Significant information is withheld from juries hearing personal injury cases in Ontario. If you are ever chosen to serve as a juror, the law forbids lawyers and judges from telling you the following:
- In almost all cases, the real defendant in a personal injury trial is the insurance company – not the defendant named in the Statement of Claim. For example, in John v. Doe, the real defendant is the company that insured the vehicle that Doe was driving at the time of the accident. However, at trial the Defendant will always be referred to as Doe.
- The defendant that is named in the Statement of Claim will not contribute any money toward the compensation awarded by the jury. The compensation is all paid by the insurance company (including any legal fees or costs associated with an appeal).
- Juries are not told how much insurance coverage the defendant has. In the vast majority of personal injury cases, the defendant will have at least $1,000,000.00 in insurance coverage.
- For motor vehicle accident cases, any compensation awarded by a jury for pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life under $127,000.00 will be reduced by $38,000.00. In other words, if a jury awards a plaintiff $100,000.00 for pain and suffering, he or she will only be left with $62,000.00.
- Any compensation awarded by a jury for pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life that is under $38,000.00 will be reduced to zero. For example, a jury that awards a plaintiff $37,000.00 for pain and suffering will not be told that the plaintiff will receive none of that compensation.
- The insurance company gets to choose the doctors that it will send the plaintiff to. Many times, these doctors carry a pro-insurance company bias.