Tort Rights Eroded for Victims of Auto Accidents

Drunk, distracted and dangerous drivers – sit back and relax. Why?

Because you don’t have to fully pay for your mistakes. The insurance companies that hire lawyers for you and defend you in court have spent millions of our premium dollars lobbying the government of Ontario to take away the rights of the people you injure when you are driving. Because of these efforts, the people you injure are not entitled to receive full compensation for their losses.

How did that happen?

These same insurance companies have convinced the Ontario government that full compensation for car accident victims costs too much. They promised to lower premiums and make liability insurance more affordable if the government passed laws to take away certain rights of innocent car accident victims.

What rights were taken away?

Oh boy, where do we begin? For starters, innocent accident victims can’t claim damages for pain and suffering or medical and rehabilitation expenses unless they can prove that they have sustained a Threshold injury. To prove a Threshold injury, they must prove that they have a “permanent, serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function.” This means they have to prove in court that:

  • For the rest of their life, their injuries are going to substantially stop them from doing their job. They’re only totally disabled for a few years? They only have to work every day in constant pain? They only have to give up promotions or other job opportunities? Sorry, that’s not good enough. Or,
  • For the rest of their life, they will be unable to do most of their usual daily activities. They only have to give up half of their usual activities? They only can’t play with their kids or grandkids any longer? They only can’t continue with their volunteer work, their daily exercise, or do their housework? Sorry, that’s not good enough either.

But it doesn’t end here. Even if they can prove a Threshold injury they still can’t recover any money for pain and suffering unless they can prove that their damages are at least $37,983.33. Anything awarded below that amount and they get nothing. It’s called the Deductible. And this $37,983.33 Deductible increases every year.

And then there is lost income. They don’t get a penny for the first week that they are off work and if they are unable to ever work again, they can only recover 70% of their lost income up to the date of their trial, which could be 3 to 5 years worth of lost income, if not longer.

And remember that these restrictions are only for the people of Ontario. No other province has taken away more rights from car accidents victims over the last decade.

And the restrictions just keep coming. Recently, the Ontario government passed a law that lowered the interest rate a car accident victim can claim on unpaid pain and suffering damages, assuming that they can get over the Threshold and beyond the Deductible. And what does mean?

It means that an insurance company can hold onto this settlement money and make even more profit by investing in the market. Why would an insurance company ever want to settle your claim?

So, car liability insurance is more affordable now, right?

No, not really. Premiums continue to go up. The profits made by these insurance companies continue to go up too. The only thing that has gone down over time is the money paid out to car accident victims.

That’s not really fair, is it?

No, it’s not. Liability premiums and insurance company profits continue to go up. And car accident victims in the province of Ontario get less and less, through no fault of their own.

So who ends up paying for the mistakes of the drunk, distracted and dangerous driver?

The car accident victim ends up paying the biggest price. And this is the one person who can’t afford it.

What can I do?

You can ask your candidate what they intend to do about the rights of car accident victims. Don’t ask them to stand with the legal community or with the insurance industry. Ask them to stand up for car accident victims and premium paying public. You deserve better.