FREDERICTON — The case of a young New Brunswick man who was seriously injured in a motorcyc... NB resists call to lift $2
FREDERICTON — The case of a young New Brunswick man who was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and received only a small amount in compensation has raised new questions about the limits some provinces have placed on insurance payouts.
The Canadian Bar Association said Thursday it has asked the New Brunswick government to re-think the $2,500 cap it placed on insurance awards for minor and soft-tissue injuries, a limit that was put in place several years ago to mollify the automobile insurance industry and control soaring premiums.
The bar association made the request as a result of the case of Patrick Rossignol, who suffered multiple fractures to his legs in a 2004 motorcycle accident in which he wasn’t at fault.
Nevertheless, a New Brunswick judge deemed Rossignol’s injuries minor in accordance with the province’s insurance regulations, and awarded him the maximum — $2,500.
"Our question to the government is, what are the parameters of the word ‘minor’?" said Rene Basque, president of the bar association’s New Brunswick branch.
"It is necessary to amend this legislation to reach a proper and equitable balance between reasonable insurance rates and fair compensation for injuries," Basque said.
"It’s not up to the minister of justice to determine whether broken legs received in accidents are minor personal injuries," Burke said. "That’s what medical experts are used for."
Bruce Cran of the Consumers’ Association of Canada said he is extremely disappointed at the way the recently elected Liberal government in New Brunswick has responded to the insurance question, which has long been a sore point with voters.
Cran said caps on minor and soft-tissue injuries are unfair to consumers and serve only to inflate the insurance industry’s already fat profits.
In Nova Scotia, the Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association is challenging the insurance cap in court. The association wants to have the Nova Scotia provisions declared unconstitutional.
For its part, the insurance industry says it believes customers are content with the cap and other insurance changes that have reduced premiums from their highs of several years ago.
"The goal was to reduce premiums. They have been reduced in New Brunswick more than any other province in the country. The clear winners in all of these reforms were the consumers."
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