What is the Minor Injury Guideline? Ottawa Lawyer

If your accident benefit insurer has placed you in the Minor Injury Guideline, you will only have $3500 in medical rehabilitation benefits available, even if you have purchased upgraded accident benefits.  You will not be eligible for housekeeping benefits or attendant care.

For many people, the $3500 will be sufficient to get them back on track after an auto accident.  However, for many others, the implications of such a low policy limit are devastating.

Should you be under the Minor Injury Guideline?  The answer will depend on your injuries.  The Minor Injury Guidelines cover people whose PREDOMINANT injury is one of the following:

  • Sprain, including a partial tear
  • Strain, including a partial tea
  • whiplash unless there are neurological symptoms
  • contusions, abrasions, lacerations
  • subluxations, unless it is a complete dislocation of a joint
If you have one of these injuries but have a pre-existing condition that will impede your ability to recover from your accident related injuries, you may be entitled to an increase in your medical rehabilitation dollars.
Auger Hollingsworth’s view is that you should not be in the Minor Injury Guidelines if you have suffered a psychological injury, a traumatic brain injury (including a concussion), a complete tear of a tendon or ligament, a fracture or WAD III or IV.
If you have been placed under the Minor Injury Guideline and you do not believe you belong, you should consider filing a application for mediation with the Financial Services Commission of Ontario  (FSCO).  There may be a limitation period for making such an application which you must ensure you meet.
For more information about your accident benefit claim, please contact Auger Hollingsworth at 613 233-4529.

What Your Doctor Needs to Know before Filing an OCF 3

After an Ontario car accident, your physician will be asked to complete a Disability Certificate  OCF-3 by your accident benefit insurer.

The Disability Certificate OCF 3 is of vital importance to your entire claim for accident benefits.  As a result, it is very important that your doctor consider the following when completing the form:

  • Every single injury from the accident should be listed on the form, including any cognitive, emotional, mental health or psychological issues.  Many doctors only include physical injuries on the initial form which may compromise your ability to get therapy down the road if you need it.
  • If there is a tear or a muscle or ligament, the doctor should indicate whether it is partial or complete.  Because of the law governing accident benefits, there is a big difference in what therapy is available for only a partial tear.
  • If you have whiplash, the doctor should indicate if neurological injuries are suspected.  Are you getting headaches?  Is the pain radiating down your arm?  Is your face numb?   All of this should be accounted for.
  • Do you have any pre-existing conditions that could make it more difficult for you to recover from your injuries?  For example, do you have pre-existing anxiety or depression?  Make sure your doctor knows and completes this on the space allocated for that information on the OCF-3.
  • Make sure your doctor knows that the insurer will pay for the completed OCF-3.
Get your claim started on the right track with a properly completed OCF 3.  The difference that will make to your claim may be a difference between medical -rehabilitation benefits of $3500 and $50,000.
For more information on your accident benefit claim, contact Auger Hollingsworth at 613 233-4529.

5 Factors that Affect the Value of Your Ontario Accident Case

If you are like most of our Ottawa accident clients, you are very keen to know how much your accident case is worth.  Who can blame you?  You are going through this stressful legal process, it makes sense that you want to know whether your case is worthwhile.

 

Unfortunately, we often can’t tell you what your Ontario accident case is worth until well into file.  However, what we can tell you are factors that will influence the value of your case.  Here, in no particular order are 5 key factors that impact on the monetary value of your case:

 

  • Do you have a provable loss of income claim?  InOntario, this is often the single biggest component of someone’s settlement or trial judgment.

 

  • Have you attended your physician on a regular basis since the accident and described all your symptoms at every visit.  Medical records documenting symptoms carry a lot of weight.

 

  • Has your family physician sent you to specialists to diagnose and / or treat your injury?  Remember that in many cases you have to ask for a referral to a specialist.

 

  • Where applicable, have you had an MRI, CT scan, ultrasound x-ray or other diagnostic test?  An injury that shows up in medical imaging will usually be better compensated than an injury that does not.  Where there is a “picture” of the injury, the issue of credibility is removed.  If you think you would benefit from one of these tests, ask your doctor.

 

  • Are you able to identify specific changes to your lifestyle as a result of the accident?  Accident victims who are able to consistently specify activities that they could do before the accident and that they cannot do after the accident tend to do better financially with their claim than accident victims who complain of “pain” but are not limited in their actions.

Tough Times Ahead for “Smaller” Ontario Motor Vehicle Accident Cases

We have noticed that certain types of cases are getting harder to settle early on in the litigation process.   Especially in auto accident cases, insurers are getting tougher to deal with and are requiring more medical evidence that our clients’ claims meet the legal threshold to sue.

Remember, to successfully sue for pain and suffering in Ontario you have to have a “serious” and “permanent” injury.   Building your case to surpass this threshold is not always easy.   There is no single test you have to meet.

Courts have stated that the requirement that the impairment be “serious” may be satisfied even although the injured person resumes employment and household duties, but continues to experience pain.  The courts will consider whether the continuing pain seriously affects the person’s enjoyment of life, ability to socialize with others, have intimate relations, enjoy his or her children and engage in recreational pursuits.

Courts have stated that for the impairment to be “permanent” , there needs to be evidence that it will last indefinitely into the future,  as opposed to a limited time with a definite end.  If a limitation is unlikely to improve for the indefinite future, it will likely be “permanent”.

However, the onus is on the injured person to prove that the injury is serious and permanent.   Please keep track of facts that will help you prove the serious and permanent nature of your injury.  You may not remember the party you skipped, the wedding you left early and the movie invitation you declined due to your injury if you don’t make little notes of these things.  These days, the details are key to successfully advancing your case to settlement or judgment.

 

Ultimately, stricter requirements from insurers mean that in most cases, we will be requesting that doctors and other health care professionals provide written opinions that your injuries are serious and permanent.  You will want to ensure that your health care team is aware of your ongoing issues so that they can provide a fulsome opinion if we request.

Ottawa Accident: Highway 417 and Boundary Road Rollover injures Teen Girls

OTTAWA LAWYER:  A single-vehicle accident on Highway 417 southeast of Ottawa early on September 4, 2011 has put 4 teenage girls in two different hospitals.  Their vehicle is said to have left the roadway and rolled over.

The girls are reported to be aged between 17 and 19 years old.  Two of the accident victims are described as being in serious condition.

The cause of the Ottawa accident has not been identified in the media reports.