Farrugia v. Ahmadi, 2019 ONSC 4261

The plaintiff was in a motor vehicle accident and made a claim to her own insurer for accident benefits. The insurer determined that the plaintiff suffered catastrophic injuries and the plaintiff settled with the insurer for $1.8 million. The plaintiff brought an action in tort seeking damages from the driver and owner of the other vehicle involved in the accident. At trial, counsel for the defendants sought to cross-examine the plaintiff’s guardian of property and the plaintiff herself about the total amounts received for various accident benefits under the settlement. Plaintiff’s counsel objected and the defendant sought a ruling as to what, if anything, regarding the AB settlement could be disclosed as evidence to the jury. The court confirmed that the law permits counsel to ask a question or make reference to receipt of payment or settlement for accident benefits during cross examination when the question or reference is posed for a proper purpose. This evidence should be accompanied with instruction to the jury that collateral benefits will be deducted by the trial judge after the verdict is delivered. The court denied defence counsel permission to ask about the totality of the plaintiff’s settlement as questions of this nature would create a prejudicial effect in the minds of the jury that would exceed the probative value of those questions. The prejudicial effect would be more pronounced because of lack of materiality for asking those questions in the first place, taking into account their relevance to the pleadings.