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Insurance claim denials leave some COVID-19 sufferers planning ‘for the worst’

Solarina Writer

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Published Thursday, January 28, 2021 7:00AM ESTLast Updated Thursday, January 28, 2021 8:39AM EST

Chantal Renaud and David Lackey

“A lot of employers have actually been really more tolerant of people’s post-COVID (situation),” said Daniel Lublin, a partner with employment law firm, Whitten & Lublin. It has been the insurance companies that have been more difficult, he noted.

“The amount of claims that are being denied are skyrocketing right now. This is a huge, huge problem where people are unable to get appropriate coverage.”

There is currently no data available to determine what the trends have been relating to COVID-19 claims, according to the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA), the industry group to which insurance companies directed’s queries. The group also could not speak to specific claims, but a spokesperson said in an email that coverage is “generally based on an assessment of an individual’s condition and the requirements of their job.”

This is a new virus, there’s no history or precedence for it, several employment and disability lawyers told, and no one knows yet what this disease is going to be like in two years or over the long term. With policies differing from insurer to insurer, there are no easy or straightforward answers on why disability coverage might be denied, they add.

In some instances, employees are also placed in the difficult situation of being barred from returning to work by their employer due to COVID-19 concerns, but denied coverage by the insurance company while they are on leave, according to Oyelowo. It’s a tough situation, though not insurmountable, she said.

One insurance company that responded to’s queries regarding disability claims declined to comment on hypothetical or specific examples or cases, citing privacy considerations.

“We empathize with anyone who has lost a loved one to COVID, or who is struggling themselves with this new virus that has so many unknowns,” said Diane Bezdikian, a senior vice-president of plan member services with Canada Life, via email, adding that claims related to COVID-19 are assessed on a case-by-case basis, just like any other claim, in part due to varying plan coverages.

“Generally speaking, companies with Canada Life’s standard disability group coverage provide their plan members with a level of income replacement, for a specified time frame when they can’t work due to disease or injury. Plan members are eligible for disability benefits if they meet the plan’s definition of disability, including where disability is caused by COVID-19 infection.”

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At Strype Injury Lawyers, it is BUSINESS AS USUAL

Strype Injury Lawyers Toronto, At Strype Injury Lawyers, it is BUSINESS AS USUAL

At Strype Injury Lawyers, it is BUSINESS AS USUAL

And, we are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

We are committed to taking care of our employees
and are ensuring their safety and well-being. We
are providing excellent service to our clients and service providers.

We can virtually conduct examinations/meetings in
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Stay Home Stay Safe.

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Hit and Run Car Accidents

Careless drivers causing death or bodily harm could get a maximum penalty of a $50,000 fine, up to two years in jail and a licence suspension of up to five years.
Report the accident to the police or a collision reporting centre (CRC) within 24 hours.

What to do in a hit and run accident

1. If anyone was injured during the hit and run accident, call 911.

2. Ask anyone who may have witnessed the incident to get information about the driver, car(s) involved and accident.

Don’t forget to get their contact information in case the police or your insurer needs to follow up. If possible, gather the following:

  • Licence plate number
  • The other vehicle’s make, model and colour
  • Description of the other driver
  • Direction the other vehicle was headed
  • Location, time and cause of the accident
  • Photos of the damage to your vehicle, especially if the other car’s paint is visible where the impact took place
  • Photos of the accident scene
  • Description of damage to the other vehicle

3. Report the accident to the police or a collision reporting centre (CRC) within 24 hours.

Your report helps the police apprehend the guilty party. Give them all the information you’ve gathered, as well as the names and numbers of any witnesses.

Can I Get Collision Reports Online?

Yes, once the report has been filed and processed, you can get a copy of your collision report online through Service Ontario. They can be ordered online 20 days after the collision report was filed. To gain access to the report you will be required to supply your driver’s license number, collision report number, and MTO collision reference number. $12 fee applies.

Order a collision report online here.

Ontario Collision Reporting Centres

There are more than 30 collision reporting centres dispersed across the province of Ontario.

GTA Collision Reporting Centres

Collision reporting centre Toronto : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Newmarket : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Scarborough : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Mississauga : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre North York : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Whitby : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Brampton : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Ajax (Durham) : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Halton North : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Halton South : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Halton West : Contact Information

Hamilton and Niagara Region Collision Reporting Centres

Collision reporting centre Niagara Falls : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Welland : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre St. Catharines : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Hamilton Central : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Hamilton East : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Hamilton Mountain : Contact Information

Additional Collision Reporting Centres In Ontario

Collision reporting centre Barrie : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Bellville : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Brantford : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Chatham-Kent : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Guelph : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Ottawa : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre London : Contact Information
Collision reporting centre Kingston : Contact Information
OPP collision reporting centre: Contact Information

NOTE – Not all cities have an accident reporting centre. If you are involved in an accident in a towns or rural area in Ontario that does NOT have a reporting centre, call the local police department.

Get a full list of Ontario collision reporting centres here.

4. Notify your auto insurance company.

If you want to file a not-at-fault insurance claim, note that most insurance companies require that any hit-and-run damage be reported to the police within 24 hours for the claim to be considered a hit-and-run.

