On June 1, 2016, the Ontario Automobile Insurance Scheme will come into effect.
The new Ontario Auto Insurance Legislation, which is being promoted by the Ontario Government to reduce your premiums, will drastically reduce the “no fault benefits” that you currently have. “No fault benefits” are benefits paid by your own insurer in the event that you are injured in a motor vehicle accident. This can adversely affect you, not only by your loss of the medical and rehabilitation benefits and attendant care that you may require for yourself and your family, but also by exposing you to increased claims from any person whom you might injure in an accident. The injured person will now be able to look to you under your liability coverage to cover the cost of treatment that will no longer be covered under the injured persons “no fault benefits.”
Your own liability coverage may not be enough to cover these expenses along with any potential claim the injured party may have for loss of income (both past and future), pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. If these claims exceed your liability limits, the injured party can seek a judgement and go after your personal assets including your house.
You can purchase increased “no fault benefits” for yourself and your family to replace some of the benefits taken away and you can, and should, increase your liability limits. It is imperative that you speak with your Insurance Broker or Agent prior to your renewal. These new changes in coverage come into effect on your renewal date.
In addition to these changes on April 1, 2016, the process for challenging the denial of benefits by an insurer has changed. If you require treatment, and the insurer denies that treatment, it is no longer possible to go to the Financial Services Commission (FSCO) and apply for mediation. Before these changes, if mediation failed, you had the choice to go to either Arbitration (through FSCO) or take the matter to Court. As of April 1, 2016, you must go to the Licensing and Appeal Tribunal. Similarly, prior to April 1, 2016, through FSCO there was no filing fee and there was an allowance for costs (if you won). This has also changed and you must now pay a $100 filing fee and, if you win, the cost of taking this to the tribunal is not recoverable.
If you are involved in an car accident you MUST know your rights, what benefits you are entitled to and how to access them. Please feel free to contact me, or any member of our Personal Injury Group, with any questions concerning the above noted changes in coverage and benefits and any concerns you may have as to what you are entitled to under your automobile policy.
Donna Robinson CIP
Personal Injury and Litigation Group
Disclaimer: This article is provided as an information resource and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified legal professional and should not be relied upon to make decisions. In all cases, contact your legal professional for advice on any matter referenced in this document before making decisions. Any use of this document does not constitute a lawyer-client relationship