Car accident victims have been suffering for the last few decades with ever decreasing benefits. Car drivers have been suffering with ever increasing premiums. Car insurers have had to put up with record profits.
It’s no wonder that there is unhappiness throughout Canada whenever anyone brings up the subject of car insurance. In Ontario governments since the 1990s have been steadily giving car insurers the right to reduce benefits to the injured, to claw back benefits, to increase insurance rates, to be by and large exempt from punishment for unreasonable behaviour towards their insured clients.
We pay more than any other province in the country for insurance and 50% more than the average rate in Canada. We have accident rates that aren’t higher than other provinces. Yet we continue to pay. The insurance companies continue to profit and to push for further reductions in benefits to car accident victims. Insurance companies like to point to fraud and high medical assessment and lawyer fees to justify the rates for insurance. The omit to include the fact that they themselves are the driving force for many of these costs.
By unreasonably denying benefits to inured drivers, they force people to hire lawyers for even the smallest claims in order to get their treatments paid. By unreasonably denying benefits applied for the car insurance companies also force a battle of experts costing tens of thousands of dollars in some cases to determine whether they should pay for the smallest benefits. It appears that in many cases insurers are more focussed on scaring injured drivers into submission than they are on fairly adjusting claims. They have deep pockets and they know it.
It is a sad fact that I see every day that many people who are genuinely injured in car accidents cannot get the benefits that they paid for up front when they bought insurance. These car accident victims often fall into financial distress as they pay for treatment out of their own pockets, or worse forgo treatment because they cannot afford it. Many are left in despair, bitter with the ‘good deal’ they thought they got on their car insurance premium from their company. Catastrophically impaired victims are outliving their car insurance benefits and are left with their families making the choice to bankrupt themselves caring for their loved ones or placing them into state run institutions for long term care.
The choices left to victims of car accidents are ever decreasing. They can accept what may be paltry benefits, accept their claims being denied, or hire a lawyer to fight the insurer. All of this comes at cost – either emotional, financial or both.
In this upcoming election I urge you to ask the candidates where they stand on the issue of car insurance and accident benefits. Ask them why benefits are consistently reduced while insurance company profits continue to rise. Ask why this is allowed to happen.