A drunk driver is texting and goes through a red light and smashes into someone causing injury that is proven to be “serious and permanent”.
In this example, in most circumstances (unless the case is very large), the government has decided that the completely innocent person must lose the first $36,000 of their pain and suffering claim and the first 30% of their income loss claim to trial (but that is kept a secret from the jury hearing the case). If they have an injury that is serious but not permanent, or permanent but not what they consider serious, then the injured person gets $0 for pain and suffering – the law says that they lose everything (but that is also kept a secret from the jury hearing the case).
Contrast that against the drunk and texting driver – they don’t lose a single cent, they give up nothing and pay nothing in relation to the claim. They also don’t have to pay a single penny towards legal costs because their insurer picks that up.
How is it ethical for the driver who did so much wrong, who caused pain and hardship to an innocent person to be asked to give up nothing, while the injured person is expected to give up a huge amount or, in some cases, everything.
What our current system essentially does is it creates a massive “deductible”, but for some unknown and completely unjust reason, flips the deductible – asking the injured person to pay the deductible rather than asking that it be paid by the person who caused the damages. This makes little sense to the vast majority of Ontarians and offends the sensibilities and sense of fairness of most of our citizens when they hear it.
If a person chooses to drink and text while driving and ruins someone life, let them lose the deductible amount, not the innocent person. If the guilty party wishes to purchase additional insurance against the possibility of the deductible, then they can do that – but it is unethical and unjust to simply foist that loss on the person who did nothing wrong.
Under the current system, it is a little known fact that people can purchase additional car insurance to protect themselves against the deductible if they are injured. However, that certainly doesn’t protect the pedestrian, the cyclist and certain passengers in vehicles who do not purchase car insurance in the normal course. Further, the concept that the negligent driver should be protected where no insurance against the deductible exists, but the innocent person should not, is outrageous.
We have a system that does not accord with our sensibilities and the sense of what is right and what is wrong in this province. Our system is flipped on its head, it is unethical and the consequences can be devastating.
Until the system is changed, we will continue to fight for the best result that a very bad system allows. However, perhaps someone somewhere is listening and thinking about what is really fair to the people of this Province.