A New Rule In Auto Insurance Changes Coverage Based On Timing

On June 1, 2016, a man who was riding his motorcycle on a rural road southwest of Hamilton, Ontario was hit by a car. The man suffered several broken bones, damages to a few internal organs and brain trauma. He was put in a coma for nearly a month as a result. The injuries were so severe that he was pronounced dead at the scene for a moment.
However, his family did not get the $2 million in compensation that they could have gotten had the accident occurred just a few hours earlier on May 31, 2016, Instead the family got a little less than $100,000 in compensation.
The family is struggling to take care of his medical bills. The family cannot get into a proper drug plan because he is not working due to his injuries. The expenses for constant hospital visits have gone up as well as the added costs associated with traveling an hour each way to a hospital in Hamilton. His wife has also been working less because she’s trying to take care of him in his recovery.
The family has lost so much money and has become unable to make a living that they are facing bankruptcy. The worst part about this is that had the injury occurred a day earlier, the family would have qualified to get more compensation so they would not be in this massive financial bind.
The situation has gotten to where the family may not have enough money from the compensation in time for Christmas. The family is even suing the driver that hit the man’s motorcycle. This is to potentially recover additional costs associated with the man’s health care.
What Caused the Compensation Change?
The compensation for the accident was less than it should have been as Ontario insurance laws had changed. While the family knew that the terms on their policy from Intact Insurance were changing, they were not informed of how the process for evaluating injuries changed. This dramatic change in the policy occurred without warning, thus making it harder for the family to get the compensation they needed.
The original compensation rules stated that a catastrophic injury was listed with a Glasgow Coma Scale rating of nine or less. The GCS is used to determine how functional a person is. The man in this story had a rating of three but eventually moved to an eight when he became more responsive.
Had the accident occurred hours earlier, he would have gotten added benefits because he was deemed to have suffered a catastrophic injury. However, the rules changed to where the GCS is no longer used to determine what compensation someone may have. While trauma teams and hospitals still use the GCS when understanding how to take care of a patient, it is not a point of consideration for insurance purposes.
Brain Trauma Patients Suffer
The worst part about this is that brain trauma patients will not be able to get the compensation that they demand for injuries. The fact that the GCS is not fully utilized like it was in the past especially keeps patients from getting all the services and treatments they require. While CT scans and MRIs may still be used, these are often not conducted until weeks or months after an injury.
Outdated Terms
The Financial Services Commission of Ontario, an organization that reviews insurance functions within the province, stated that the terms used to define what injuries are and aren’t catastrophic were outdated. Specifically, those terms were drafted in 1996.
The organization adjusted those terms in accordance with scientific and medical reporting. This includes reporting designed to state how catastrophic injuries are defined and what signs occur with them.
The fact that people were not informed on how catastrophic injury definitions were changed is a serious concern. This shows that the public had been misled over how injuries are to be reported and reviewed.
Reducing Insurance Costs
In addition, the Ministry of Finance adjusted auto insurance rules as a means of keeping insurance from being expensive around Ontario. These rates were changed by altering the requirements associated for covering certain injuries.
However, this is not good enough for many families that are dealing with serious injury problems and the added costs associated with recovering from an injury. The family discussed earlier has struggled to stay afloat financially as a result of those changes.
This is a concern for all drivers in Canada to be aware of. While the cost associated with insurance might go down for some, the coverage points for injuries will decline as well. This is a significant issue that could cause many families to suffer financially if their loved ones experience serious injuries while on the road.