Catastrophic Injury Impairment

Changes to Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule and Catastrophic Injury

Automobile insurance is constantly changing . It seems that the government continues to strip away at some of the most vital services required for injured people, especially those who are severely injured and need it most, those with a catastrophic injury. The new definition will apply to all accidents in Ontario on or after June 1, 2016. The Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (“SABS”) provides accident benefits for people who are  involved in a motor vehicle accident in Ontario. Regardless of whether or not they were at fault, or whether or not they were a driver, passenger or a pedestrian. 

Definition of Catastrophic Injury Impairment

Many of the changes are in the area of Catastrophic Injuries. The most significant of the reductions in Accident Benefits are in the Medical and Rehabilitation and Attendant Care benefits for individuals with catastrophic and non-catastrophic injuries.

There are also new measures used to assess whether or not someone is deemed “catastrophic”. 

1- Paraplegia or Tetraplegia

The two scales or measures that are the primary source for the catastrophic determination for spinal cord injuries are the The ASIA -International Standards for Neurological Classification for Spinal Cord Injury as well as the SCIM Spinal Cord Independence Measure Version III  The definition of “catastrophic impairment” has been revised to reflect current medical studies.  

2-Residual Neuro-Urological Impairment or Urological Impairment

3-Loss of vision of both eyes

4-Traumatic Brain Injury

When assessing whether or not a patient has sustained a catastrophic brain injury, the appropriate health professional must conduct, among other things, the following clinical interview: a Structured Interview for the Glasgow Outcome Scale.

5-Traumatic Brain Injuries for person under the age of 18 at the time of the accident

The scale is dependent upon imaging of the brain, extent of admission to a rehabilitative facility and the King’s Outcome Scale for Childhood Head Injury, as published in Crouchman, M. et al

 

And where 2 or more years have elapsed since the accident, or where, after 3 months, a physician is of the belief that the patient’s condition is unlikely to improve and,

6- Physical Impairment

55% or more physical impairment of the whole person pursuant to the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 4th Edition (1993)

7-Mental or Behavioural Impairment Combined with Physical Impairment

A mental or behavioural impairment, excluding traumatic brain injury, that, when the impairment score is combined with a physical impairment described in paragraph 6, results in 55 percent or more impairment of the whole person.

8. Mental or Behavioural Impairment

An impairment that, in accordance with the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 4th edition, 1993 results in a class 4 impairment (marked impairment) in three or more areas of function that precludes useful functioning or a class 5 impairment (extreme impairment) in one or more areas of function that precludes useful functioning, due to mental or behavioural disorder.

Along with these tests, a patient must also undergo a neuropsychological assessment and must meet the following criteria to obtain what is deemed “catastrophic status”. The patient must have positive MRI findings, vegetative or disability rating on the Glasgow Outcome Scale (as mentioned above) , significant decreased activities of daily living via client interview, interview of treating practitioners (mentioned above)  and/or a file review of collateral medical documents. 

The definition and criteria for a catastrophic injury can be confusing and complex.  We have provided a quick snapshot here.  Our personal injury lawyers are happy to speak with you to go over any specific questions you may have. 


Ontario Accident Benefits – Who is eligible ?

Are you eligible for Ontario Accident Benefits?bicycleaccidentbenefits

What are Accident Benefits ? Have you been in accident? Are you wondering what your options are? In most cases if you reside in Ontario you may be entitled to Accident Benefits. The Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, otherwise known as SABS is the provincial regulation of benefits. These are standardized benefits that all insurance companies in Ontario provide. The role of Accident Benefits is to provide insurance compensation, regardless of fault, if you, your passengers, or if you are a pedestrian and have suffered a serious injury in an accident. Depending on the nature of the accident and the extent of the injuries, certain relatives or dependents may also qualify, even if they were not directly involved in the accident. You may also qualify for accident benefits if you were not directly involved in an accident but are suffering from psychological and mental strains of injured relatives.

Not everyone is entitled to Ontario Accident Benefits. You may apply for Accident Benefits and your insurance company and may deny your coverage. You can appeal this decision and fight it. An experienced personal injury lawyer can assist with this type of appeal and will work towards getting you maximum compensation and the benefits you need.

Who is excluded from Ontario Accident Benefits?

