Doug Ford’s recent budget focused on bringing auto insurance premiums down, but ignored the sleight of hand on the other end: for those who are injured and actually need help. What is missed is that our current laws punish the innocent and let the guilty off scott-free. While you might agree that the insurance industry needs deductibles, you may be surprised that the innocent are paying 100% of them, while the guilty pay $0.
Consider an example: Rude Randy is texting on his phone and blows through a red light, crashing into Sweet Susan at high speeds, causing fractures to Sweet Susan’s leg and damages. Who do you think that the Government’s laws protect? Wrong – the law protects Rude Randy.
If Sweet Susan goes through 1 year of hell and somewhat recovers - with no permanent, important and serious injury or scarring - then the guilty driver pays nothing while the innocent driver’s pain and suffering is simply not paid at all. Also, Sweet Susan would be on her own to pay any of her future health care costs down the road, with $0 paid by Rude Randy.
Some more examples of how the law would punish Susan, the innocent driver:
(i) Her first 7 days of income loss is a “deductible” that she pays on a 100% basis, while Rude Randy pays $0
(ii) 30% of Sweet Susan’s income loss up to trial (getting to trial can take 5 years) is another deductible paid by Sweet Susan, while Rude Randy pays $0
(iii) If Sweet Susan, for example, does have a permanent and serious injury, then: approximately $39,000 of her pain & suffering claim is a secret deductible applied after trial verdict (we can’t tell the jury about it) unless Sweet Susan gets more than a pre-determined amount (around $129,000) for pain and suffering alone. 100% of this deductible is paid by Sweet Susan – Rude Randy pays $0.
(iv) If Sweet Susan’s family incurred losses of care, guidance and companionship, they each have a secret deductible of more than $19,000 unless they each get over about $64,000. Rude Randy pays $0.
(v) Rude Randy’s legal expenses and full judgment/settlement to his policy limits are paid by his insurer with no deductibles – Sweet Susan has to hire her own lawyer and pay them.
The Province of Ontario’s laws have lost all sense of personal responsibility and common sense. We have reached the point where, not only would no rational person in the Province actually agree that this makes any sense, but my clients no longer even believe me that this is really the law. How could this possibly make any sense? – well it doesn’t make any sense at all, but that is the law that our government currently has on the books. It’s nuts, but there it is. Some of my clients also wonder whether changing the law to punish the guilty might cause people to be a bit more careful on the roads and reduce claims.
I have a client right now who was making $90,000 per year in construction before his car was smashed to pieces by a drunk driver. My client hasn’t been able to return to work - we are suing - but, because of the deductibles under Ontario law, 30% of his income loss up to trial is permanently unrecoverable (that’s $27,000 per year), over 5 years that is $135,000 that himself, his stay at home wife and his family have lost because of the idiot drunk driver. As I said above, the drunk driver pays $0 - the innocent pay all of the deductibles in Ontario, while the guilty pay nothing. My client is a salt of the earth community man who has worked hard his whole life (except when watching Leaf games) and did absolutely nothing to cause this. But the government of Ontario says that he should pay all of these crazy deductibles as the innocent party, while the drunk, at-fault, driver gets off scott-free.
Throw your common sense out the window, check your logic at the door, welcome to Ontario’s Punish the Innocent Insurance Laws.