The Ontario auto insurance reforms introduced in the summer has won praise for helping to reduce auto insurance rates in the province. However, few have considered the cost to the individual customer. Shop Insurance Canada warned earlier in the year that the reforms would have an effect on how much Ontarians can claim when involved in a collision.
One driver felt this change in claims in the most cruel of fashion. Adam Bari, 34, suffered severe injuries in a collision. If the accident had happened 12 hours earlier, Bari would have been able to get the full $2 million in compensation under the previous laws. That’s according to his personal injury lawyer, but he was instead able to just receive $86,000.
When his motorcycle was T-boned on a rural road in Delhi, southwest of Hamilton, on June 1, the outlook was poor. Bari was pronounced dead by police, a prognosis that was ultimately false. After an investigation, Bari was found to not be at fault for the incident. He has suffered brain trauma, broken bones, and had internal injuries.
"It was pretty much a month later when I woke up from a coma," Bari said in an interview from his home in early October.
"I couldn't move in my bed in the hospital, and that's when things really started to hit home," he said, speaking slowly and deliberately.
Bari’s hospital term crossed over the provinces move into new accident benefit insurance reform. Because of the loss of claims potential, Bari has had to stop working and has to visit Hamilton for regular hospital visits, a regular 2 hour round trip.
"Had he been injured the day before, he would easily have qualified for catastrophic compensation," said personal injury lawyer Mike Smitiuch.
"Adam has the same amount of money available to him as somebody who broke their toe in an accident," said Courtney Bari, flipping through documents sent by the insurer.