Tort actions arising from motor vehicle accidents in Ontario are legislatively filtered through rules specifically aimed to limit the volume of claims proceeding through our court system.
Filtering tort actions takes place with what is informally referred to as a “verbal threshold” and a “monetary threshold”, which apply to the intangible claim of non-pecuniary damages or pain and suffering.
To succeed in the pain and suffering component of a tort action claim, a defendant through their insurer may take the position that the claim “does not meet the threshold”. The verbal threshold consists of statutory language under the Insurance Act and its regulations which requires the tort claimant to have suffered a “permanent, serious disfigurement or a permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function.”
The monetary threshold acts to deduct monetary damages from the amount awarded for a pain and suffering claim. For example, if the claim for pain and suffering was assessed by a court to be in the amount of $100, 000.00, the monetary threshold serves to reduce this amount pursuant to the applicable deductible. The deducted amount is not provided to anyone and it is merely an amount that the defendant or his or her insurer is spared from paying to the injured party.
In 2003, the monetary deductible was legislated to be in the amount of $30, 000.00. As of 2015, the amount of the deductible has been indexed to inflation. As of the date of the writing of this article, the monetary deductible amount is $39, 556.53, which following from the example above would translate into a net amount payable to an injured claimant of $60, 443.47 from a $100, 000.00 assessment for pain and suffering.
Depending upon the amount of the damage assessment, an injured party can, in limited circumstances, avoid the monetary deductible, or escape the deductible, which is also subject to
indexation. Initially legislated in the sum of $100, 000.00, as of January 1, 2020, a damage assessment for pain in suffering in excess of $131, 854.01 would achieve this result.
In addition to damages for pain and suffering, an injured claimant may also claim damages for past and future income loss, damages for loss housekeeping and home maintenance expenses, and other types of damages.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, feel free to contact our office for a confidential consultation, at no charge.