In June 2016, the Province of Ontario significantly reduced the automobile insurance benefits available to accident victims. Despite a massive outcry from car accident lawyers and victims’ rights advocates, 58 per cent of consumers were unaware of the changes, according to a survey of 1,000 Ontarians conducted on behalf of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO). Of the roughly 40 per cent of consumers who did know about the changes, under 20 per cent could describe what they entailed.
Under the old benefits schedule, non-catastrophic injury victims were eligible to receive up to $50,000 in medical and rehabilitation (med-rehab) benefits and $36,000 in attendant care benefits. Today, non-catastrophic injury victims can receive up to $65,000 for med-rehab and attendant care benefits, combined.
The situation for catastrophic injury victims is even more dire. Under the old system they were eligible to receive $1-million in med-rehab benefits and $1-million in attendant care. Today, they may receive a maximum of $1-milllion for medical, rehabilitation, and attendant care, combined.
These are substantial changes that, as car accident lawyers know, can seriously hinder the success of accident victims’ recoveries. Non-catastrophic coverage was essentially cut by $20,000, while catastrophic coverage was cut by $1-million.
However, by purchasing “optional benefits,” drivers today can access equal or greater accident benefits coverage than prior to June 2016. According to the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) Blog, customers can purchase $130,000 of coverage for non-catastrophic med-rehab and attendant care; a combined $1-million of coverage for all injuries; or a combined $3-million for catastrophic injuries, all for a small added investment.
Unfortunately, many Ontarians have not been informed that they are able to purchase optional benefits, just as many customers were unaware of the June 2016 changes to the auto insurance system. In a separate OTLA Blog post, the author insists that following the 2016 benefits cuts, “optional benefits are now a necessity if you drive a car in Ontario.”
“Because accident benefits coverage was slashed by the government in 2016,” the author writes, “the coverage now found in most Ontario auto insurance policies is inadequate and can leave an injured victim without the funds necessary for their recovery.”
If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident, contact the car accident lawyers at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced, dedicated team will fight to ensure that you receive the full accident benefits to which you are entitled.
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