Ontario Auto Insurance in Crisis: OTLA calls on Wynne Government to call a public inquiry into medical assessments of accident victims

TORONTO, Feb. 1, 2016 /CNW/ - The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association today called on the Ontario Government to establish a commission to conduct a public inquiry to examine the current state of independent medical assessments of injured auto accident victims.

"After years of changes designed to placate the insurance industry, the government needs to turn its attention to the plight of victims," said Maia Bent, President, Ontario Trial Lawyers Association.

"The appointment today of a new auto insurance advisor– David Marshall – presents the opportunity to restore balance in our auto insurance system, starting with a public inquiry into medical evidence and reports used in insurance claims," Bent added.

"Ontario's auto insurance system is in crisis. Coverage has been steadily eroded, premiums remain stubbornly high and insurer profitability is allowed to continue without limits," Bent said.

"While it's bad enough for all policy holders who are still waiting for their promised premium reductions, it's the injured accident victims and their families that have borne the brunt of all these punitive changes," she added.

"Not only do victims face dramatically reduced coverage when they do make claims under their contracts of insurance, they also face unconscionable delays and unfair denial of coverage.

While that is bad enough, the average claimant has no idea that they will have to contend with a system of medico-legal experts who distort evidence - including court reports - in a bid to satisfy insurance company clients," she added.

"I have seen it in my practice in cases affecting my own clients – and it's well-documented in cases right across the province," she added.

OTLA maintains that a public inquiry is the best way to shine a light on this widespread unsavoury practice and bring about meaningful change.

About the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association: Founded in 1991, the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) is an organization of more than 1,600 plaintiff lawyers, law clerks, articling students and law students. Our purpose is to promote access to justice for all Ontarians, preserve and improve the civil justice system, and advocate for the rights of those who have suffered injury and losses as the result of wrongdoing by others, while at the same time advocating strongly for safety initiatives. For more information, visit www.otla.com.

SOURCE Ontario Trial Lawyers Association

For further information: John Karapita, Director of Public Affairs, OTLA, Tel: 289-242-8577


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