Many people are unaware that when they are eligible to sue for injuries suffered as a result of a car accident caused by another person, the first $30,000.00 that would be paid for general damages (pain and suffering) does not have to be paid by the insurance company to the injured person. This is called a deductible. Before October, 2003, the deductible for general pain and suffering damages in Ontario was $15,000.00. As a result the increased deductible, for most people suffering from a soft tissue injury or whiplash injury, while a court or jury may find that the other party was at fault and that the injured party suffered serious injury, it is quite possible that where the jury awards an amount of $30,000.00 or less, the injured party would receive nothing for pain and suffering. This applies to all injured parties. What makes this particularly harsh is the fact that where someone has suffered wage loss because of an inability to work, they could very well receive damages for past and future income loss but nothing for general pain and suffering damages. For those without employment, particularly seniors, homemakers, children and the disabled, who do not suffer income loss because of a fixed income, these groups could very lose out on any award given that they will not be advancing a claim for income loss. Seniors, for example, are often on a fixed income and are not working to supplement their pensions. With no income loss they are restricted to general pain and suffering damages and therefore run the risk that a jury award will not even exceed the $30,000.00 deductible and they walk away with nothing. They win the battle but lose the war.
In the case of a senior that loses a grandchild to a car accident, there is a deductible of $15,000.00 that applies. This deductible applies to Family Law Act claims. These are claims by certain family members for the loss of care, guidance and companionship of the injured or deceased person. Given the state of Canadian law and the low awards that are made to grandparents who face the loss of a grandchild, seniors could very well be faced with another situation where the loss is acknowledged but the award results in nothing being paid by the insurance company.
About Paquette Travers & Deutschmann
Paquette Travers & Deutschmann serve South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann and Doug O’Toole focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.
The opinions expressed here, while intended to provide useful information, should not be interpreted as legal recommendations or advice.