Will the new Procedure for resolving Disputes over Accident Benefits help or hurt Ontario’s Motorists?

The recent accident benefits program changes are intended to make it easier to resolve disputes between individuals who have been seriously injured in a vehicle accident and the insurance companies. In addition to easier resolution, these changes are supposed to make the resolution process more cost-effective, straightforward, and time efficient. However, the big question is will this really be the case or will it result in longer waiting periods, more confusion, and more expense?

Obviously, there are two schools of thought where this issue is concerned. It takes time to familiarize oneself with new procedures and rules. However, a number of personal injury lawyers in Toronto and the surrounding areas feel that the results of the changes will be totally opposite to the outcome Provincial officials are hopeful of. It’s sad that there are so many innocent individuals throughout Ontario that rely on an insurer’s accident benefits, yet this companies waste no time denying or withholding them. That is where the role of injury lawyers comes into play. They safeguard the interests of the victims of injury claims.

Comparing the Old with the New

The FSCO or Financial Services Commission of Ontario was handling the disputes over accident benefits between insured victims and the insurer prior to 2016-04-01. Under the old system, the plaintiff and defendant would apply (to the FSCO) for assistance in reaching a settlement. An unbiased mediator would be put in charge of presiding over the presentation of the argument by both parties in an informal setting. Furthermore, it was the mediator’s responsibility to help both parties come to an agreement so that the dispute could be settled without going to court.

Despite the fact that mediation sessions were free of charge, the system was working reasonably well. In fact, many disputes were settled during mediation which saved both parties the expense, frustration, and stress of a court trial. However, if the parties could not come to an agreement during mediation sessions then it would go to arbitration. If the parties still could not agree, then the injury victim is given the option to sue. Should you find yourself in this type of situation, having a Brantford, Cambridge, or Hamilton personal injury lawyer on your side would be your best option.

Prior to these legislative changes, any disputes over accident benefits went to mediation directly. If no agreement was reached, it would go into arbitration and if the dispute still couldn’t be resolved, you would file a lawsuit against the insurance company. With the new changes, mediation is no longer an option for reaching a settlement out of court. To say the least, this has always been a complex, complicated process. As it currently stands, the new procedure is still in its infancy and there is no way to tell whether or not the new system is working. Consequently, more time will be needed.