Recent Blog Posts

The not-so-independant medial examination

Robert LaBrecque, BridgePoint Financial Services | December 13, 2013 | Posted in Articles

Mr. Bonn's comments clearly point out that whenever possible the qualifications and historical referral history of "Independent" medical experts needs to be explored by injured individuals and their legal representatives prior to attending the assessment. Now more than ever when available funding for rebuttals and tort assessments is restricted, a more aggressive posture is required to safe guard against biased and poorly executed assessments.

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Delegate Rescinds MIG Decision

Grace Tsang, BridgePoint Financial Services | December 10, 2013 | Posted in Commentary

On November 28, 2013, a delegate in the Office of the Director of Arbitrations ordered that the Arbitrator's decision in Scarlett v. Belair Insurance be rescinded1. BridgePoint had reported on the Arbitrator's March 26, 2013, decision as it found that the insured was entitled to seek benefits beyond the Minor Injury Guideline ("MIG") limit because "[w]hen the totality of his injuries is assessed, they come outside of the MIG."

In the appellate decision, the delegate found that the Arbitrator had made several errors in his decision.

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OTLA's Submission to the Review of FSCO's Dispute Resolution Services

Bob Labrecque, BridgePoint Financial Services | September 23, 2013 | Posted in News Updates

OTLA (Ontario Trial Lawyers Association) has weighed in with a series of recommendations directed at the current FSCO review process examining proposed changes to the SAB's. The recommendations are primarily focused on improvements designed to enhance access to justice for injured individuals by shortening the time it takes to resolve disputes with insurers, and to increase the transparency and fairness of the IME and assessment process.

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Lawyers frustrated as motion delays hit 7 months

Robert LaBrecque, BridgePoint Financial Services | September 17, 2013 | Posted in Articles

This recent article in the "Law Times" speaks directly to the challenges of individuals who want to pursue an injury claim through the courts and may lack the necessary financial resources to do so. read more

FAIR Response to CAT Roundtable Discussions

Bob Labrecque, BridgePoint Financial Services | September 9, 2013 | Posted in News Updates

FAIR's response to the Round Table discussions on the proposed "CAT Determination Guidelines" amplifies the need for injured individuals and their lawyers to aggressively manage access to funding and to document insurers refusal to provide treatment as they proceed though the claims process.

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Maurice Bourque, Q.C., speaks at APTLA Conference

Grace Tsang, BridgePoint Financial Services | August 9, 2013 | Posted in Articles

On June 22, 2013, Maurice Bourque, Q.C. spoke at the Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association Moncton conference, Minor Injury, Serious Impairment & Pain: Physicians & Legal Specialists Interpret the Law. The topic of his presentation was "Turning Litigation Loan Interest into a Disbursement".

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Suing over optional car insurance coverage: You can't win.

Robert LaBrecque, BridgePoint Financial Services | June 27, 2013 | Posted in Articles

Alan Shanhoff recently published an article describing the unsuccessful attempt made by an individual injured in a MVA who was unable to access the required insurance benefits to complete their rehabilitation.

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Confirmation on the Recovery of Interest on Disbursement Loans

Grace Tsang, BridgePoint Financial Services | June 13, 2013 | Posted in Commentary

During the assessment of disbursements, the registrar allowed the plaintiffs in Chandi to recover the interest charged by the third party lender and the law firm while in MacKenzie, the registrar disallowed the interest sought to be recovered.

Arguments during both appeals, which were heard together, focussed on the BC Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Milne v. Clarke. In Milne, the plaintiff sought to recover interest charged on a MRI invoice. The Court found that if the invoice giving rise to the interest charge could be assessed as an appropriate disbursement, then the interest itself could be recoverable as a disbursement. Further, the Court found that the interest charged flowed from the necessity of litigation.

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Chandi v. Atwell, 2013 BCSC 830

Vancouver | May 13, 2013 | Posted in Court Decisions

On May 15, 2013, the Supreme Court of British Columbia released its decision on the appeals in Chandi v. Atwell ("Chandi") and MacKenzie v. Rogalasky ("MacKenzie") and allowed the plaintiffs to recover interest on loans obtained to fund disbursements.

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Legal Funding 101: Third Party Financing in Canada

Grace Tsang, BridgePoint Financial Services | June 4, 2013 | Posted in Articles

Grace Tsang, BridgePoint's Director of Legal Services, was recently a guest blogger on RD Legal. She wrote about third party financing options available to both plaintiffs and law firms in Canada and how these options can be used to increase the value of a file and allow law firms to productively run their business.

