The lawyers at Aaron Waxman & Associates are experienced with Disability, Personal Injury and Employment claims.
In our last post, we discussed how the accident benefits system in Ontario changed September 1, 2010. We focused our discussion on how the Superintendent of Financial Services asked a panel of experts to review the definition of catastrophic impairment. It remains to be seen what changes to the definition will be implemented.
This week, 2 articles were posted on the moneyville.com website relating to the state of insurance and accident benefits in Ontario.
In the first article, entitled, “Why our accident benefits system may be the worst”, the author discusses how Ontario drivers pay more for less. According to a release from the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, Ontario’s auto insurance rates went up by an average of 3.05% in the third quarter of this year.
Whether you are a victim of a car accident that happened while you were walking, driving or biking, you can be sure that at one point in time, you will experience a fight with your insurance company over benefits.
Of the estimated 65, 000 people that are injured in car accidents yearly, only 1% are deemed catastrophic. Almost 20% have severe non-catastrophic injuries. These benefits are capped at $50,000, whereas pre-September 2010, they were capped at $100,000.
This means the remaining 80% fall into the minor injury category, which have access to a minimum of $3,500 in medical benefits (Minor Injury Guildeline a.k.a. MIG).
Of course, drivers are able to purchase optional coverage, at an additional cost to increase their coverage options. This extra protection is worth it. When the unexpected happens, you want to have as much coverage as you can. This additional coverage will bring you back to the amount of $100,000 for medical and rehabilitation benefits.
Ontario drivers and workers should also be aware of the importance of purchasing critical illness insurance and long-term disability insurance if LTD benefits are not available through employers or if they are self-employed. Your life can change in a second. The costs of medical assessments and treatments are only going to increase. Rehabilitation is expensive. Protect yourself.
Currently, only 1.3% of Ontario drivers have purchased optional benefits.
The 2nd article that was featured on moneyville.com, entitled “Devastating accident leaves cyclist struggling with insurance payout” discusses the plight of a Toronto woman after her motor vehicle/cyclist accident in November 2010. She suffered severe and serious injuries and is only eligible for $50,000 of medical and rehabilitation benefits as the driver that hit had not purchased optional benefits. She spent four months in the hospital recuperating from a shattered pelvis and ankle, other fractures and a mild brain injury.
Less than a year later she has already used up half of her coverage for medical expenses. And remember, this is the only coverage she has access to.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, accident benefits claims in Ontario rose 102% from $26,339 per average claim in 2004 to $54,371 in 2009. That cost is even higher in the GTA. The IBC believes there is something wrong with Ontario and states,
“Clearly there is something wrong with Ontario…A good auto insurance system must strike a balance between the right amount of compensation to victims, and affordable premiums for all drivers. The reforms are helping to achieve that balance.”
But denying claims and denying accident victims much needed treatment by insisting they fall into the MIG category and not allowing them to fall into the $50,000 category is not fair.
Additionally, if the suggested reforms to the definition of catastrophic come in, many accident victims who suffer from brain injuries, psychiatric injuries and spinal cord injuries may be falsely relegated to the wrong category and be denied catastrophic status.
Aaron Waxman and his team of lawyers practice personal injury law, focusing on serious catastrophic cases, automobile claims and disability claims, serving the GTA and Toronto. They also handle claims across Ontario.
* This blog is for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute legal advice. Please read our disclaimer for further information.
* All of our lawyers are licensed by The Law Society of Upper Canada
* Office in Toronto and able to represent people in the province of Ontario