Toronto, Ontario -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/19/2012 -- In the 2009 insurance reform package, Dwight Duncan stated that new legislative reforms would create benefits that were on par with the rest of Canada and bring insurance rates down.
Instead of getting the lower rates, Ontario residents are now getting less in benefit payouts. According to the CBC, insurance benefits have dropped by less than half of what they were before. Insurance companies are paying out less and increasing their profits exponentially.
An attorney from Ontario-based law firm Diamond & Diamond explains the situation from the perspective of a personal injury lawyer: “We have clients that are suffering. Consistently complaining that they are not getting benefits that they thought they were entitled too and lamenting that they ought to have voted differently in the last election.”
He worries that Duncan’s reforms have created ambiguous definitions in injury law that attempt to classify the majority of accident injuries as minor, thereby reducing victims’ benefits from what used to be $100,000 — plus housekeeping, care-giving and attendant care — to $3,500 for medical rehabilitation only.
“So how do you know if you have a ‘minor injury’? The answer is you do not. Some clients will heal quickly, but others are so vulnerable a seemingly simple injury will become overwhelming. It is extremely difficult to know how people will react later down the line,” the Diamond & Diamond representative warns.
Even though this legislation has been enacted, the personal injury bar is fighting to take on the definition. The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) has voiced concerns about the erosion of victims’ rights and has increased efforts to raise public awareness of the changes. However, the OTLA is battling a premier that seems reluctant to stand up to the major insurance companies.
This battle will become more serious as new regulations begin to affect even catastrophically-injured victims — including clients who are severely brain injured, have suffered severe mental trauma, or have become paraplegic. The definitions of catastrophic injury are going to be changed in an effort to limit insurance payouts, despite the fact that catastrophic injuries currently make up only 1% of injuries in Ontario, according to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario.
In addition to making it more difficult to get benefits for major injuries, victims will also be unable to combine psychological and physical injuries to determine catastrophic impairment. This is a huge disadvantage to the victim as often these injuries overlap and need to be considered in tandem.
“All of this shows you need competent representation in order to have your rights protected. You need a firm and a lawyer that has been around and can adapt quickly to these changes,” advises the Diamond & Diamond attorney.
About Diamond & Diamond
Diamond & Diamond is one of the top personal injury law firms in Ontario. The attorneys at Diamond & Diamond have over 30 years of experience in the area of personal injury law and strive to ensure that victims’ rights are protected.
For more information, please visit: http://www.diamond-law.com/