An insurance company may deny Income Replacement Benefits, Non-earner Benefits and compensation for other expenses benefits to:
• a driver who was excluded from an insurance policy,
• a driver or passengers who were aware, or should have been aware that the vehicle was driven without the owner of the vehicle’s consent,
• anyone who made false misrepresentation to their insurance company , resulting in automobile insurance being provided, and
• anyone who at the time of the accident was involved in an act for which he or she is convicted of any criminal offence, regardless of whether or not the offence is related to the operation of a vehicle,
• a driver who knew, or out to have known, that they were driving without a valid insurance.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it’s important you get informed. Ontario Accident Benefits are your benefits and benefits you are most likely entitled to. If you are unsure of your rights or what benefits you are entitled to, contact our personal injury lawyers and we would be happy to provide you with what benefits you are entitled to and give you an idea of what type of compensation you can expect


Do ATVs need a separate insurance policy ?

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers and the Ontario Court of Appeal – Farmers insuring ATVs

By: Brent Meadows

The Ontario Court of Appeal had to decide whether an unmodified all-terrain vehicle (ATV) owned and used by a farmer for day-to-day farming operations was a “self-propelled implement of husbandry” (ie. vehicle for farming). If an ATV is considered as such, then it would not be subject to Ontario’s mandatory vehicle insurance regime. In other words, it wouldn’t necessarily have to be insured under said regime.

Mr. Matheson, the plaintiff, owns approximately 900 acres of farm land that abuts onto a highway. On the day of the accident he used his ATV to get from one part of his land to the other using the highway. He only intended to drive his uninsured ATV on the highway for a short period of time. Sadly, while driving on the highway he was struck by Mr. Lewis and suffered catastrophic injuries.

The plaintiffs brought, inter alia, a Rule 21 motion (ie. determination of an issue before trial) to determine whether their claim was statute barred by operation of s.267.6(1) of the Insurance Act which provides that a person is not entitled to damages for injuries that occur while operating an uninsured vehicle.

The motion judge held that the ATV was excluded from Ontario’s mandatory insurance regime as it was a self-propelled implement of husbandry. The ONCA however reversed this decision and held that the ATV was NOT a self-propelled implement of husbandry.

The court arrived at this decision by reviewing Ontario insurance regime and its intended purpose.  The court then referred to R v. Van Berlo where it was held that a vehicle must be ‘manufactured’ or ‘designed’ for a specific use in farming in order to be considered a self-propelled implement of husbandry. While the plaintiff exclusively used the ATV for farming, it could not be said that the ATV was ‘manufactured’ or ‘designed’ for a specific use in farming.

Most importantly, with respect to Ontario’s automobile insurance regime, the ONCA held that an ATV cannot be both an off-road vehicle requiring insurance and a self-propelled implement of husbandry excluded from the insurance regime. Moreover, reg. 893 explicitly provides that an ATV is an off-road vehicle and not a self-propelled implement of husbandry.

The Court of Appeal ultimately decided that the plaintiff’s claim was statute-barred by s.267.6(1) of the Insurance Act as he was uninsured, and his claim for statutory accident benefits was barred by s.30(1)(a) of the SABS.

 ATV accidents and insurance

This is undoubtedly an important decision for insurers in Ontario. Now more than ever it would be prudent for farmers to obtain insurance for their ATVs. One question comes to mind: If Honda were to manufacture and design an ATV for a specific use in farming, could it be exempt from the Ontario’s mandatory vehicle insurance regime?

insurance claim

 

 


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 and Catastrophic Injuries. Good news for Ontario accident victims.

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers David Hollingsworth and Associates.  What injuries are deemed a catastrophic injury?  What is the definition of a catastrophic injury?  Well, it has changed and changed for the better….In an interesting case  Pastore v. Aviva Canada,  the Court of Appeal of Ontario  ruled that an injured victim  does not need to be markedly impaired in more than one area of life to be deemed  ” catastrophically impaired”.   In this particular case, the injured party had been hit in a car accident in November 2002 . As a result of the accident, her  left ankle was broken  and over time her ankle healed improperly. The injured victim  had a number of surgeries and consequently  her right knee also required surgery due to the injuries in her ankle and the manner in which she now walked.  As a result of these injuries, the victim became dependant on others for everyday activities  she once was able to perform on her own.  This dependency also affected the victim’s  emotional and psychological well-being.

