Balachandran v. Economical Insurance (21-014940)

The claimant applied to the LAT in order to dispute the hourly rates for ACBs being prescribed by his insurer. Adjudicator Kaur found that the LAT did not have jurisdiction to rule on the matter because there was no dispute regarding the claimant’s eligibility to a benefit under the SABS. The amount being claimed in his Form 1 for ACBs was approved by the insurer. The insurer requested that the claimant submit an expense claim so that he could be compensated for his out-of-pocket expenses for ACBs. The claimant argued that the LAT possessed jurisdiction as the insurer had reportedly disputed the hourly rate at which ACBs were to be paid. Adjudicator Kaur ruled that the LAT did not have jurisdiction to hear the application because neither the claimant’s entitlement to ACBs, nor the amount of the ACB being approved was in dispute. The claimant’s application was dismissed.

Vaitheeswaran v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (2022 ONSC 6346)

The claimant appealed the Tribunal’s decision regarding the quantum of ACBs awarded, and the date interest began to accrue. The claimant also sought judicial review of a FSCO decision relating to housekeeping expenses. The Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the Tribunal did not commit any legal errors in its award of ACBs. The Court agreed that basic supervisory care was generally not payable for the cost of emotional support. The Court also accepted that the Tribunal’s denial of attendant care benefits for cleaning tasks that overlapped with housekeeping chores was appropriate. The Court agreed with the Tribunal’s holding that interest on ACBs only began from the date upon with the Form 1 was submitted to the insurer, as the SABS did not require payment of ACBs prior to submission of the Form 1. The Court also dismissed the judicial review of the FSCO decision, holding that FSCO correctly found itself functus officio in relation to a claim for housekeeping expenses after a consent order was made dismissing the claim, following a settlement between the claimant and the insurer.

Majerczyk v. Economical Mutual Insurance Company (20-004327)

The claimant applied to the LAT seeking CAT determination under criteria 7 and 8 and entitlement to post-104 IRBs, ACBs, and various medical benefits. Vice-Chair Johal found that the claimant was not catastrophically impaired and was not entitled to ACBs, assistive devices, the in-dispute psychology treatment, or occupational therapy treatment. The claimant was entitled to IRBs, medical marijuana, lidocaine injections, physiotherapy, and a psychology assessment. With regards to CAT determination, Adjudicator Johal stated that while it was clear the claimant suffered impairments as a result of the accident and had limitations and restrictions to her daily life, simply showing that she was restricted and limited is not sufficient to meet the CAT test under the SABS.

Nesbesnuik v. Aviva General Insurance Company (20-007540)

The claimant applied to the LAT seeking entitlement to an attendant care benefit (“ACBs”) and assistive devices including a lawnmower with snow blower attachment, cell phone, and computer. Adjudicator Pahuta found that the claimant had failed to establish that ACBs had been incurred. The only evidence before the Tribunal was a written statement authored by the claimant, which was insufficient. Adjudicator Pahuta further concluded that the disputed lawnmower would fall under the housekeeping and home maintenance activities exception of s. 16(3)(l)(ii) meaning that it would not be payable as a rehabilitation benefit. Regarding the cell phone and computer, the Tribunal determined that the claimant failed to establish that either device was reasonable and necessary. Adjudicator Pahuta relied heavily on the fact that the claimant had failed to establish why these specific branded items were required and whether these expenses were truly considered accident-related. The application was dismissed.

Carleton v. Unica Insurance Inc. (20-002008)

The claimant was injured in an accident and applied for an attendant care benefit but was denied on the basis that it was not reasonable or necessary. Vice Chair Johal found that the claimant was entitled to 315 minutes per week of attendant care that had been incurred for feeding and 45 minutes per week for attendant care for hygiene. Relying on the findings from the claimant’s occupational therapist, Vice Chair Johal found that the attendant care for feeding and hygiene was reasonable and necessary based on the claimant’s self-reported dizziness and decreased balance. Vice Chair Johal held that the claimant was not entitled to 1260 minutes per week (3 hours per day) of basic supervisory care. The basic supervisory care was not reasonable or necessary as the claimant testified that she was able to identify and respond to an emergency situation. Regarding whether the benefit was incurred or not, the claimant’s mother and husband provided attendant care. However, the claimant failed to produce any evidence of an economic loss of the claimant’s husband or mother, nor was there any evidence that either of them were providing attendant care assistance in the course of the employment, occupation or profession in which they would ordinarily have been engaged. As such, Vice Chair Johal found that the attendant care benefits were not incurred.

Z .R. v. Gore Mutual Insurance Company (18-000017)

The claimant applied to the LAT seeking entitlement to attendant care benefits in the amount of $8,280.86 per month, various medical benefits, and the cost of examinations (including $11,250.00 for CAT assessments). The claimant had been declared catastrophically impaired in a previous LAT decision. As a preliminary issue, the insurer argued that pursuant to s. 56 of the SABS the claimant was barred from proceeding with his application for ACBs for failing to dispute a denial of the benefit within the two-year limitation period. Adjudicator Hines decided that the claimant was not barred from applying for ACBs. While Adjudicator Hines agreed with the insurer that a partial approval of ACBs triggered the limitation clock and the application was made two years after the partial approval, Adjudicator Hines found that the limitation period did not apply based on the guidance outlined in the Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Tomec. With regards to whether the claimed ACBs were reasonable and necessary, Adjudicator Hines held that being catastrophically impaired does not necessarily entitle a claimant to the maximum available under the SABS and found that the claimant did not meet the burden of proving that he required 24/7 supervision. Adjudicator Hines analyzed the various Form 1s and found that the claimant was entitled to reduced amounts for ACBs during two specific time periods. With regards to medical benefits, Adjudicator Hines found that the claimant was entitled to the disputed physiotherapy and psychological treatment as well as a functional abilities assessment. The proposed CAT assessments were partially reasonable and necessary in the amount of $4,200.00. Adjudicator Hines noted that not all the assessments were relied on at the previous hearing, the amount proposed for some assessments was above the $2,000 cap, and the claimant failed to articulate how some of the assessments were reasonable and necessary. The claimant was not entitled to the amount claimed for mileage related to occupational therapy treatment. Adjudicator Hines decided not to address the claimant’s submissions related to housekeeping benefits because entitlement to housekeeping benefits was not listed as an issue in dispute in previous LAT orders scheduling the hearing.

