Canadian Lawyer

May 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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38 ance, has been a source of unnecessary complexity that benefits insurance providers. The Toronto personal injury lawyer and managing partner of Mazin & Associates PC says that, under the new system, insurers have made previously automatic benefits such as housekeeping and caregiving elec- tive, reducing the benefits available in this lower-fee model. Insurers, he says, have cut benefits in catastrophic cases to $1 million in total from $1 million each for medical bene- fits and attendant care, since very few cases ever get classified as "catastrophic." AVERAGE INSURANCE PREMIUMS PER YEAR BY PROVINCE, FEBRUARY 2020 Mazin's biggest issue, however, is with the tribunal process. "There literally is no other game in town," Mazin says. "No matter how bad the situation for your client is, no matter the behaviour from the insurance company, those insurers don't pay costs beyond maybe $500 in the most egregious cases. Meanwhile, it might cost $20,000 to $30,000 to litigate prop- erly. You're dealing with a scenario where it doesn't matter how right your client is, they're not going to be entitled to get back any legal fees or even disbursements." LEGAL REPORT PERSONAL INJURY Mazin says a transition to no-fault insur- ance in Alberta is already a fait accompli. Public officials see the popularity of a no-fault system, he says, and its promise of lower premiums and advocating to them won't change things much. Public outreach may help, he says, but who will spend money on commercials to explain some of the perceived downsides of a no-fault system? "I think, realistically, lawyers just have to pony up money and educate the public so that they can make an informed decision," Mazin says. "They need to let them know the potential benefits but also the poten- tial costs, which I, unfortunately, believe outweigh the benefits." Cuming says he hasn't given up on his fight against a no-fault system in Alberta. His argu- ment is an economic one, he says, given the size and scope of the tort-based insurance industry, the number of people it employs and "Every time you go on the internet, you're being bombarded with ads by lawyers. People don't want to see that." J. Scott Stanley, Murphy Battista LLP Source: 2000 1500 1000 500 0 B.C. Saskatchewan Nova Scotia Ontario Newfoundland & Labrador New Brunswick Alberta Manitoba PEI Quebec $1,832 $1,528 $1,316 $1,235 $1,168 $1,140 $891 $867 $816 $717

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