In May 2005, the victim Ms. Pastore applied to the Aviva insurance company to have her injuries deemed as a “catastrophic impairment”  and it was determined that she had a catastrophic impairment :  “mental or behavioural disorder.”  It was deemed that Pastore had a class 4 or “marked impairment”  due to her daily living and she was rated with an overall assessment of class 3, which is a moderate impairment.   What this meant was that she was now meeting the threshold for a catastrophic impairment in one category.  A catastrophic impairment designation requires  impairment in all four categories.  The case was brought to the Court of Appeal and it was there decided that  Pastore’s position, according to the language in the Statutory Accident benefits  did not require “marked impairments” in each of the  four categories of  a catastrophic impairment designation.

This is excellent news for Ontario accident victims. This decision allows for additional Ontario accident benefits for injured victims.  We have many clients who thanks to this decision, will be able to receive the help and support they need.  This is great news for Ontario accident victims and their families.  Many accidents leave people with physical injuries , but also injuries such as chronic pain, and emotional and psychological impairments . Thanks to this decision, there will be increased benefits for people suffering from  these impairments.

David Hollingsworth and Associates . We are Ottawa injury lawyers with a wealth of experience .  Our lawyers work closely with you our clients to make sure no stone in unturned and that our clients receive all the support and compensation they need following an accident in Ontario.  If you are injured, it’s important that you meet with an experienced Ottawa personal injury lawyer who knows how best to help you.  There is far too much at stake to be with the wrong lawyer. We pride ourselves on our high success rate, our experience and our valuable relationships with our clients. Your future and your families future is important and we understand that.  We are here for you and with you every step of the way. Contact us for a free consultation. Visit www.ottawainjury.ca or email david@ottawainjury.ca

We understand, we care, we’re here to help …and our track record proves it.


Ottawa injury lawyer David Hollingsworth explains which Ontario accident benefit forms (OCF forms) you need following an accident in Ontario.

Ottawa Injury Lawyers David Hollingsworth and Associates.  If you have been in an accident in Ontario and are injured, you will most likely need to access your Ontario accident benefits. Ontario accident benefits are provided through your insurance company or the insurance company of other vehicle involved in the accident. You begin by first informing your own insurance company that you have been in an accident. They will then send you an Ontario Accident Benefits package.  By law your insurance company must provide you with these forms, and you have 30 days to complete the necessary accident benefit forms and return them to your insurance company. It is important you fill out these forms are properly filled out.  When a new client comes to us and we act for them as their Ottawa personal injury lawyer, we always recommend that we fill out the forms for them as often times they can be somewhat confusing and challenging if you have never filled them out before.  We have accident benefit specialists who can fill these form out for you in a comprehensive and detailed manner ensuring that there are no errors on your forms that could in turn delay your case. There are a number of Ontario accident benefit forms that need to be completed and depending on what your injuries are and the details of your accident, you may be required to fill out all of them. The primary forms that need to be filled out right away are:

Ontario Accident Benefit Forms:   OCF Forms

  1. OCF-1  : Application for Accident Benefits
    • This is the initial accident benefits form to be filled out when applying for accident benefits as a result of an accident . The OCF-1 form must be filled with your insurance company in order for your personal injury claim to commence.
  2. OCF-2 Employer’s Confirmation of Income
    • The OCF-2 form applies only to those who are claiming Income Replacement Benefits. The OCF-2 form is completed by you and your employer. There are instances where several OCF-2 forms need to be completed. For example if you have been employed by more than one employer in the previous 52 weeks, you may need to fill out an OCF-2 form for each of your previous employers within the previous 52 weeks.
  3. OCF-3 Disability Certificate
    • The OCF-3 form is to be completed mainly by your health practitioner. It needs to be as detailed as possible and describes the extent of your injuries as a result of the accident.
  4. OCF-5 Permission to Disclose Health Information
    • The OCF-5 forms allows for access to your medical records and any previous medical information that can help determine your  accident benefits eligibility.

You have been injured and you are suffering so its important that we get you help as quickly as possible. We are Ottawa personal injury lawyers who can help you by ensuring that you receive all the services you need as well as ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your injuries. Our accident benefit specialists will help you sift through the accident benefits process and will complete all the necessary Ontario accident benefit forms properly and in a timely manner, so as not to delay your case. We understand that these are difficult times and we are here to help.   Our Ottawa injury lawyers can travel to you, your home or your hospital. All consultations are free.

