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Aug 08, 2018 in News Accident Benefits Claims

Accident Benefits Claims: Ontario’s Licence Appeal Tribunal mired in controversy

car swerved in snow

In 2012, Mary Shuttleworth suffered serious injuries in a two-vehicle collision near Dundalk, Ontario: a traumatic brain injury and soft tissue damage left her unable to work, the victim of persistent nausea and vertigo, and suffering from a serious emotional toll. The Province of Ontario’s Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT), the body in charge of resolving accident benefits disputes under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS), determined that her injuries were “non-catastrophic.” As every Ontario car accident lawyer understands, this designation prevented her from accessing tens of thousands of dollars in additional benefits.

However, in a surprise twist, Shuttleworth’s case was reopened this year after an anonymous letter to her legal team revealed major impropriety within the LAT. The letter alleged that Susan Sapin, the case’s original adjudicator, initially found Shuttleworth to be catastrophically impaired and entitled to full accident benefits. But an intervention by Linda Lamoureux, the executive director of Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Ontario, caused her to reverse her initial finding. Shuttleworth’s benefits were denied.

After receiving the letter, Shuttleworth’s Ontario car accident lawyer filed an access to information request that showed extensive communication between Sapin and Lamoureux. It also showed that Lemoureux’s initial intervention came without Sapin’s knowledge and not at her request. Though consultation between adjudicators is permitted, the evidence was enough for Justice Julie A. Thorburn to overturn the denial of benefits.

“I make no finding of any actual impropriety having occurred on the facts of this case,” Justice Thorburn wrote. However, she added that the adjudication process failed to meet “the minimum standards required to ensure both the existence and appearance of adjudicative independence of the adjudicator’s decision.”

“Justice must not only be done; it must be seen to be done,” Thorburn wrote.

While the case offers new hope to Mary Shuttleworth, it also provides reason to worry for every Ontario car accident lawyer. Shuttleworth’s case was the first in which the LAT was asked to decide whether an accident victim was catastrophically or non-catastrophically impaired; it failed to provide a fair, impartial decision.

If you or a member of your family has been injured in an automotive collision, consider contacting Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers to learn how we can help you access compensation. An experienced Ontario car accident lawyer can help you understand your legal options, provide guidance as you file your insurance claim, and aim to secure fair and reasonable compensation for your injuries.

 

Image credit: Michael Pereckas/Flickr

Personal Injury Lawyer at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers Toronto

Gary Neinstein Q.C.

Partner, Personal Injury Lawyer

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Area of Expertise

Accident Benefit Dispute

 

Accident benefits, or "no-fault" benefits, are available to anyone involved in a car accident, regardless of who is responsible. At Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers, we can help advance your accident benefit claim while providing you and your family with the guidance and resources necessary to focus on your recovery. Our accident benefits lawyers based in the Toronto region will act as your advocate and trusted advisor in all matters related to personal injury litigation.

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Personal Injury Lawyer at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers Toronto

Gary Neinstein Q.C.

Partner, Personal Injury Lawyer

More Posts View Bio

Area of Expertise

Accident Benefit Dispute

 

Accident benefits, or "no-fault" benefits, are available to anyone involved in a car accident, regardless of who is responsible. At Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers, we can help advance your accident benefit claim while providing you and your family with the guidance and resources necessary to focus on your recovery. Our accident benefits lawyers based in the Toronto region will act as your advocate and trusted advisor in all matters related to personal injury litigation.

More Posts Legal Support

Book A Free Consultation

We will not charge you unless your case is successful.


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At Neinstein we have been advocating for injured victims for over 50 years. Our committed and compassionate team will do everything necessary to help you and your family find solutions to the new challenges that arise from serious injuries.

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