Case Study: Ross v. Bucchus

Title: The Judge in the Hamilton Court comes down hard on the insurance company for delaying compensation to the car accident victim.

In the case of Ross v. Bucchus, the plaintiff Ross was injured in a motor vehicle accident. He was awarded $248,000 after a six-day trial in Hamilton. Unsurprisingly, the trial was expensive. The plaintiff’s trial costs were at $140,000. The plaintiff’s lawyers were seeking additional $60,000 for the defendant’s (represented by his insurance company Certas) failure to comply with its obligations to mediate the case as dictated by the Insurance Act.

Justice Ramsay noted in his decision that although the lawyer hired by the Insurance Company Certas representing the defendant did agree to a brief mediation at limited costs , they had advised the plaintiff they were not interested in settling this case. Justice Ramsay inferred that the insurer was conducting itself in such a way in hopes of intimidating the plaintiff and deterring other plaintiffs who had meritorious cases. The defendant has provided an offer to settle for $30,000.00, the plaintiff’s offer was $80,000 before starting the trial. Justice Ramsey noted that it took a 6-day trial with all its attendant risk for the sake of $50,000.00. which the defendant could afford and the plaintiff could not. He found that the defendant did not attempt to settle expeditiously as required by the Insurance Act and the mediation was described “as a sham”. By refusing to mediate the trial judge augmented the cost award by $60,000 plus HST. This is a marked victory for the litigants who seek justice for their injuries. Finally, the courts have send a strong message to the greedy insurance corporations. This is a reaction to the years of insurance intimidation towards the litigants with limited means to have their cases heard by the court.

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