 


Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth:What are income replacement benefits ( IRB ) ?

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth, Ontario Injury Lawyers, Income Replacement Benefits..Often times  after suffering a personal injury in a  motor vehicle accident you may not be able to return to work right away. You also may not be able to provide for yourself and your family. Depending on the severity of your personal injuries, you may not be able to work for a few days, maybe a few months or perhaps even longer.  This is very stressful and this is where income replacement benefits comes in.

What are Income Replacement Benefits?

Income Replacement benefits are available to Ontario personal injury victims who were employed or self employed at the time of the motor vehicle accident in Ontario  and who, as a result of the personal injuries sustained in the Ontario accident, “suffer a substantial inability to perform the essential tasks of their employment”. This is the definition that applies for the first 2 years following a car accident in Ontario. 

Following 2 years after an Ontario accident, it changes and becomes much more difficult to qualify for income replacement benefits. To continue to qualify for income replacement benefits, Ontario accident victims must  have “a complete inability to engage in any employment or self-employment for which they are reasonably suited by education, training or experience.”

How much do Ontario accident victims get for Income Replacement Benefits?

The amount of income replacement benefits received depends on a number of different factors such as one’s income before the accident.  As well as whether or not you opted to purchase additional accident benefits.

  • For motor vehicle accidents occurring after September 1, 2010, the amount of the weekly income replacement benefits is based on 70% of your gross weekly income before the accident, subject to the maximum amounts.
  • Under the standard accident benefits limits, the maximum weekly amount payable for the first 2 years following the accident in Ontario is $400 per week
  • No income replacement benefits are payable in the first 7 days following an Ontario accident
  • Optional accident benefits limits increase the maximum weekly amount to $600, $800 or $1,000 per week 

How to apply for income replacement benefits…

In order to receive income replacement benefits,  Ontario accident victims  need to submit a completed 

  • Application for Accident Benefits.
    •  OCF-10  Election of Income Replacement, Non-Earner or Caregiver Benefit
    • OCF-3 Disability Certificate
    • OCF-2 Employer’s Confirmation

    If you have been involved in an Ontario car accident and are unable to work, you most likely qualify for income replacement benefits. It is important that before you fill out the associated accident benefits forms that you contact an experienced Ontario personal injury lawyer .  The best Ontario personal injury lawyers not only will help you fill out these forms, they will ensure that it is done in a manner that  gets you maximum benefits support.

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    The  Ottawa Injury Blog is written regularly by Ottawa Ontario injury lawyer David Hollingsworth. Since 1999, David has been an Ontario personal injury lawyer representing Ontario accident victims who have suffered a personal  injury and the families of accident victims who have lost a loved one in an Ontario accident. This blog reports on accidents in eastern Ontario, personal injury issues, local Ottawa news and events and various news that relates to Ottawa, accidents and personal injury.  Visit www.ottawainjury.ca for more information. If you have a question, feel free to call or email david@ottawainjury.ca  (613) 978-9549 

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    Ontario Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth, Income Replacement Benefits, Ontario Accident Benefits


    Difference between Catastrophic injury accident benefits and Non-Catastrophic injury accident benefits

    Catastrophic Injury and Non-Catastrophic Injury: STATUTORY ACCIDENT BENEFITS

    Did you know that regardless of who is at fault, people injured  in motor vehicle accidents in Ontario may be entitled to certain accident benefits from their own motor vehicle insurance company regardless if they have suffered a catastrophic injury or not?

    Even if you do not have car insurance, if you suffer personal injury in a car accident , you are entitled to receive compensation from the Ontario government.

    Effective September 1, 2010, the SABS or  Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule  states that among other Ontario accident benefits available, Ontario accident benefits include:

    • an Income Replacement Benefit of up to $400 per week,
    • an Attendant Care Benefit of up to $3,000 per month with a maximum of $36,000, and
    • Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits of up to $50,000 over a 10 year period following an Ontario accident.

    If a person dies in an Ontario motor vehicle accident, Ontario accident benefits are available for Funeral Expenses as well as a Death Benefit.

    If the personal injury is more serious and is deemed within the definition of “catastrophic impairment injury”, there is an increase to:

    • $1,000,000.00 in Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits and
    • $1,000,000.00 in Attendant Care Benefits which are payable over the course of an injured person’s life.

