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3 Important Changes to Ontario Accident Benefits

On February 1, 2014, there were significant changes made to the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule under the Ontario Insurance Act. These changes came into force on February 1, 2014, and deal with the issues of pre-existing conditions with the Minor Injury Guidelines, attendant care benefits, and the election of benefits.

1. Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

With respect to the Minor Injury Guideline (MIG), in order to try to avoid the MIG under the pre-existing medical condition, that medical condition has to be documented prior to the accident by a health practitioner, and if that pre-existing medical condition was not documented, there will be difficulty trying to get individuals out of the MIG.

2. Attendant Care Benefits

A significant change was also made to attendant care benefits as the person who is providing the attendant care will only receive the amount of their own economic loss that they are sustaining while providing the attendant care. This means that a family member, who is taking care of someone they love and is missing work as a result, will not be entitled to the amount that is assessed under the Form 1, but instead, will only be entitled to the amount that is equal to their actual economic loss.

3. Election of Benefits

The final amendment deals with election of benefits. That election is now deemed to be final when determining whether one is entitled to income replacement benefits, non-earner benefits, or caregiver benefits. You can no longer re-elect benefits with the one exception that involves individuals who are subsequently designated as being catastrophically injured. At that point, only that individual can re-elect within 30 days of being declared catastrophically injured.

These changes show once again that getting the necessary benefits is becoming more difficult for those injured in motor vehicle accidents.