certificate  OCF-3 form.

Where an Ontario Injury Lawyer can help with a Disability Certificate  OCF-3 form. 

Some of the OCF-3 Disability Certificate is fairly standard. You need to complete  your name, date of birth, gender, address, and employment status.

Another section of the Disability Certificate OCF-3 requires you fill out all insurance information. If you were a pedestrian at the time of the car accident,  you are required to fill out the insurance information of the other driver that hit you. This information can also be found on the Police Report. If  neither drivers or accident victims have insurance there is a special fund set up by the government called  Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund. It is difficult tobe considered for this fund and it would be best if you ge the help of an Ontario injury lawyer when making a claim to the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund.

The most difficult section of  the Disability Certificate OCF-3  is the third section . It is in this section that accident victims must fill out the details of the car accident and indicate what personal injuries resulted from the accident. You need to make sure that all the information provided in this section is the same information given in your police report. Take your time and fill it out careful.  It is always best to consult with your Ontario injury lawyer to make sure you do not write anything that might jeopardize your case.

The next section of the Disability Certificate OCF-3 form is the section that requires you to enlist the help of your family doctor, surgeons, therapists, physiotherapist, psychologist, speech language pathologist, or any other health care professional listed on the form OCF-3.  Not only do they need to identify your injuries, they also need to give an opinion on your recovery status.  Your health professionals must decide if you are capable to return to work and day in/day out activities. This is particularly challenging as often only time will tell in these situations.

Filing out complex insurance forms can be very difficult and stressful.  It shouldn’t be ! You are already dealing with enough. As some of the most dedicated Ottawa personal injury lawyers, we  help all of our personal injury clients fill out these forms correctly, so as not to jeopardize anything .  There is far too much at risk and we want to help.  We can help.If you have a question,or would simply just like some help filling out your Disability Certificate OCF-3, we would be happy to help. We won’t charge you. These are forms we fill out every day and it is far easier for us to do, than for you to do.  Let us help you and you can focus on your recovery. Feel free to call us at (613) 978-9549 or email [email protected]