    People who have suffered catastrophic injury are also eligible for Case Management Services as well as other Ontario accident benefits such as Housekeeping and Home Maintenance Benefit of $100.00 per week payable for the duration of their lifetime.

    What is the difference between a Catastrophic injury and a Non-Catastrophic injury?

    Let’s start by looking at the Ontario accident benefits…

    What are NON-CATASTROPHIC benefits?

    • Income Replacement Benefit – 80% of net weekly income up to maximum of $400.00 per week to a maximum period of 104 weeks.
    • Non-Earner Benefit – $185.00 per week to a maximum period of 104 weeks.
    • Caregiver Benefit – $250.00 per week for 1st child and $50.00 per week for each subsequent child to a maximum period of 104 weeks. Only applies for children under the age of 16.
    • Attendant Care Benefits – $3,000.00 per month maximum to a maximum period of 2 years.
    • Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits – $50, 000.00 maximum. 10 year maximum period.

    What are CATASTROPHIC INJURY benefits?

    • Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits – $1,000,000 to use over the course of the injured person’s life.
    • Attendant Care Benefits – $1,000,000 to use throughout life.  Monthly payment maximum is $6000.00

    What are these Ontario Accident Benefits?

    • Income replacement benefits help replace lost income if an employed or self-employed claimant is disabled.
    • Caregiver benefits pay certain childcare or other caregiver expenses if a stay-at-home parent or other caregiver is unable to care for a child or other person in need of care.
    • Non-earner benefits are paid if a claimant who is not employed or self-employed is unable to carry on with normal life.
    • Medical and rehabilitation benefits pay for treatment and rehabilitation assistance that is not covered by OHIP or another disability insurance plan.
    • Attendant care benefits pay for someone to look after a seriously injured claimant.
    • Funeral expenses and death benefits are paid if an insured person dies as a result of the accident.

    Depending on your circumstances, you may also be entitled to other benefits, such as payments for lost education expenses, housekeeping assistance, visitors’ expenses, repair or replacement of eyeglasses or clothing damaged in the accident, or case management services.

    Each and every case is different and to know exactly what you are entitled to, it is best to consult an Ontario personal injury lawyer specializing in Ontario car accidents.

     


    Watch out for Ontario Changes to Car Insurance.. Ottawa Lawyer David Hollingsworth

    Ottawa Ontario Insurance Claims Lawyer David Hollingsworth Ottawa Accident Lawyer, Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth- ..I know I keep harping about the upcoming changes to Ontario car insurance, but I am concerned and want to make sure you have a clear picture of what is going on for Ontario drivers.  It is important that you make an informed decision, when it comes to renewing your Ontario car insurance…

    A serious personal injury claim is much more expensive than the cost of most vehicles. The most serious of personal injuries are not common, but could cost more than several vehicles. Personal injury is reported in 54 % of private passenger car (this includes motor vehicles)  accidents covered by car insurance. Nearly 1/2 of those personal injuries are more than minor.

    Insurance claims companies reported 71,803 personal injury claims for Ontario accident benefits among the 138,568 property damage and collision claims involving Ontario’s more than 6 million insured, private-passenger vehicles in 2009. What does this mean? Based on the figures Dominion reports, there would have been nearly 39,000 minor personal injuries, more than 30,000 more serious personal injuries and more than 5,500 of the most serious personal  injuries. It’s important that drivers become more familiar with the Ontario personal injury coverage they now get with the mandatory portion of their car insurance, and what amounts they will soon have the option to buy.

    Ontario Drivers renewing their car insurance after Sept. 1, 2010 may choose to buy $50,000 of medical and rehabilitation coverage, or pay extra to continue to have $100,000 over coverage for personal injuries that are neither minor nor catastrophic personal injury.

    Ontario is  the only province with privately delivered insurance that allows the purchase of additional coverage. It will still be possible to buy $1 million of medical coverage instead of either the $50,000 or $100,000 limit. No matter what amount of coverage you have now, or choose to buy later, there will be a $3,500 limit on coverage for treatment of most minor personal injuries starting Sept. 1.

