Ontario’s Highest Court Slaps Echelon General Insurance Company’s Hands

The Ontario Court of Appeal released a decision on October 18, 2011 which ought to serve as a warning to automobile insurers that unfairly deny necessary benefits to their injured clients. In McQueen v Echelon http://www.ontariocourts.on.ca/decisions/2011/2011ONCA0649.htm, the Court was asked to consider whether or not an award of damages for mental distress in the amount of $25,000.00 ought to be upheld. It is noted that the award for mental distress caused by the insurer actually exceeded the value of benefits that the insurer had refused to pay to its insured.

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Local Lawyer George Bonn’s Small Part in a Significant Case

In a recent exit interview conducted by the Globe and Mail, Justice Binnie of the Supreme Court of Canada was asked to talk about some of his favourite or most momentous cases, while sitting with Canada’s highest court.

Justice Binnie recalled the case of Whitten v. Pilot Insurance, a civil case about punitive damages. The case was in front of the Supreme Court on appeal by the plaintiffs, whose 1 million dollar punitive damages award by a jury at the Superior Court had been overturned by the Ontario Court of Appeal.

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When a Minor Injury is Not So Minor

Last year, on September 1, 2010, changes were imposed on Ontario’s no fault benefits regime that drastically reduced the benefits available to individuals involved in car collisions. The changes were largely a result of vigorous lobbying on behalf of the insurance companies. Perhaps the most devastating change had been the reduction of medical and rehabilitation benefits. Now, if an individual has sustained what the new legislation refers to as a “minor injury”, no more than $3,500.00 in medical and rehabilitation benefits is available.

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Do you have enough insurance?

On September 1, 2010, significant changes were made to the mandatory insurance coverage for every person who drives a car in Ontario. Every automobile insurance policy includes no-fault benefits to cover you if you are hurt as the result of a car accident. Before September 1, 2010, these no-fault benefits included:

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Insurer’s keep the first $30,000 of your damages!

In Ontario, if someone hurts you using a motor vehicle, the insurance company will get to keep $30,000 of your damages. As an innocent victim of a car accident who has suffered injuries, you have the right to sue the other driver who caused the accident. What you may not know is that your damages for your pain and suffering will almost certainly be reduced by $30,000. It is a little-known fact that there is a $30,000 deductible on pain and suffering damages for almost all motor vehicle accident victims.

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