Recently, the Ontario Government passed Bill 15 – Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates. Unfortunately, the Bill also further reduces the rights of accident victims.
The Bill eliminates the right of an insured person to bring a Court action against his/her Insurer for denying payment of a benefit. An accident victim is now forced to make an application for Arbitration through the License Appeal Tribunal. Prior to this change, the accident victim could choose to either apply for Arbitration, or bring a Court action.
Further, the Bill reduces the rate of pre-judgement interest paid to an accident victim for general damages, such as awards for pain and suffering. The interest rate paid on damages for pain and suffering prior to Bill 15 was 5% annually. The rate is now tied to inflation, which is currently 1.3% annually. This change will act as a deterrent for insurance companies to settle claims in a timely manner. Further, it will reduce the value of the claims of accident victims.
We question why these changes were necessary for reducing insurance rates. We question why accident victims should be responsible for insurance companies making more profits. As our New Year resolution, we pledge to continue our battle for maximum compensation for accident victims.