    Other coverages, such as for housekeeping and child care while you are injured, will become optional and at an additional cost.  In my opinion, as an Ottawa Ontario personal injury lawyer, if you can afford this, it is well worth it, when you need it most. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) is expected to release its next quarterly report on the averages of approved rate changes sometime this month. Some time after that, Ontario insurance claim agents and brokers will be able to tell Ontario insurance policy holders about the sort of rate changes they are facing.

    Many Ontario insurance companies have already begun publicizing these new changes and how they may “save” you money, when renewing your Ontario insurance; however keep in mind that the reduction you might face in payments, is minimal to the reduction you may face if ever you are involved in an Ontario car accident and have serious personal injuries.  Remember, the personal injury coverage is far more important than the coverage on your vehicle.

    Please pass this on to anyone in Ontario who walks, drives, bikes, or rides !It affects us all..

    If you have any questions, or need more information, visit www.ottawainjury.ca I would be happy to answer any other questions you may have,

    David Hollingsworth, Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer, serving Alexandria, Arnprior, Belleville, Brockville, Clarence Creek, Cornwall, Embrun, Gananogue, Hawkesbury, Kemptville, Kingston L’Orignal, Morrisburg, Napanee, North Gower, Pembroke, Perth, Peterborough, Picton, Prescott, Renfrew, Richmond, Russell, Smith Falls, and Tweed and all cities, communities, districts, municipalities, regions, towns, townships and villages in between.

     


    Ontario Auto and Car Insurance Changes : Be prepared -Ontario Personal Lawyer David Hollingsworth, in Ottawa

    Ottawa Accident Lawyer-  Ontario Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth– The Ontario government has made changes to your auto insurance policy that have a direct impact on each and every one of us and come in effect September 2010.

    Ontario Auto Insurance Changes:  This summer, all Ontario drivers will be faced with the important decision of  whether or not  to purchase optional insurance -a basic automobile insurance package with reduced statutory accident benefits. My fear is that unfortunately, times are tough and most drivers will most likely opt for basic coverage.
     

    Will you be affected? If you are in an accident and suffer a non-catastrophic personal injury, the answer is YES, you will.

    Drivers with insurance who are in an accident and are deemed to have a  non- catastrophic injury are the ones most negatively impacted by the Ontario government’s changes. The Ontario government is in the process of creating a basic insurance package of statutory accident benefits that lowers compulsory Medical and Rehabilitation benefits coverage to $50,000 from the previous  $100,000. Attendant Care benefit insurance coverage will be reduced in 1/2 to $36,000 with other important restrictions.

    As a Ontario personal injury lawyer, I highly recommend drivers to purchase the optional increase in Medical and Rehabilitation benefits for up to $1 million (which would include $72,000 for Attendant Care). Unfortunately the reality is most drivers will probably purchase the basic coverage. This, is in my opinion dangerous.

    There are also major reductions in accident benefits for accident victims with a non-catastrophic injury claim. The Medical and Rehabilitation and Attendant Care benefits have been drastically reduced and  Housekeeping and Caregiver benefits (unless you are catastrophically injured) have been completely eliminated. In most cases the at-fault insured driver will bear the costs of the reduction in the accident benefit insurance claim.

    The definition(s) of catastrophic impairment has also changed, making it more difficult for accident victims to access their benefits. Assessment costs will now be deducted from the medical and rehabilitation benefits and that change will reduce the benefits available considerably. This means the costs to access your needs will now come out of your benefits, which is now reduced and capped. Meaning again, less compensation for Ontario accident victims.

    Also of note, the definition of a catastrophic impairment  changed and now will include single limb amputees and the evaluation of catastrophic impairment will be restricted to those practitioners who have both training and experience with catastrophic injury cases.

    Unfortunately, basic auto insurance coverage does not adequately compensate Ontario accident victims and their families with the costs that are necessary in most accidents. I sincerely hope and recommend to everyone to purchase the extended coverage; knowing that will be difficult for a lot of people to come up with the extra funds each year; but in my opinion, this is an expense you don’t mess around with. I urge you to do what you can do to purchase the extended coverage.

    At the best of times, Ontario’s car insurance regime is complicated and difficult to understand. If you are injured in a car accident in Ontario, you are probably entitled to certain “no-fault benefits”, but you may also have the right to sue at-fault parties for your personal injury. The right to sue is not unlimited in Ontario. There are many more proposed changes that will have a direct impact on you.  For a detailed list and more information; feel free to email me for your FREE guide to Ontario’s auto insurance changes.