“When you go to Uber they don’t mention that. You don’t sign anything,” says Zisckind.

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Ontario 2015 provincial budget has serious repercussions for auto accident victims

Hamilton Spectator

Recent revisions to the new Ontario provincial budget mean significant changes to benefits for “catastrophic impairment” motor vehicle accident victims. Gerald A. Swaye & Associates Barristers and Solicitors, personal injury specialists in Hamilton, Ontario, explain the key points of these changes and the consequences to accident victims.

The new provincial budget was announced on April 23, 2015. Seriously injured motor vehicle accident victims now face serious negative repercussions concerning benefits. Previously, when the Ontario provincial government contemplated making changes to automobile insurance legislation, extensive discussion with stakeholders was a standard protocol — but not so with the April 23rd budget. The announcement concerning these changes came unexpectedly. Prior to that budget, benefits to the most seriously injured victims, who meet the definition of “catastrophically impaired,” were considered sacrosanct. The April budget slashed those benefits, while also further reducing benefits to victims who do not meet the test.

Five major changes have been announced. Each of the revisions reduces the available funding for accident victims. Additionally, the changes put additional pressure on the public health care system while diminishing the chances of catastrophic impaired accident victims regaining their independence. The changes include:

•    Maximum benefits for the catastrophically impaired will now be reduced from $2 million to $1 million. The $2 million maximum — which would cover $1 million in medical and rehabilitation benefits plus $1 million in attendant care benefits — has been in place for about 20 years. In addition, further accounting for inflation indexing makes the cuts tantamount to drastic for most seriously impaired accident victims. Only a very small percentage of accident victims are classified as catastrophic, requiring the highest levels of benefits.

•    A newly revised definition of “catastrophic impairment” will now apply only to those who have the most devastating injuries. The new definition constricts the meaning of the classification. As a result, a definition that had been previously clearer and more easily understood, and that used the Glasgow Coma Scale test (a common scoring system used to evaluate the effects of traumatic brain injury), now makes understanding who qualifies as catastrophic impairment less clear.

•    Tort deductibles are being indexed to the inflation levels of 2003. What this means is that an accident victim with a pain-and-suffering claim will face an increased deductible of approximately $37,000 on an award entitlement as opposed to $30,000. Only if the award for pain and suffering is evaluated as being greater than the inflated deductible might this not apply. Yet benefits that favour claimants, such as an income replacement benefit, are not indexed and remain at the same low rate.

•    Maximum benefits for non-catastrophic impairment claims are reduced. Before the announcement, the maximum for medical and rehabilitation coverage and attendant care benefits was $86,000, which is now being reduced to $65,000. (The amounts are totals that combine medical and rehabilitation benefits and attendant-care benefits.) Furthermore, the period for accessing these benefits changes from 10 years to five years (excluding cases concerning children).

•    Duration of eligibility for non-earner benefits is reduced from life to a maximum of two years (not including the current six-month waiting period). This will have a major impact on those who previously qualified for higher weekly benefits after two years. Students and teens, for example, who will never work again because of their injuries will have no right to the weekly benefit.

Clearly, the changes will have a devastating impact on accident victims in the stated categories. The new provincial budget provides more reasons why anyone who has experienced pain and suffering due to a motor vehicle accident should seek out legal expertise to benefit from the maximum possible compensation.

Gerald A. Swaye & Associates are personal injury specialists. Practice areas include catastrophic injuries and disability claims in addition to expertise in an extensive number of areas of personal injury law.

Barrie-Based Cornerstone Insurance Brokers Offering Auto Insurance Programs for Associations

Woodbridge, Canada, August 16, 2015 –(PR.com)– The company’s team not only designs insurance programs for associations but also helps the association to market the program, build the program’s revenue and create long-term program plans to help maintain success over the long-term. It’s the comprehensive insurance program design service for the community-focused organization.

For associations such as community groups, it’s important to continually bring in new members and to protect the long-term needs of those who currently hold memberships. Insurance programs provide the ideal foundation to this process, and can be harnessed to attract new members to the group through lucrative savings opportunities while protecting members with comprehensive coverage plans. The auto insurance specialists at Barrie-based Cornerstone Insurance Brokers are leaders in this field, and they’re now inviting associations across the region to review their auto insurance programs.

The team at Cornerstone Insurance Brokers can help create dedicated programs for their members. They currently act as the endorsed provider to a number of Ontario’s leading associations and they’re now offering their services to groups across the region. The company’s competitive products work to create value within membership of the association. They also work with companies to market their auto insurance program to outside groups, thereby increasing the income of the association. And one of the leading benefits of Cornerstone Insurance Brokers’ programs is that the association can have their brand name associated with the program, create a unique branding opportunity that will elevate the association’s standing in the marketplace.

The Cornerstone Insurance Brokers programs also include business planning and strategic elements. Their experts work with clients to continually improve their programs, and to report on the current performance of the program each quarter. It’s a trusted service for associations looking to expand their membership base and achieve low cost auto insurance coverage for their members.

To learn more on the auto insurance programs offered through Cornerstone Insurance Brokers, please contact their office team at 1-888-768-8001 or visit their business website at www.csib.org

Cornerstone Insurance Brokers Ltd
Nikolai Williams


I was suspended for blowing .05 – will my insurance rates go up?

If you had your licence suspended for blowing over .05, the province won’t rat you out to your insurer. But your driver’s abstract might.

In Ontario, the roadside suspension starts at three days the first time you’re caught with a BAC in the warning range. It’s an administrative penalty — so you can get one even if you haven’t been charged with anything.

Will it cost you more?

Insurance companies don’t routinely look at your driver’s abstract unless you’re a new customer. But, if your insurer does find out about your suspension, can they boost your rates?

As it turns out, there’s not an easy answer. We checked first with the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), which regulates insurance. It told us to check with insurance companies.

State Farm Canada said insurance companies can raise rates based on anything that appears on a driver’s abstract.

“An administrative suspension would appear on your driving record and some insurers may look at that when determining your rate, or that of someone listed on your policy living in the same residence” said State Farm spokesman John Bordignon in an e-mail. “Each insurance company has a different way of underwriting, reviewing and determining risk so it’s best to check with your provider for clarity.”

But Aviva Canada spokesman Glenn Cooper said insurance companies aren’t allowed to use administrative suspensions of less than a year to raise rates.

So which is it? We checked back with the FSCO. Your insurer can hike your rates if it can show that a roadside suspension means you’re a risk.

READ MORE HERE: I was suspended for blowing .05 – will my insurance rates go up?

Vehicle insurance claims soon to be simplified

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