Many of you are unaware that there is a statutory deductible imposed on non-pecuniary general (pain and suffering) damages below a certain monetary threshold. Prior to August 2015, the defendant insurance company was entitled to deduct $30,000 from an award for pain and suffering under $100,000 (Family Law Act (FLA) claimants faced a $50,000 threshold with a $15,000 deductible). This meant that a plaintiff would receive no compensation despite a jury award of $30,000 or less at trial. This obviously unfair practice was designed to discourage lawsuits in what were perceived as less serious cases. The “no-fault” accident benefit system was presented as a reasonable exchange for this loss.
After August 2015, amendments to the Insurance Act were introduced that made it even more difficult for plaintiffs. The amendments raised both the threshold and the deductible amounts, and tied them to inflation s that they would continue to increase annually. The first threshold increase was from $100,000 to $121,799. The first deductible increase was from $30,000 to $36,540. Proportional increases were imposed on FLA claims.
The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) oversees the insurance industry. It recently released the 2019 threshold and deductible amounts with a 2.2% increase:
The threshold under which the deductible applies has increased from $126,610.07 (2018) to $129,395.49 for pain and suffering damages ($63,304.51 to $64,697.21 for FLA claims).
The new deductible amount has increased from $37,983.33 (2018) to $38,818.97 ($18,991.67 to $19,409.49 for FLA claims).
Alarmingly, while the statutory threshold and deductible continue to deprive deserving accident victims of compensation, we have not received correspondingly more generous accident benefits in exchange. In fact, these no-fault benefits have been consistently eod ed since they were introduced, and recently have been drastically reduced.
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident and have questions concerning these issues or about your claim generally, please contact us for a free consultation. At Campisi LLP, we practice, “Clients First, Excellence Always”. Put us to work for you.