The following email comes from Patrick Brown, a cyclist-supporting lawyer here in Toronto. Could cyclists be getting screwed over with insurance settlements in the future? Read on.
This morning I attended a stakeholders meeting with the Ministry of Finance regarding the new changes to auto insurance. It is now on the news.
The present law reform is not fair to cyclists, public transit users or pedestrians.
Today I specially asked whether the reduce benefits being proposed will apply to innocently injured cyclists, pedestrians and transit users. The answer was "yes".
The system here in Ontario is complex to say the least, but I will try to simplify as best I can the issue below.
When anyone [including cyclist, pedestrian car driver] is injured or killed by a bad driver[ even a drunk driver], they will have various benefits available to them. These include various things to help them get better. Medical benefits, rehab benefits, attendant care etc.
With the new changes introduced today, many benefits are being drastically reduced. However, the justification for such a reduction is "consumer choice".
The new insurance reforms provide an option to the auto insurance policy holders to increase the amount of their benefits if they so chose. They simply up the premium in the policy.
However, if you are a cyclist, pedestrian or transit user, and do not have a car insurance policy, you do not have the ability to buy up on your benefits. You have no policy to do so. You must accept these reductions.
Essentially your benefits (if you are part of this group) have just been drastically reduced without the choice of getting more coverage.
How significant are these changes to cyclist and pedestrians. The following are the amount of benefits being reduced.
- Medical Rehabilitation Benefits [non catastrophically injured] are being reduced from 100,000 to 50,000
- Attendant Care Benefits [for non catastrophically injured ] are being reduced from 72,000 to 36,000.00
- Housekeeping and caregiver benefits eliminated.