What not to do

1. Don’t follow a driver who flees the scene.

Not only is it unsafe, but you might miss getting eyewitness accounts. Instead, call the police and provide any identifying information to them.

2. Don’t wait to call the police or your auto insurance company.

The official accident report will help police look for the missing driver and will be useful when you file your accident claim.

How does a hit-and-run affect your auto insurance premium?

A hit-and-run accident claim is paid out under the collision coverage of your auto insurance policy. You may be able to avoid this cost if you have a $0 deductible coverage included on your policy. Note that hit-and-run accidents are typically the only accident in which you are not at fault for which you will be required to pay your collision deductible.

However, if the driver who hit your car can be identified, the loss may be paid out under the Direct compensation property damage coverage of your policy which is normally not subject to a deductible. For this reason, it’s always best to speak to any potential witnesses.

All is well that ends well

A “hit and run” is when a person involved in an accident leaves without identifying itself. What to do if you are the victim of a hit and run?

Settlement process in a hit and run

  1. Police report release
    Contact the police as soon as possible. They will fill in and give you the number of the report. Note that some police forces no longer draw up reports for hit and runs. This does not affect your claim. You can then contact your insurer or broker directly.
  2. Contact your insurer
    Call your insurer or broker as soon as possible. Send him a copy of the police report number.
  3. Appraise the damage
    Your insurer will examine your vehicle to appraise the damage and establish the cost of repairs. He may suggest a garage for the repairs. You may also choose your own.
  4. Agree on a settlement
    Your insurer will repair your car according to the terms and conditions under your policy.
  5. Indemnity payment
    Depending on the agreement, your insurer may indemnify you or reimburse the garage directly.


You will be compensated if you purchased collision coverage (“All Perils” or “Collision or Upset” under Section B of your policy). Your insurer will indemnify you within 60 days following receipt of your request and the supporting documents. For a speedy claims settlement, make sure you have all the relevant documents handy.


The insurer will deduct the amount of the policy deductible from the compensation. A number of insurers offer no deductible coverage for hit and runs. Check it out!


Former MPP advocates for phones down law to combat distracted walking

Yvan Baker’s bill includes fines for cellphone use while crossing roadways.

Former MPP Yvan Baker, at Bloor Street and Royal York Road, displays his legislation, the Phones Down, Heads Up Act (Bill 11), on his phone. The bill aims to ban pedestrians from crossing the road while holding and using certain wireless electronic devices. – Staff/Metroland

A new study reporting the impact of cellphone distraction on pedestrians has revived Yvan Baker’s advocacy efforts on the behalf of his so-called “Zombie Bill.”

The Phones Down, Heads Up Act — which effectively died in the Ontario Legislature when its one-term Liberal MPP author lost his bid for re-election in Etobicoke Centre on June 7 — aimed to ban pedestrians from using cellphones and other mobile devices when crossing roadways.

Had it successfully passed, Baker’s Bill 11 would have seen the enactment of incremental fines against distracted walkers: $50 for the first offence, $75 for the second, $125 for the third and beyond — penalties he said might have acted as a deterrent against the “increasingly dangerous” practice of texting and walking.

Read the article, here:

The Vision Zero Road Safety Plan

The Vision Zero Road Safety Plan  is a comprehensive five year (2017-2021) action plan focused on reducing traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on Toronto’s streets. With over 50 safety measures across our six emphasis areas, the Plan prioritizes the safety of our most vulnerable road users, through a range of initiatives.

The Vision Zero Road Safety Plan is a bold pledge to improve safety across our city using a data-driven and targeted approach, focusing on the locations where improvements are most needed. The Plan addresses safety for the most vulnerable users of our transportation system—pedestrians, school children, older adults and cyclists. Based on factors that contribute to serious injury and fatality crashes, the plan will also focus on aggressive and distracted driving, and safety for motorcyclists.

The City is committed to Vision Zero and accepts its fundamental message: fatalities and serious injuries on our roads are preventable, and we must strive to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries to ZERO.

Watch video, here:

Health organizations call for vaping regulations

A day after Canada’s first confirmed case of respiratory illness linked to vaping, health leaders call on the government to immediately implement several regulations. Nigel Newlove has the story.

Watch the news story, here:

Officials announce what’s believed to be Canada’s first vaping-related illness

Health authorities in London, Ontario have identified vaping as the primary cause for one teen’s severe respiratory illness. Richard Southern with the potential health risks of the smoking alternative, and the action the province may take.

Watch the video, here:

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Pedestrian Safety: Toronto Police Public Safety Portal


View traffic related collisions data involving Pedestrians. These events include any serious or fatal collision where a Pedestrian is involved.

Definition: A pedestrian is a person not occupying a bicycle or motor vehicle and can be doing any of the following:

  • walking,
  • sitting,
  • lying,
  • standing,
  • working on a road or place, or
  • using a small wheeled device that provides personal mobility such as the following:
  • skateboard,
  • skates,
  • in-line skates,
  • scooter,
  • segway,
  • stroller,
  • wheelchair.

How to use Dashboards

Dashboards can be viewed using the following browsers: Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer 11, Chrome desktop latest version, Safari Mac latest version, Firefox desktop latest version.

