Over the past several months, the Ontario Provincial Government has been preparing for the upcoming drastic changes to auto insurance policies. As a motorist, you should start preparing as well. These changes affect how personal injuries resulting from auto accidents are going to be handled. It will also alter the way in which a personal injury lawyer Toronto and their team approach auto accident benefits claims.
The following are just some of the highlights of those auto insurance policy changes that will take effect on April 1st and again on June 1st, 2016:
As of 4/1/16, motorists will no longer be allowed to sue their insurers – currently, if you are denied accident benefits by your insurance carrier, you would file an Application for Mediation with the FSCO or Financial Services Commission of Ontario. If mediation is denied or fails, you have two choices. You can apply for an FSCO arbitration hearing or file a Civil Action lawsuit against your insurance company. With these changes, you can no longer pursue the latter option.
Catastrophic injury benefits reduced – for the past two decades, individuals who suffered catastrophic injuries in an auto accident were entitled to benefits of up to $2 million. As of June 1st, 2016, the maximum allowable benefit will be reduced 50%. It would appear that the Provincial Government is catering to the insurance companies.
FSCO mediations will be eliminated – changes in auto insurance legislation will wipe out over 25 years of history where the arbitrating and mediating of accident benefit claims is concerned. All disputes regarding benefits will now be handled by the LAT or License Appeals Tribunal. Basically, the LAT will become even more chaotic with the addition of accident benefits disputes as they are already handling many issues ranging from the Bailiffs Act to the Vintners Quality Alliance Act.
Reduced maximum accident benefits for catastrophic injury victims – as of June 1st, 2016, the maximum accident benefit for those individuals who suffer catastrophic injuries in vehicular accidents will be reduced $21,000 ($86,000 to $65,000). That’s a 24% reduction in accident benefits. Ironically, your auto insurance premiums haven’t been reduced that much, have they?
Shortened duration period for receiving accident benefits – on June 1st, 2016, the duration period for claiming and receiving auto insurance accident benefits will be cut in half from 10 years to 5. Additionally, the Non-Earner Benefit will only be paid for a maximum of 2 years. As it currently stands, recipients are paid over the course of their lifetime, making this one of the more drastic changes to be aware of.
Based on the above, it’s apparent that these changes will stimulate a greater need for some motorists to hire an experienced injury lawyer in Toronto in order to get the benefits they are deserving of should they suffer catastrophic injuries. Right from seeking medical treatment to fulfilling the legal requirements, it is equally important to look at all aspects.