Insurance changes will hurt most seriously injured

A coalition of groups has come out against a government proposal to lower insurance benefits for catastrophic injuries.

Significant reduction in benefits cap for catastrophic injuries

A set of proposed changes to auto insurance policies in Ontario will further restrict benefits for innocent car accident victims. The provincial government is proposing slashing in half the maximum benefits available to victims of catastrophic injuries. While supporters of the changes say they will help lower insurance costs, the reality is that they will ultimately do little more than increase profits for insurance companies while exacerbating the suffering of those most affected by serious car accidents. A coalition of groups and individuals was recently formed to oppose the changes.

Benefits slashed

The change, contained in the most recent Ontario budget, would combine certain services for catastrophic injuries, like rehabilitation and attendant care, into a single benefit. By combining those services, the benefit limit available to victims of catastrophic injuries would fall from the current $2 million limit to $1 million. A $2 million benefit limit would still be available to drivers, but it would be optional instead of mandatory. Most Ontario motorists are not adequately informed about the availability of optional benefits, with the result that almost no one purchases them.

Furthermore, instead of having 10 years to claim those benefits, victims would have just five years if the proposed changes are enacted. Medical and rehabilitation benefits will also be combined with attendant care benefits to form a new single benefit limited to $65,000, whereas the current limit totals over $80,000.

Victims suffer more

Proponents of the changes say they are needed in order to lower car insurance premiums in the province; however, the reality is that slashing benefits for the catastrophically injured only hurts people who have already endured immense physical, mental and psychological suffering. According to Brantford Expositor, for example, the $2 million limit is already considered inadequate for many families and victims to cover the astronomical costs associated with treating the most serious injuries. Long-term physiotherapy and institutional care, for example, can cost hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars, not to mention the further economic impact caused to a family when an accident victim is unable to return to work.

Limiting benefits is unlikely to save drivers money. The changes will do little more than help increase the profits for insurance companies. The changes could hurt pedestrians and cyclists who are struck by a driver who doesn't carry the optional benefits that would otherwise help cover the costs of their injuries.

Legal help

When an accident happens, victims should feel assured that they will have the financial resources they need in order to recover or otherwise adapt to their injuries. Unfortunately, as the above article shows, recovering from an accident poses not just physical challenges, but serious financial ones as well. People who have been injured in an auto accident should get in touch with a personal injury lawyer immediately. With legal help, victims will have somebody on their side fighting for their rights and future after a serious car accident.

Keywords: Insurance changes, seriously injured, catastrophic injuries, Benefits slashed, car accidents, provincial government, coalition, Ontario budget, Victims suffer, Brantford Expositor, insurance companies