The plaintiff was involved in a relatively minor rear-end collision. She brought an action alleging to suffer from chronic pain.
The defence conceded liability. After a three-week jury trial, the plaintiff was awarded $42,250 in general damages and $76,121 for past economic loss.
Justice MacLeod utilized the mandatory statutory deductible and collateral benefits deduction provisions of the Insurance Act to reduce the plaintiff’s post-jury trial damages awards to the sum total of $5,760. Because the plaintiff’s final award was so low, the defendants were acknowledged to have beaten their numerous pre-trial Rule 49 offers to settle.
As a result, the plaintiff was ordered to pay the defendants legal fees in the amount of $70,000 due to Canada’s “loser pays” system.
Justice MacLeod opined this was a disastrous outcome for the plaintiff:
 This is a disastrous outcome for the plaintiff. It would only have been worse had I granted the threshold motion. It illustrates the legislative intention that all but the most significant tort claims should be eliminated and injured motorists be largely confined to claiming no-fault benefits under their own insurance policies.
Unfair as this may sound, the legislative intent behind the Insurance Act is being carried out rigorously by Ontario courts.
Before taking a case to judgment, injured parties should honestly consider whether their general damages will eclipse the monetary threshold and what collateral benefit deductions will be made.
Or run the risk of a “disastrous outcome.”
• AB v Waite, 2018 ONSC 2151 (http://canlii.ca/t/hrcxf)
• AB v Waite, 2018 ONSC 3155 (http://canlii.ca/t/hs466)