Taverniti | Vashishth LLP (www.TorontosPersonalInjuryLawyer.com), a law firm specializing in all aspects of Canadian personal injury law, is addressing new changes the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT) is instituting that will affect Ontario residents seeking benefits for accidents and injuries.
As of April 1, the LAT has implemented a new Automobile Accidents Benefits Service (AABS) system and is currently accepting applications. The AABS seeks to quickly resolve disputes between injured parties and insurance companies. (Source: “Automobile Accident Benefits Service,” Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario (SLASTO) web site, last accessed May 20, 2016; http://www.slasto.gov.on.ca/en/AABS/Pages/default.aspx.)
“The public should be aware of these changes, as they will have an impact on people seeking benefits due to automobile accidents,” says Mick Vashishth, managing and founding partner of Taverniti | Vashishth LLP. “When someone’s injured in an accident, it’s really crucial that they understand the legal process. If they don’t know what steps to take when dealing with insurers, they can end up losing out on benefits.”
Previously, most disputes with insurers were resolved in mediation, and claimants had the option to proceed to trial if a settlement hadn’t been reached. [Not as of May 26, 2016][I changed the tense. Is it more accurate now? ]Under the new system, claims can be decided on by an adjudicator in a LAT conference, with only the most serious cases proceeding to in-person hearings.
“This new system removes a lot of the steps in a typical insurance dispute case,” says Vashishth. “This process is much simpler and should be easier to navigate for most claimants. While claimants will have less options for pursuing their cases, insurers will also be limited in their responses.”
With the new changes, the time in which it takes for claims to be resolved may also be reduced. According to the new guidelines, claims will be resolved in under 120 days, which means that claimants can expect a prompt decision just months from when they initiate the process.
“Claimants can expect a quick resolution from the time they file their application,” says Vashishth. “Currently, disputes can be drawn out and last for months or even years, so this is one aspect of the new system which will favour claimants. These rules will help protect claimants from becoming stuck in a long, drawn-out claims process.”
In fact, it is believed that the AABS system will favour claimants over insurers, as they will be able to file applications on their schedule within a set amount of time. Insurers will then have to respond promptly. As well, both written and video hearings can reduce the impact on claimants’ daily life.
“There are some advantages for claimants with this new system,” says Vashishth. “However, it will be important for claimants to seek the guidance of a legal professional to help navigate this system. If you don’t fully understand these new rules, it may be easy to lose out on the insurance benefits you are entitled to.”
Taverniti | Vashishth LLP handles personal injury claims ranging from car and road accidents to slips and falls to catastrophic claims.