Sep 22, 2017
It is now over seven years since the so-called Minor Injury Guidelines (“MIG” for short) came into effect. The MIG significantly reduced Ontario’s no-fault accident benefits available to accident victims. Before these changes, a person injured in a motor vehicle accident (regardless of fault) could access up to $100,000 for medical and rehabilitation treatment over a 10-year period. The law provided that this would be the minimum available for these benefits in all Ontario automobile insurance policies.
On September 1, 2010, things changed drastically. Not only were medical and rehabilitation benefits reduced from a minimum of $100,000 to $50,000, accident victims had to grapple with the new MIG. If you suffered a “minor” injury in a motor vehicle accident, only $3,500 would be available to fund your treatment. What is a “minor” injury? It is “a sprain, strain, whiplash associated disorder, contusion, abrasion, laceration or subluxation and any clinically associated sequelae.” So under these changes, Ontario’s insurance law made a clear distinction between those who suffered “minor” injuries and those who did not.
Recently, one injured person challenged the constitutionality of the MIG. Mr. Abdirahman Abyan argued that the MIG violates section 15(1) of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as the MIG discriminates based on physical disability. Section 15(1) of the Charter prohibits discrimination under the law on the basis race, religion, gender, age, and also mental or physical disability. If the MIG makes a distinction between those who suffered injuries based on arbitrary definitions, is it not discriminating based on physical disability? Particularly, aren’t chronic pain sufferers, a historically disadvantaged group, treated differently under the law by limiting the amount of treatment available to them?
Arbitrator Benjamin Drory agreed. In Abyan v. Sovereign General Insurance Company, he ruled that the MIG is unconstitutional, as it infringes upon the Charter on the basis of physical disability. Although Arbitrator Drory noted that the decision was only applicable to the case of Mr. Abyan, Ontario accident victims should be very pleased with this decision. It is a landmark decision that may have a significant impact protecting the rights of accident victims.
Click here to download the full case file for more information. For over 50 years, The Morris Law Group has been at the forefront fighting for the rights of all accident victims. If you have been injured in an accident, we are always available to meet with you free of charge and explain your rights.