Impassioned speeches and strong support characterized the recent rally in Queen's Park in Toronto -- and for good reason. Hundreds gathered to protest provincial budgetary changes that greatly reduce auto insurance benefits for the catastrophically injured.
Being long-time advocates for auto accident victims, we at Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers believe that insurance companies' profits should not take precedence over the medical care, attendant care and rehabilitation needed and deserved by those whose lives have been catastrophically changed by crashes.
The changes passed by the legislature include redefining "Catastrophic Impairment." One accident victim who spoke at the rally took off her ankle braces and struggled to walk, showing other protesters how paralysis in her feet affects her daily life. As is true of many accident victims, her injuries will likely require lifelong rehabilitation. She said that under the new definition of Catastrophic Impairment, her injuries would not even qualify as catastrophic.
The 2015 Ontario budget also cuts in half -- from $2 million to $1 million -- combined auto insurance coverage for rehab, medical care and attendant care. That reduction does not change the reality that catastrophically injured people need extensive medical and attendant care, and improving accident victims' quality of life, even if only a little, often requires years of expensive rehab.
That the provincial government has decided to cut benefits to accident survivors is a powerful reminder of the influence of insurance companies. Because these companies have deep pockets and significant resources, injured Ontarians need strong legal advocates to ensure that insurers' profit concerns are not prioritized over care for victims.
Our previous post on the 2015 budget details the continued reduction of accident benefits in the last five years.
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