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Car accident victims ‘hurt twice’ by lack of knowledge about high deductible on personal injury claims: report
August 28, 2018 - Waterloo, ON – Less than one in five (18%) of Ontario drivers are aware of Ontario’s $37,983.33 statutory insurance deductible they are required to pay if awarded damages for pain and suffering resulting from injury in an auto accident caused by another driver. This according to the findings of a survey issued today by personal injury and disability law firm Deutschmann Law.
Information about Ontario’s statutory deductible is particularly important to jurists, says Ontario Personal Injury Lawyer, Rob Deutschmann. A jury’s lack of knowledge can negatively impact those seeking damages, resulting in car crash victims being ‘hurt twice,’ -- first from the accident and then again by the province’s onerous deductible. “Juries may think they are adequately providing an award that will help the victim,” says Deutschmann, “however, by the time that deductible comes off, there’s often little left for those injured.”
For instance, an award of $50,000 by a jury after the deductible is subtracted amounts to just $12,016.67. Furthermore, if a jury awards damages deemed to be less than the deductible, the victim often must pay the insurer’s legal fees and trial costs. The statutory deductible, which is set by the Province of Ontario, increases annually at a rate of 1.6%. “So, the bar is constantly moving higher for accident victims and their families,” says Deutschmann. The survey also found that 51% of individuals believed the deductible for pain and suffering damages to be less than $10,000, while only 5% of those surveyed were aware there is an upper limit for pain and suffering damages, currently set at approximately $380,000.00.
“While there’s some evidence of awareness surrounding a deductible, we were concerned to see how little information Ontario drivers and jurists actually have about the limitations surrounding personal injury claims,” says Deutschmann. He also points out that while insurance policies exist to reduce the deductible amount to $10,000, consumers do not take advantage.
The survey also found that there was a wide and varied range of opinions on what people believe constitutes a personal injury claim and how claims should be compensated. For instance, while 63% of those surveyed believe that an injury such as a sore back or whiplash would meet the minimum criteria for a pain and suffering damage claim, only 34% of people surveyed felt that suffering from depression or anxiety resulting from a motor vehicle accident would qualify. Those individuals who had never experienced a motor vehicle accident and who have never made a claim were likely to assume a higher average ($100K or more) payout than those who had first-hand experience.
The independent survey, conducted in June 2018, was administered by Metroline Research Group on behalf of Deutschmann Law. Over 800 Ontario licensed drivers between the ages of 25-74 participated. All were identified as a decision-maker regarding their auto insurance policy.
For a full copy of the 2018 study and its findings, click here.
About Deutschmann Law Professional Corporation
With more than 20 years of experience, Deutschmann Law is one of Waterloo Region’s foremost law firms focusing exclusively on personal injury and disability insurance matters. Deutschmann Law serves clients throughout Southwestern Ontario. The firm is a proud member of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association.
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