A government amendment to the Statutory Accidents Benefits Schedule (SABS) came into effect on February 1, 2014. The amendment, titled as OR 347/13, made three amendments to the previous version of the regulations. The overall effect of the changes was to make it more difficult for injured plaintiffs to receive compensation in certain circumstances.
The first change was to limit the availability of an exemption in the SABS for injured persons with pre-existing medical conditions from a statutory limit for medical and rehabilitation expenses. Whereas injured persons were previously required to have a health practitioner provide compelling evidence of their pre-existing condition, they are now required to show documentation by a health practitioner of the pre-existing condition.
The second change in the amendment was regarding the benefits payable to attendant care providers. Under the new rules, the maximum benefit payable to care providers is limited to the economic loss of the person providing attendant care.
The effect of this provision is to reduce the benefits payable to care providers whom were otherwise unemployed or underemployed. It may also discourage, in certain circumstances, the use of family members in providing attendant care services, in favour of professionals.
The third and final change denies injured persons the option, provided under the previous regulation, to subsequently change their initial weekly benefits selection. One effect of this provision is to prevent catastrophically impaired persons from receiving a benefit they, for one reason or another, initially declined but subsequently developed a need for.
Considered together, the new rules are limiting in nature and largely adversarial to the interests of injured persons. It is more important than ever that those injured in motor vehicle accidents consult with a lawyer immediately after having been injured in order to get an independent assessment of their rights and privileges, and direction on the right path forward. An experienced lawyer can help potential claimants navigate the intricate, and changing, legal landscape to ensure injured persons receive the maximum compensation they are entitled to.