If you have been injured as a result of a car accident in Toronto or the GTA, the insurance companies will stop at nothing in their efforts to delay, deny or reduce your claim. Even though your automobile insurance contract is already heavily skewed in favour of the insurance company, that is not enough for them. The insurance company wants to pay out as little as possible for your claim. At some point during your claim, it is likely that your own automobile insurance company contest your entitlement to benefits. This generally does not happen right at the outset of a claim - insurance companies are too smart for that. The insurance company wants to gain your trust and confidence - they do not want you to get the advice of a car accident lawyer or personal injury lawyer. In our experience, it seems that most often, the insurance company will be very cooperative at the beginning of your claim. They may even send an adjuster out to see you at your home or hospital to collect a statement and obtain your signature on a number of forms. All the while, the insurance company will be collecting information about you, your history, background, and medical records. They will scour your records in search of opportunities to deny claims. If they are unable to obtain support from your treatment records and treating doctors, the insurance company will select its own doctors to review your file. They can also have you assessed by a doctor of their choice, all with the objective of justifying a denial of your claim. As such, it should come as no surprise that the insurance company will also hire someone to lurk in the shadows and spy on you. The insurance company will not tell you about these spy efforts and they will not need to obtain your consent - but they will spy for days on end, and follow you around in search of something that they can use to deny your claim. Most of the time, the insurance company comes up short in this effort - finding out simply that their insured is behaving entirely consistent with the reported injuries. Because that information does not help the insurance company, it is likely that they will not even record the activity. They certainly will not provide it to you, nor will they even tell you about the spy activities they have undertaken.
If you or loved one has been injured in a car accident in Ontario, consult a lawyer experienced in car accident claims. Call me for a Free Consultation, There is no obligation and the consultation is completely confidential.
In Ontario, the vast majority of personal injury and car accident cases settle without the necessity of having a trial. When a personal injury case does proceed to trial, most victims want their case decided by a jury rather than a judge alone. The right to a jury trial is very important because it allows the parties in a dispute to have their disputes settled and resolved by ordinary people in the community. While our judges are also fair and reasonable, for an injured victim there is generally greater peace of mind that a just and fair result has been achieved when the verdict is passed down by a group of their fellow citizens comprised of laypeople.
Unfortunately, in Ontario jury trials arising out of motor vehicle accident injuries, the people selected to decide the case (i.e. the jury) are not provided with all of the information. The Information that is withheld from the jury is, for the most part, for the benefit of large insurance companies. Settlements and verdicts in personal injury claims are almost always paid by insurance companies. Nonetheless, the insurance company seeks to remain invisible to the jury, and create the illusion that the individual defendant will also be a victim if the jury awards the injured person with full compensation.
Here are some of the top things that a jury is not allowed to know in the context of a Ontario car accident jury trial:
1. Insurance. The jury is never told that the defendant has insurance to pay for the claim. This is despite the fact that, in Ontario, automobile insurance is mandatory. Many, if not most, auto insurance policies provide for $1 million in liability coverage. Furthermore, it is the insurance company that hires and pays for the defense lawyer, litigation expenses, surveillance, expert reports, etc. It is the insurance company that decides whether or not to pay a claim or force a trial. Nonetheless, the insurance company defense strategy will include having the individual defendant paraded into the courtroom to sit there looking scared and worried about the outcome of the case. They do this so that the jury will believe that the individual defendant is also, in some way, a victim that has been dragged through a trial and litigation process. There is nothing further from the truth. The fact is, the individual defendant has had virtually no involvement in the case whatsoever. It is controlled and managed by the insurance company, their adjuster, and their defense lawyers. The insurance companies have in-house lawyers, and law firms that they routinely use to defend car accident cases. Nonetheless, insurance companies and their defense lawyers routinely try to mislead juries and make them think that the defendant has no insurance. The jury will never hear any mention of the defendant's insurance or the policy limits available.
2. The threshold. This is something that most people in Ontario have never even heard about. Thanks to the insurance industry lobby, victims that have been injured in car accidents are unable to obtain compensation for future medical expenses and pain and suffering unless, and only if, they are able to convince the judge that their injuries are serious and permanent. In a recent trial, a jury fairly and reasonably awarded a 66-year-old victim $75,000 for her pain and suffering. Nonetheless, after the jury verdict was rendered and the members of the jury were discharged, the judge made his own finding that the injuries were not serious and permanent. On that basis, the judge wiped out/erased the entire award for pain and suffering and for future medical. The jury was never told about the threshold and they had no direct input whatsoever on making any finding or recommendation on whether they believed that the victim in fact sustained a permanent and serious impairment. Nonetheless, even the judge acknowledged that the award of $75,000 must have meant that the jury believed that the victim's injuries were permanent and serious. At the end of the day, however, the jury finding was ignored by the judge.