Toronto Female pedestrian killed in downtown collision: pedestrian fatalities increase

Incident occurred at Queen Street East and Victoria Street at about 9 a.m. Wednesday

CBC News · Posted: Jun 26, 2019 10:00 AM ET | Last Updated: June 26

The intersection of Queen and Victoria streets was blocked after a female pedestrian was struck Wednesday morning. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

A female pedestrian was killed Wednesday morning in a collision downtown, according to Toronto police.

Emergency crews were called to the intersection of Queen Street East and Victoria Street around 9 a.m.

Police say they found a woman unconscious and not breathing.

Read more, here:

There’s been a surge of pedestrian accidents on Toronto Streets, including fatal accidents.

Toronto Police Statistics, Traffic:

Tesla sued by family of man killed in autopilot crash

By Faiz Siddiqui, The Washington Post Published 3:04 pm PDT, Wednesday, May 1, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO – The family of a man killed in a fiery wreck last year while driving his Tesla along U.S. Route 101 in California is suing the electric vehicle maker, alleging wrongful death and negligence stemming from failures and false promises regarding the Autopilot driver-assistance system.

Walter Huang, a 38-year-old Apple engineer, was driving his Tesla Model X SUV in Mountain View, California, on Autopilot mode in March 2018 when it sped up to 71 mph and crashed into a safety barrier, killing Huang and leaving behind a heap of charred wreckage.

In a statement early Wednesday, the family alleges that Autopilot was at fault. Tesla has been gradually increasing the sophistication of the driver-assistance system – and has promised “full self-driving” capabilities for its vehicles by the end of the year – but some critics say the Autopilot software gives drivers a false sense of security.


“Mrs. Huang lost her husband, and two children lost their father because Tesla is beta testing its Autopilot software on live drivers,” Mark Fong, a partner at Minami Tamaki LLP, one of the firms representing the family, said in a statement. “The Huang family wants to help prevent this tragedy from happening to other drivers using Tesla vehicles or any semi-autonomous vehicles.”

Autopilot is an advanced driver-assistance system with features such as traffic-aware cruise control and lane keeping assistance that are meant to keep the car at speed, maintain a safe distance from traffic and follow road markings. But the family alleged Tesla’s marketing of Autopilot left Huang with an inflated impression of the technology’s capabilities.

The case, which is one of several lawsuits Tesla has faced related to its Autopilot system in recent years, could have broader consequences for the company as it tries to convince more consumers to purchase its vehicles. Alleged Autopilot problems may also result in higher regulatory hurdles for the company as it attempts to roll out a fleet of self-driving taxis, something chief executive Elon Musk has said Tesla plans to introduce in coming years.

Attorneys said they would push for information on the full extent of Autopilot-related crashes and injuries as part of the discovery process.

In a call with reporters Wednesday, Fong — joined by Huang’s widow, Sevonne Huang — said the engineer had purchased the Tesla as a birthday gift after saving up. But soon after his purchase, he complained to family members about the alleged Autopilot flaws, Fong said. He also brought the car into a dealer, who initially failed to replicate the issue and told him to keep driving, Fong added.

Tesla previously said that it searched its service records and couldn’t find that Huang complained about the performance of Autopilot. Instead, the company said he complained about a navigation problem, which is unrelated to Autopilot performance. The company introduced a feature known as “Navigate on Autopilot” in October 2018, well after the crash.

Huang “believed the 2017 Tesla Model X vehicle was safer than a human-operated vehicle,” the complaint filed in court said. The suit accuses Tesla of defective product design, intentional and negligent misrepresentation and false advertising, among other allegations.

“The navigation system of Huang’s Tesla misread the lane lines on the roadway, failed to detect the concrete median, and failed to brake the car, but instead accelerated the car into the median,” the statement from attorneys said Wednesday.

“That system is not safe, is not something that should be released to the public and certainly should not be advertised as an Autopilot system,” Fong added during the call with reporters.

The family is also suing the state of California, alleging the state’s department of transportation, Caltrans, failed to replace a crash attenuator guard after a Toyota Prius 11 crashed days earlier, a component that would have better absorbed the impact of the high-speed collision. Tesla attributed the severe damage, which it described as unprecedented for the Model X, to the lack of an attenuator guard.

A Tesla spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit. Caltrans said it does not comment on pending litigation.

The National Transportation Safety Board in June issued a preliminary report on the crash, concluding that the car was in Autopilot mode and Huang’s hands were detected on the wheel three times, for 34 seconds total, in the minute before the crash. Huang’s hands were not detected in the last six seconds. Autopilot issues intermittent warning cues to ensure drivers are paying attention, and the last such alert came more than 15 minutes before the crash, said NTSB.

The suit further alleged that while Tesla advertised the Model X as “state-of-the-art,” Huang’s lacked an automatic emergency braking system that could have prevented a crash into the highway barrier, despite that technology already being deployed on vehicles from other automakers, such as Chrysler, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Subaru.

The family argues Tesla and Caltrans are liable in Huang’s death and are seeking medical and hospital, funeral and burial expenses and other compensation in California Superior court.