Changes to Accident Benefits Since 2010
In Ontario, all motor vehicles must be insured. For most adults, driving is not an option…especially, for those living outside large urban centres without public transportation. Owning a car is becoming more and more financially difficult for people in Ontario. This is largely because of rising insurance premiums. Despite ever-rising premiums, coverage under car insurance policies continues to shrink. This article outlines some of the changes to accident benefits since 2010.
Were you injured in a car accident in Ontario? Most victims will get only $3500 to cover all of their rehabilitation costs such as physiotherapy, massage therapy, etc. Even those people with severe injuries, called catastrophic injuries, will get half the benefits they did prior to 2010. If you are seriously injured in a car accident, there is now a $38,000 deductible on your pain and suffering. Why?
Why should you be responsible for the first $38,000 of your own pain and suffering when a drunk or distracted driver hits you? Why all these changes to Accident benefits? Because the Ontario government is trying to keep money in the pockets of insurers. There have been 17 cuts to your insurance coverage under your auto policy since 2010. Each cut is intended to ensure insurers keep even more money. PERIOD!
So, your car insurance rates just increased. The insurance companies would have justified this to the Ontario government as a reason for the increase, right? No! Even though car insurance is mandatory in Ontario, the insurance companies do not have to provide audited financial statements to the government before entitlement to a rate increase or cut in the coverage. In fact, Dr. Lazar’s studies (Shulich School of Business – York University) show a $5 billion dollar overpayment of insurance premiums over the past 5 years.
What are the many reductions in your mandatory insurance coverage since 2010?
Some of the changes to accident benefits include:
- Medical, rehabilitation, and attendant care benefits for catastrophically injured people have been reduced from $2 million to $1 million.
- A more restrictive definition of catastrophic impairment, which served to reduce the number of people able to obtain catastrophic coverage.
- Elimination of housekeeping and home maintenance benefits.
- Elimination of care giving benefits for non-catastrophic injuries.
- A reduction of medical rehabilitation benefits from $100,000 to $3500 with the implementation of the minor injury guideline.
- No attendant care benefits beyond 2 years for non-catastrophic injuries.
- The requirement of income loss of the family caregiver, in order for that person to obtain attendant care benefits.
- The elimination of lifetime non-earner benefits of $185/week, now limited to $185/week for two years.
- The loss of the right of the injured person to sue his/her insurer when wrongly denied accident benefits.
The government of Ontario has also restricted the rights of victims when suing the negligent driver of a vehicle. The innocent victim now can only claim 70% of their income loss (down from 100%). This is between the date of the accident and the date of the trial. Pre-judgment interest for claims has been reduced from 5% to 1.3%. This is despite insurers earning well over 1.3% on their investments. Imagine how these changes encourage insurers to delay trials in order to keep this money in their coffers.
Get the compensation you deserve!
If you have been wrongly denied accident benefits or have suffered a collision, call Murray Ralston Lawyers. We will fight for your maximum rights.