Day v. BelairDirect Insurance Company (20-005603)

The claimant sought catastrophic impairment designation under Criterion 8 as a result of her involvement in an April 2016 accident. Both parties agreed that the claimant had a class 4 marked impairment due to a mental or behavioural disorder, but the insurer denied that her mental or behavioural disorder was caused by the accident and submitted that the accident did not cause any change to her pre-accident psychological impairments. Adjudicator Neilson found that the claimant’s psychological condition was worse than it was prior to the accident, and that the accident had exacerbated her condition. The pre-accident medical records from the claimant’s treating psychiatrist indicated that her major depressive disorder was in remission as of January 2016. She was getting out the house, walking, going to mall, or going for drives as of March 2016. Evidence from the claimant and family members confirmed that prior to the accident, she was functioning adequately (aside from work), but that she was no longer functioning adequately and drank alcohol excessively every day. As such, Adjudicator Neilson found that the claimant was catastrophically impaired as a result of the accident. Adjudicator Neilson also found that the claimant was entitled to attendant care benefits in the amount of $931.57 per month (as recommended by the claimant’s OT, with exception of 16 hours per day of supervision). As the claimant admitted that she had not incurred any attendant care expenses, no attendant care was payable up to the date of the hearing. Adjudicator Neilson further found that psychological counseling, chiropractic treatment, and yoga instruction, as well as the cost of an attendant care assessment were reasonable and necessary as a result of the accident, and therefore payable.

Smith v. Certas Direct Insurance Company (20-006605)

The claimant was involved in an accident in 2017. He applied to the LAT seeking CAT determination under Criteria 2,6, 7, and 8, as well as entitlement to NEBs, ACBs, and medical benefits. Causation was a key issue at the hearing. Adjudicator Hines held that the “but for” test was the appropriate test to determine causation. The crux of the dispute was whether the accident led to the progression of pre-existing peripheral arterial disease resulting in the above-knee amputation of the claimant’s right leg in September 2020. Adjudicator Hines found that the claimant was catastrophically impaired under Criteria 2 because the accident was a “but for” cause of the amputation, and entitled to NEBs, ACBs, chiropractic treatment, and the cost of CAT assessments. He was not entitled to the cost of a home exercise program. Adjudicator Hines allowed the insurer to rely on late-served CAT reports as they were responding to a new OCF-19 submitted by the claimant. Adjudicator Hines excluded an insurer addendum report as it was served two-days before the hearing and there was no reason why the causation issue addressed in the addendum report could not have been addressed in the initial report.

K.G. v. Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (20-003724)

The claimant disputed his entitlement to ACBs in relation to a 1999 accident. The Fund stopped paying ACBs in 2000 without a proper notice, and agreed to reinstate ACBs with interest at the Form 1 rate of $120.40, and paid interest at 1 percent per month. The claimant requested that the LAT award ACBs at the rate of $5,575.31 per month from 2000 onwards based on a retroactive Form 1 completed in 2019. The claimant also requested interest at the rate of 2 percent per month, and a special award. Vice Chair Shapiro agreed that the Fund improperly stopped payment of ACBs without proper notice, and that the Fund correctly reinstated ACBs with payment back to 2000 at the rate of $120.41 per month, other than two periods in which a “top-up” of $331.10 was granted when the claimant moved residences. Vice Chair Shapiro rejected the retroactive Form 1 and the suggested need for 24-hour supervision. The retroactive Form 1 was completed by an OT will no familiarity of the Form 1 as it existed in 2000; the documents reviewed by the OT were scant; the OT’s evidence was contrary to the evidence of the claimant’s family members regarding the claimant’s independence; and the OT ignored the claimant’s recovery in the year or two after the accident. Additionally, the claimant’s current treatment team did not support the need for 24 hour supervision. As to interest, Vice Chair Shapiro held that the claimant was entitled to interest at the rate of 2 percent per month, rather than 1 percent per month, based on the Court of Appeal’s decisions in Federico v State Farm, and Sidhu v State Farm. Finally, Vice Chair Shapiro granted a special award of 10 percent on all ACBs that were wrongly withheld. The Fund inappropriately placed ACBs “on hold” without any provision in the SABS allowing it to do so, and there was a delay of almost 20 years in payment of ACBs.

The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company v. Ridi (2022 ONSC 564)

The claimant appealed the Divisional Court’s decision that HST payments on attendant care benefits were included in the $6,000 monthly limits. The Court dismissed the appeal and held that the HST on attendant care services was included in the monthly limit, and was not payable on top of the limit. The Court found that sections 14 and 19, when read together, did not support the interpretation advanced by the claimant and the provisions were not ambiguous. The Court also held that the FSCO Bulletin stating that HST was not included in the SABS limits was not incorporated into the SABS, and was contradicted by the Cost of Goods Guideline, which stating that HST was a reasonable expense and that reasonable expenses were subject to the maximum limits.