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Did you know that if you have been hurt in a motor vehicle collision seriously enough to receive an award for pain and suffering, it may be reduced by $39,556.53? This amount is known as the statutory deductible and, worse yet, it is tied to inflation and increases each year.

If you are injured in a motor vehicle collision in Ontario, you have the legal right to sue the at-fault parties. The Insurance Act governs motor vehicle claims. Under the Act, any amount awarded for pain and suffering in court or settlement negotiations is subject to a statutory deductible. The legislative purpose of the deductible is to reduce motor vehicle litigation by deterring claims with modest injuries. Unfortunately, this creates an unfair barrier to recovery for victims and places more money in the hands of insurance companies.

The legislated deductible applies to:

  1. Damages for pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life; and
  2. Claims advanced under the Family Law Act for loss of guidance, care, and companionship.

There are two exceptions in which the deductible does not apply:

  1. Where the award for pain and suffering has met or surpassed the statutory monetary threshold noted below; or
  2. Where a claim is advanced under the Family Law Act which involves a fatality.

On January 1, 2020, the deductibles and corresponding monetary thresholds increased by 1.9%. The following charts outline the increases:

Monetary Thresholds as of January 1, 2020
Category Amount 2019 Amount 2020
Non-Pecuniary General Damages (Pain and Suffering) $129,395.49 $131,854.01
Family Law Act: Loss of Guidance, Care, and Companionship $64,697.21 $65,926.46
Deductible Amounts as of January 1, 2020
Category Amount 2019 Amount 2020
Non-Pecuniary General Damages (Pain and Suffering) $38,818.97 $39,556.53
Family Law Act: Loss of Guidance, Care, and Companionship $19,409.49 $19,778.27
Family Law Act (Fatality) No Deductible No Deductible

Illustrative Example

As of January 1, 2020, there is a deductible of $39,556.53 for pain and suffering awards valued under $131,854.01. For example, if the award is valued at $100,000.00, then the Defendant is entitled to reduce that amount by the deductible of $39,556.53. This would lower the amount received for pain and suffering to $60,443.47. However, if the claim is valued at $131,855.00 or greater, then the deductible does not apply. The insurance legislation applicable to motor vehicle collisions is complex and unjust. Many victims are unaware of the statutory deductibles and other nuances that may affect their claim. It is important to consult a personal injury lawyer to navigate the system and have your claim properly assessed.

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