On February 1, 2014, additional changes will take place to Ontario’s Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) which will impact auto accident victims.
Ontario Regulation 347/13 affects the amount of attendant care payable to accident victims, the treatment of pre-existing conditions, and the election of income replacement benefits, non-earner benefits or caregiver benefits.
Under the new changes, family members and friends who provide attendant care services to accident victims will only be paid for the actual money they lose from a job as a result of providing that care.
As such, the regulation reverses the Court of Appeal’s decision in Henry v. Gore, which previously forced insurance companies to pay the full amount assessed on the Assessment of Attendant Care Needs (Form 1) as long as some form of economic loss was proven.
Prior to February 1, 2014, accident victims were able to get out of the $3,500.00 cap on rehabilitative treatment under the Minor Injury Guideline (MIG) if a health practitioner determined and provided evidence that they had a pre-existing medical condition preventing them from achieving maximal recovery.
However, the new changes now require the pre-existing condition to have been documented by a health practitioner before the accident.
This means that auto accident victims who didn’t have a doctor or failed to see one before an accident will be unable to get out of the MIG, even if a doctor confirms that their health condition existed beforehand.
Election of Income Replacement, Non-Earner or Caregiver Benefits
Under the new changes, an auto accident victim’s election of income replacement benefits, non-earner benefits, or caregiver benefits is final regardless of any change in circumstances.
Previously, victims were allowed to re-elect caregiver benefits within 30 days of being deemed to have suffered a catastrophic impairment.
These changes strongly favour the auto insurance industry and serve to continue eroding the rights of auto accident victims in Ontario.
A full copy of the SABS is available at e-laws.