The threshold, like so many other rules in car accident injury cases, exists for the sole purpose of protecting the profits of large insurance companies at the expense of victims. The insurance companies propagate the misconception that people bring frivolous claims in an effort to defraud insurance companies and drive up our premiums. That is such a crock. It's not the victims that are afraid to share all of the facts with the jury and let them decide the merits of a claim. The victim in a personal injury case is forced to divulge personal information about their lives, and medical history and treatment to a jury six strangers. The victim is subjected to surveillance and invasive medical examinations on behalf of the insurance company. The jury is made up of ordinary people and, one would expect that the six people could fairly decide whether a person deserves compensation or not. I certainly believe in the jury system, and feel that the jury can find the truth. I don't think that there is a lawyer in Ontario that would have the guts to bring a frivolous case in front of a jury. Let's get real, it's expensive to have a trial, pay for doctors and accountants to attend at trial to testify, etc. A lawyer that takes a case to trial has to absolutely believe in the merits of his case and client. But here's another point, the threshold only exists in car accident cases where the money on the line belongs to some massive insurance company. If you or I were in a dispute over money and brought our case the court, we wouldn't have the benefit of anything like the threshold - no one in is looking to protect your hard earned money.
3. The deductible. Here again the big insurance lobby has successfully managed to get a law that allows them to to save money at the expense of the victim. In short, the insurance company gets to deduct $30,000 from the pain and suffering awarded by the jury. Again, the jury is not allowed to hear or learn anything about the existence of this deductible. How can this be just and fair? At the end of the trial, the jury will be asked to decide how much the victim should be awarded for her pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. The jury will be left with the impression that the value they decide upon will actually be awarded to the victim. In reality, after the jury is discharged and sent home, the judge will apply the $30,000 deductible and enter a judgment accordingly. As such, where a victim is awarded $75,000 by the jury, the actual judgment will be reduced to $45,000. The jury is not allowed to know this because, obviously, the jury would likely increase the award in order to be fair to the victim at the expense of the insurance company.
As you can see, the rules that apply in car accident injury cases are heavily skewed in favor of protecting insurance companies and their profits.
Insurance company denied life insurance claim?Many people purchase life insurance policies to provide security and support for loved ones. Unlike most insurance policies, with life insurance the insurance company may perform underwriting when the claim is made rather than at the time of issuing the policy. As such, even though the life insurance policy may have been issued and all premiums paid, the life insurance company may perform a thorough review of the application forms and medical records of the deceased. Often, the insurance company will unjustifiably delay or deny paying life insurance proceeds.
Let an experienced Ontario life insurance lawyer review the life insurance policy and provide you with an opinion about your rights. There are deadlines in insurance law and, as such, the wait-and-see approach can be detrimental to your rights. If an insurance company is leading you on, delaying or denying your insurance claim, contact Iacobelli Law Firm for a FREE CONSULTATION.
According to early information released by police, a Nissan Pathfinder and Nissan Maxima collided at the intersection. The second car then hit the 25-year-old woman, who had been in the southeast area of the intersection. The woman was transported to hospital with life-threatening injuries. Following the pedestrian collision, the driver of the Pathfinder fled the scene on foot, making this a hit and run accident. Anyone with information is asked to contact Toronto Police.
First and foremost, we sincerely hope that the young woman injured in this Toronto pedestrian accident will make a complete recovery from her injuries.
This has been a particularly tragic week for pedestrians in Toronto and the GTA. Unfortunately, when pedestrians are struck by cars and trucks, the outcomes are often catastrophic. Pedestrians and their family members do have rights to claim some of their losses following an accident. While the insurance claims process is probably the last thing anyone wants to think about following a serious accident, it is something that must be considered. Unfortunately, our auto insurance laws are complex and have time limits. Failing to act promptly can have significant consequences on your rights. After a serious accident, it is important to have a lawyer working with you to protect your rights and ability to access benefits and make claims for your losses.