Steve Rastin Excited to Share His Expertise in LTD Litigation as OTLA Vice-Chair

It's important that there be another voice at the table to speak to the interest of claimants.

Rastin Gluckstein senior counsel Steve Rastin says working with lawyers from across the province as vice-chair of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association's (OTLA) long-term disability section is a unique opportunity to help others and improve his professional skills. Rastin, a former OTLA president, has served as chair on the long-term disability (LTD) board in the past and says he is looking forward to lending his expertise once again. "I am always excited to work with young lawyers," he says. "My view is that if we make the profession better, we improve access to justice and the quality of representation for people of Ontario."

Rastin says serving on professional boards can be beneficial for all involved

"The bottom line is that the skills you pick up from volunteering your time are going to make you a better lawyer," he says. Rastin brings years of LTD experience to his new role and will help those lawyers transitioning into the field. He explains there has been a drop in car accident and slip-and-fall cases during the pandemic, and more attorneys are moving into long-term disability. "There are many lawyers who have done a lot of tort work, and they're branching out into LTD litigation. But the two are really different animals," Rastin says. "One is based in tort law. The other is based in contract. It's important to properly educate lawyers to provide the best representation possible to those who have claims. That's what the association's LTD section is all about. "Sometimes LTD cases are straightforward. Other times they can be extremely complex because you can deal with issues such as entitlements, limitation, pre-existing medical conditions, causation, occupational change and collateral benefit offsets," he adds. "Long-term disability litigation is an entirely separate area of the law, and it has its nuances and wrinkles."

Long-term disability experts

Rastin says, "there's a significant number of lawyers out there that are trying to expand" to new areas of the law. "LTD can seem like a natural addition to their portfolio," he says. "The problem is, they believe that the skills they've developed doing tort cases are the same skills that they're going to need to do LTD cases. And while there's some overlap, frankly, the skillset is different."

Ontario trial lawyers association is integral in changing legislation

While its most significant role is educational, the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association’s LTD section also advocates for legislative change, provides input to the provincial government and intervenes in cases of public interest. "It's important that there be another voice at the table to speak to the interest of claimants," Rastin says. "We're very well respected. We're considered a stakeholder. So, when government and the judiciary are looking for various viewpoints, they normally turn to legal professions such as the Ontario Bar Association, the Advocates Society and the OTLA." He says in the past, the government hasn't always been receptive to stakeholder input. However, that has changed under Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey, says Rastin. "I have known Minister Downey for many years, and I will tell you that he doesn't always agree with what I say, but I believe that he listens. That has not always been the case with past governments," he says. "There have been times when the government was not open to listening to our message. We don't expect them to like what we are saying in every instance, but it is to their credit that they listen."

Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers – trusted expertise

Steve Rastin is an award-winning trial lawyer dedicated to helping injured victims recover after suffering an injury and is a tireless advocate for his clients. He is joined by an experienced team of long-term disability lawyers in Toronto, Ottawa, Niagara, and Barrie to serve people across Ontario. Contact the nearest office of Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers to set up your free consultation.


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