Latest revisions to auto insurance system in Ontario seen as meaning less for more people who are injured.
Few people expect to walk away from a car crash unscathed. But when it comes to the most severe financial and medical impacts, most assume their automobile insurance will cushion the blows.
For Ontario drivers, that protection is becoming less certain, the province’s trial lawyers are cautioning.
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Personal injury lawyer Wendy Moore Mandel, a personal injury lawyer with Thomson Rogers in Toronto, echoes those concerns.
Over the last 20 years, catastrophically impaired accident victims have seen inflation and rising healthcare costs erode the value of the $2 million benefit. With this cut, she says it’s clear that the limited benefits won’t cover the needs of injured people.
“The current cost of a prosthetic leg for someone with an amputation above the knee can range from $75,000 to $125,000, with replacement required about every five years,” she says. “Specialty legs for running or swimming are an additional expense. Alone, the lifetime costs fro a prosthetic limb of a 35-year-old accident victim will exceed the new $1 million limit.”
She’s also worried that changes to the definition of catastrophic impairment will make it more difficult and time consuming for people to qualify for benefits.
“It means that the most horribly injured people can’t get treatment quickly after an accident and healthcare people will tell you that there’s a real window of opportunity . . . you get in early and that’s how you recover best,” she says.
Individuals suffering serious but non-catastrophic injuries such as fractures or brain injuries will also see a drop in benefits, for the second time this decade. They now have access to $65,000 for combined medical, rehabilitative and attendant care expenses, down from $86,000. Those benefits were cut from $172,000 about six years ago, leaving people with access to about 65 percent less money than they had before 2010, says Moore Mandel.
Read FULL article by Kim Arnott as it appeared in The Lawyers Weekly Recovery Personal Injury Magazine, Vol.3 No.2, 2016: Enough For the Journey Ahead?