As a personal injury lawyer, I have learned that most people do not know what benefits are available to them following a Toronto or Ontario motor vehicle accident. Most of my clients are surprised to learn that the insurance benefits available from their own auto insurance policy were slashed in September 2010, when the Ontario government amended statutory accident benefits. One of the most significant changes to accident benefits was the reduction in the medical and rehabilitation benefits available under your auto insurance policy for injuries sustained in a Ontario motor vehicle accident. In short, prior to September 2010, the medical and rehabilitation benefits were capped at $100,000 for treatments not covered by OHIP (with the exception of catastrophic claims). This was cut in half, and the limit is now $50,000. Nonetheless, very few accident victims in Ontario have access to the $50,000 limit. In fact, the vast majority of Ontario residents injured in a car or motorcycle accident after September of 2010 have only had access to $3,500 available for their medical and rehabilitation costs. This limit of $3,500 was introduced for injuries deemed to be predominantly minor injuries, also known as the Minor Injury Guideline or MIG.
While the term "Minor Injury Guideline" suggests that the $3,500 cap is limited to minor injuries, this is not the case at all. The definition of a minor injury is so broad that the insurance companies often take the view that it encompasses any and all soft tissue. The problem with this position should be readily apparent to anyone that has even a rudimentary understanding of the human anatomy. Other than bones and skeletal structure, the human body is comprised almost entirely of soft tissue. Many soft tissue injuries to tendons, ligaments and muscles can actually take much longer to heal than fractures to bones. What is more, a fracture to a bone is exactly the type of injury that is covered by OHIP and treated by orthopaedic surgeons and other physicians. Soft tissue injuries on the other hand, often require physiotherapy, massage, or chiropractic treatment, all of which is not covered by OHIP. So, shouldn't it be these soft tissue injuries that are more expensive for the injured accident victim? I thought that the reason why people need auto insurance in the fist place is to cover the unexpected expenses in the event of an accident or injury.
There have been recent decisions that are helping to restore some rights to accident victims in Ontario. Our law firm has also had success in persuading insurance companies to provide treatment beyond the Minor Injury Guideline in cases involving soft tissue injuries.
Iacobelli Law Firm is a personal injury law firm that represents those injured in car accident throughout the province of Ontario. We have offices in Toronto and York Region and offer free consultations to car accident and personal injury victims. If you would like to learn more about your rights following a car accident, contact us to request a free consultation. We can be reached at your convenience 24 hours per day 7 days per week at 1-866-234-6093 or 416-900-1070, or you can complete our online contact form here.
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