The Ontario government’s Bill 15, Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates, 2014 became law on November 20, 2014.
As the title suggests the bill is an attempt to reduce automobile insurance rates by reducing the business costs of insurance companies. Whether lower costs for insurance companies will actually result in lower rates for drivers is to be seen. In the meantime there are troubling implications for motor vehicle accident victims.
The Bill enacted several important changes:
- Arbitrations, formerly conducted through the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) will now be conducted instead by the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT). The LAT is a small tribunal that historically has not handled matters as complex or of such volume as statutory accident benefits claims. There is already an arbitration backlog at the FSCO. The effect of this change will result in more delays for injured persons looking to resolve their claims.
- There will be a prohibition on the right to sue in the Superior Court of Justice for accident benefits disputes. Instead, appeals from the LAT will go directly to the Divisional Court. This impairs the rights of accident victims and was widely opposed by many professional industry organizations including the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association.
- The prejudgement interest rate on claims for pain and suffering is reduced in personal injury actions from 5% to 1.3%. The effect of this is to reduce the compensation awarded to the small pool of victims suffering injuries so catastrophic as to be entitled to pain and suffering awards in the first place.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to assess your case and help to secure maximum compensation. You can trust Tony Lafazanis to fairly and knowledgeably handle your case with care.