Accounting for Law
Personal Injury

Changes to auto insurance need to ensure access to justice: Derfel

The Ontario government's newly released plan to make automobile insurance more affordable should also include better access to justice, Toronto personal injury lawyer David Derfel tells The Lawyer’s Daily.

“We all want to get people what is fair and what they’re entitled to and we want to get people back on their feet and back to a life they should have," says Derfel, principal of Derfel Injury Lawyers.

 The Fair Auto Insurance Plan, announced Dec. 5, is based on recommendations made by David Marshall, Ontario's adviser on auto insurance, reports the online legal publication.

 “We’ve introduced a number of important changes over the years that resulted in lower insurance costs for Ontario drivers, but they don’t go far enough,” said provincial Finance Minister Charles Sousa.

“That’s why we commissioned David Marshall to uncover the root of the problem and provide recommendations to improve consumer protection and system efficiency. Based on the findings of his report, we are taking action through the Fair Auto Insurance Plan to help victims, tackle fraud and further reduce premium costs.”

The plan includes a standard treatment approach for common collision injuries such as sprains and whiplash; it creates independent and neutral examination centres to provide medical assessments for more serious injuries, and it will establish a Serious Fraud Office by spring 2018 to tackle fraud in the system.

Derfel tells The Lawyer's Daily that addressing insurance fraud is an important part of improving the system. 

“I don’t know how prevalent [fraud] is and I don't know what shape [the Serious Fraud Office] will take, but if people are cheating the system, it needs to be dealt with,” says Derfel.

“Not only do I have clients, but I drive a car and I pay insurance. We all have a stake in how we look at these things.” 

Derfel says a major problem with the system is how accident victims are treated in the same way — no matter how they’re hurt.

“Different people get injured differently,” he tells the publication. “How was it that someone like Eric Lindros had such a short career and took as many hits as everybody else and yet someone like Jarome Iginla has had such a long and successful career? But if you looked at hockey players the same as those who have been in a car accident, they would be treated the same way — and you can’t treat everyone the same way.”

To Read More David Derfel Posts Click Here
Lawyer Directory
BridgePoint Financial Services (post to 5.31.19)Toronto Lawyers Association (post to 6.30.19)DivorcemateFeldstein Family Law (post until May 31/19)Davidson Fraese (post until Sept. 31/19)Conron Law Koster Consulting & AssociatesLee & Associates (post until Feb. 28/20)