As part one of this article discussed, if motor vehicle accident victims file lawsuits against at-fault drivers in Ontario and are awarded pain and suffering or general damages, the awards are subject to a deductible amount of $30,000 pursuant to the Ontario Insurance Act. However, if the general damages awards are over $100,000, the deductible does not apply.
The deductible for general damages was introduced in 1996. The legislature’s intent was to reduce litigation of minor claims, and the deductible was $15,000. Then in 2003, Bill 198 was introduced, and the deductible for pain and suffering damages increased to $30,000 from $15,000.
Tort deductibles have been heavily criticized because they are cost-prohibitive and often prevent people injured in auto accidents from filing valid legal claims. If someone has a $30,000 or even $40,000 claim, the deductible is a disincentive for injured victims to make claims because $30,000 will be deducted in the end.
Therefore, if an injured car accident victim files a tort claim against the at-fault driver and his pain and suffering is valued at $90,000, he will only receive $60,000 after the deductible is applied. If an injured victim is awarded $30,000 for pain and suffering, he is left with $0. However, if his pain and suffering is over $100,000, the deductible does not apply.
It is important to note that even if the injured victim is awarded exactly $100,000 for pain and suffering, $30,000 will be deducted. This was what happened in a 2009 Ontario car accident case, Winckle v. Siodlowski.
In Winckle, the victim was in a motor vehicle accident. The jury awarded non-pecuniary general damages of $100,000. The court found that the language of the Insurance Act regarding the pain and suffering deductible applied to damage awards of $100,000 or less. Therefore, the victim’s damages award was reduced to $70,000.
As indicated in the first part of this article, pain and suffering is different for everyone. In order to obtain maximum financial compensation for general damages, especially in light of the statutory deductible, it is important to adequately prepare and present evidence of pain and suffering. Injured victims want to make sure that they present all aspects of their pain and suffering, i.e., how the auto accident injuries impact their lives at home, work, etc.
Therefore, it is important for car and truck accident victims to seek the help of experienced, knowledgeable Ontario auto accident lawyers to represent them in their tort claims. Our lawyers have the expertise and experience to help you receive the maximum amount of damages in tort claims.
Help After an Accident in Ontario
The personal injury lawyers at Bergeron Clifford have 40 years of experience handling car and truck accident cases in Kingston, Ottawa and Whitby. If you would like to discuss your accident and injury, please do not hesitate to call us at 1-866-384-5886 to schedule a FREE consultation.