A few weeks ago, a Canadian judge, Justice Acton of the Queens Bench of Saskatchewan, awarded Luciano Branco $5,000,000. The $4.5 million awarded for punitive and aggravated damages was the largest ever handed out in a Canadian court.
CBC Radio’s “The Current” featured a story on Mr. Branco’s journey. Click “Insurance Tactics: Deny, Delay, Defend and Pay Up?” to listen.
Luciano Branco was injured while working in a mine in Kyrgyzstan. As a result of his injury he was eventually rendered disabled. Unfortunately, Mr. Branco’s long-term disability insurer refused to pay the benefits required to replace his income. The
insurer’s refusal to pay was especially hard to understand in light of the fact that the claims department had approved Mr. Branco for payment at a relatively early stage. However, for some unknown reason, the insurers’ in house legal department continued to deny payment of the claim. Following the trial Justice Acton awarded a total of $4,500,000 in punitive and aggravated damages. These damages were meant to compensate Mr. Branco for the additional suffering that had been caused by the insurer’s unreasonable actions.
In his decision, Justice Acton called the companies “calculated,” “abhorrent,” and “reprehensible.” He said they repeatedly, and in his words “maliciously” tried to thwart Mr. Branco’s claim. And Justice Acton didn’t stop there. He said he hoped the ruling would “gain the attention of the insurance industry” … and added “the industry must recognize the destruction and devastation that their actions cause.” Justice Acton was sending a message to the entire insurance community that “a pattern of abuse of an individual suffering from financial and emotional vulnerability” would not be tolerated by the courts.
Two cases at the opposite ends of the spectrum
Once again, Allen Wynperle is co-chairing the Annual Joint Insurance Seminar for the Hamilton Law Association and Insurance Adjusters’ Association on April 30th. It’s the 27th year for the event, which brings together over 300 attendees: lawyers, the insurance community, and healthcare providers. In Allen’s presentation, he’ll provide an update on important accident benefit cases. Two of particular interest represent opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of kind of injury defined by the SABS: catastrophic and minor. They also resulted in interesting and for some, surprising rulings. Continue reading
27th Annual Joint Insurance Seminar
April 30, 2013
Hamilton Law Association – Ontario Insurance Adjusters’ Association (Hamilton Chapter)
Allen Wynperle is part of the planning and organizing committee. He’s also presenting the Top 10 ABI Cases.
Learn more Continue reading
The 2012 Zurich Concussion in Sport Conference also resulted in updated resources for the diagnosis and assessment of concussions.
- Concussion Recognition Tool (CRT)
- Sports Concussion Assessment Tool V3 (SCAT3)
- SCAT3 for children 5-12, in recognition that diagnosis and care for children can be different from that of adults.
Last November, world experts in sports-related concussions gathered at the 2012 Zurich Concussion in Sport Conference. The organizers included the International Ice Hockey Federation, FIFA, and the International Olympic Committee, with participants from highly recognized sports organizations, e.g. NHL and NFL. Continue reading
Until recently, many concussions caused by a blow to the head were categorized as “mild” traumatic brain injuries. Not long ago, such injuries weren’t considered serious as long as there wasn’t other signs of trauma (i.e. loss of consciousness or motor incoordination). Kids and young athletes simply resumed their normal activities, returned to the hockey or soccer they were playing, or went back to class. Continue reading
We’ve all read these stories in the paper and shuddered at the facts. Someone plans a sunny vacation getaway in a tropical paradise and the unthinkable happens—he or she is seriously injured. If the accident had happened at a holiday resort or hotel in Ontario, you can sue for damages arising out of the accident. But what if you’re staying at a holiday resort or international hotel outside of Canada? Can you sue a foreign corporation in an Ontario court?
Injured While on Vacation
This actual situation happened a few years ago in Cuba. In one incident, an individual (the plaintiff), Ms. Van Breda, suffered catastrophic injuries after using faulty equipment set up on the beach. The equipment was owned by the resort where she was staying. Van Breda launched a lawsuit against the Cayman Island resort that operated the facility.
Before the lawsuit was settled, the question went to the Supreme Court of Canada, which also reviewed a separate incident where another individual on vacation in Cuba was killed. The decision in Club Resorts Ltd. v. Van Breda (“Van Breda”) was released this April 18, 2012.
Despite the fact that the accident involved happened in Cuba, it was decided that the injured person could sue in Ontario if one of the following factors existed:
• The vacation company was established in Ontario
• The vacation company was doing business in Ontario
• The injury happened in Ontario
• A contract connected with the dispute was made in Ontario
Protect Yourself When You Book
At Wynperle, we see the long term impact of catastrophic injuries on the lives of individuals and their families. If you are traveling abroad, our advice is to make sure you use a travel agent in Ontario. In many countries, you can’t sue for damages if the unthinkable happens. But if you make your arrangements with an Ontario based agent, your vacation contract is formed here—and you are much better protected.
Additional Requirements for Health Claims for Auto Insurance and Changes to Certain Accident Benefit Claim Forms
The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) is highlighting changes regarding the use of accident benefit claim forms in the Health Claims for Auto Insurance (HCAI) system, and revisions to certain forms (as announced June 21, 2012). Continue reading
Welcome to our new articling student, Aaron Weinroth. Aaron is a graduate of the University of New Brunswick, Faculty of Law and has joined Wynperle Law for the 2012/2013 articling period.
Aaron, we wish you the best successes over the coming year.
All of your friends at Wynperle Law wish you the best of luck and continued success as you embark on your legal career!
For years, judges, lawyers and healthcare experts have struggled with the question of whether or not a motor vehicle accident has caused a person to be disabled. This becomes particularly complicated when a person has been injured in more than one accident. The questions that will affect such decisions in the future include: what actually caused the injury, and when were the benefits “incurred”.
This was most recently demonstrated when the Ontario Court of Appeal delivered its decision in Monk and ING Insurance. Continue reading
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Tagged Accident Benefit Cases, Accident Benefit Law, Allen Wynperle, Car Accident, Complete Inability, Hamilton Personal Injury, Motor Vehicle Accident, Motor Vehicle Collision, Ontario Court of Appeal, Personal Injury Hamilton, Personal Injury Law Brantford, SAB, Wynperle Law
When someone is injured in a motor vehicle collision, you are entitled to benefits through Ontario’s standard auto insurance policy benefits regardless of who is at fault. These benefits are defined by the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) under Ontario’s Insurance Act.
One of the sections of SABS deals with “complete inability ”, that is, when a person suffers a complete inability to engage in any employment for which that person is reasonably suited by education, training or experience. This series of blogs provides an update of case law with respect to the complete inability test under the SABS. Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Accident Benefit Cases, Accident Benefit Law, Allen Wynperle, Canadian Charter of Rights, Car Accident, Chronic Pain, Chronic Pain Disability, Chronic Pain Syndrome, Complete Inability, Hamilton Personal Injury, Motor Vehicle Accident, Motor Vehicle Collision, Personal Injury Hamilton, Personal Injury Law Brantford, SAB, Wynperle Law
Wynperle Law partners with 102.9 K-Lite FM, 1150 CKOC and 820 CHAM to host the Christmas Miracle.
It’s that time of year again, chestnuts roasting, Jack Frost nipping. The Holiday season is upon us with many social gatherings to go to, merriment to be had, mall shopping lots filled to bursting and everyone scrambling to get that latest toy fad! Continue reading