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Many Ontarians are unaware that, when you have car accident in Ontario, there is no automatic right to sue the person who caused the accident. In order to be able to sue, the person who is injured in a car accident needs to be able to prove that they have a serious and a permanent impairment to an important bodily function. If they are seeking general damages or compensation for pain and suffering, they also have to be entitled to an award of damages that is greater than the deductible.
The deductible, which had been $30,000.00 was changed in 2015 to increase every year with inflation. As of 2018, the deductible sits at just below $38,000.00 and now increases each year with inflation until a settlement is reached or the matter is heard by the Court.
So what does this mean for you if you are injured in a car accident?
The deductible is essentially a sum of money that the insurance company for the person who caused the accident does not have to pay to the injured party. So, as the injured person, it is important for you to realize that any pain and suffering award will be reduced by more each year that the case goes on.
The fact that the deductible increases every year means that insurance companies are opting more often to delay settling so that the deductible is higher at the time of settlement. If the file takes long enough the deductible could eventually wipe out the pain and suffering award of damages.
Many more insurance companies are requesting that car accident cases be tried by a jury. Lawyers are not allowed to tell juries about the deductible and yet they are asked to make the decision about how much damages an injured person should receive. They make this decision without knowing that the injured party is not entitled to receive the whole amount of the award.
Even without the issue of the deductible jury awards are generally lower than what a Judge might award the same Plaintiff. So injured parties are receiving less for their pain and suffering than ever before.
For more information on the above information or should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly.
Associate with the Personal Injury and Litigation Group
Disclaimer: This article is provided as an information resource. This article should not be relied upon to make decisions and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified legal professional. 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. Please note that this information is current only to the date of posting. The law is constantly changing and always evolving.