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Lenworth Scarlett and Belair Insurance Company Inc.

Grace Tsang, BridgePoint Financial Services | March 26, 2013 | Posted in Commentary

On March 26, 2013, the first decision from the Financial Services Commission of Ontario concerning the Minor Injury Guidelines ("MIG") was released. In this decision, Arbitrator Wilson found that the insured was entitled to seek benefits beyond the MIG limit because "[w]hen the totality of his injuries is assessed, they come outside of the MIG." The arbitrator appears to narrowly interpret the application of the MIG by finding that the insured was not subject to the MIG because he had pre-existing conditions and suffered, in addition to the soft tissue injuries, psychological impairments as a result of the motor vehicle accident. Arbitrator Wilson felt that the insurer had failed to meet its onus of proving that the insured fell within the MIG and disregarded evidence to the contrary as to the severity of the insured's injuries. The decision instructs counsel that use of the MIG must be restricted.

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Overhaul of Auto Insurance Long Overdue in Ontario

Robert LaBrecque, BridgePoint Financial Services | February 15, 2013 | Posted in Articles

Mr. Allen Shanhoff of the Toronto Sun recently authored an article commenting on the NDP's call for an insurance rate reduction for Ontario's drivers. The article points out that drastic reductions have been made in the cost of insuring a vehicle due to reduced payouts for Med/Rehab benefits for injured drivers. Darcy Merkur, a personal injury lawyer from Thomson Rogers points out in the article that many of his clients have suffered at the hands of the new regulations.

Clearly the new regulations have achieved the goal of making the auto insurance companies more profitable and as no lowering of insurance premiums has been forecast, it seems fair to assume that until the next FSCO review in 3 years, people injured in motor vehicle accidents will continue to pay the same rates for significantly less and often inadequate benefits.

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FAIR Comment on SABS Regulatory Amendments

Robert LaBrecque, BridgePoint Financial Services | February 4, 2013 | Posted in Articles

Mr. Allen Shanhoff of the Toronto Sun recently authored an article commenting on the NDP's call for an insurance rate reduction for Ontario's drivers. The article points out that drastic reductions have been made in the cost of insuring a vehicle due to reduced payouts for Med/Rehab benefits for injured drivers. Darcy Merkur, a personal injury lawyer from Thomson Rogers points out in the article that many of his clients have suffered at the hands of the new regulations.

Clearly the new regulations have achieved the goal of making the auto insurance companies more profitable and as no lowering of insurance premiums has been forecast, it seems fair to assume that until the next FSCO review in 3 years, people injured in motor vehicle accidents will continue to pay the same rates for significantly less and often inadequate benefits.

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Legal Finance Emerges as a Viable Financing Alternative for Canadian Class Action Claims

Robert Moskowitz, The Legal Finance Journal | January 22, 2013 | Posted in Articles

Compared with the U.S., the Canadian market for legal finance is smaller and more restricted. It is also viewed differently by both the public and those involved in the judicial system.

Litigation funding for Canadian class action lawsuits, for example, tends to be widely accepted as a result of courts explicitly approving indemnity and funding agreements in key cases. The principal reason is that class action lawsuits commonly promote public policy but feature defendants with far deeper pockets than the plaintiffs, and third-party funding has been viewed as an effective way to level the playing field.

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LeBlanc v. Doucet: A Step Forward In The Recovery Of Litigation Loan Interest

Stephen Pauwels, BridgePoint Financial Services | December 5, 2012 | Posted in Commentary

On October 18, 2012, the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick released its decision in LeBlanc v. Doucet and permitted the plaintiff to recover interest on its litigation loans where the funds were spent on court approved disbursements. The plaintiff was of limited means and required a loan in order to advance his action. Prior to obtaining the litigation loans from a private lender, the plaintiff had attempted to obtain loans from financial institutions, but was denied because the litigation was perceived as too risky.

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LeBlanc v. Doucet and the New Brunswick Power Corporation, 2012 NBCA 88

New Brunswick | July 26, 2012 and October 18, 2012 | Posted in Court Decisions

The decision is seminal to individuals considering obtaining litigation loans to help them advance their litigation or otherwise face settling their litigation prematurely or even abandonment.

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Case Commentary – Campbell v. Swetland, 2012 BCSC 423

Grace Tsang, CBA Civil Rights Newsletter | December 4, 2012 | Posted in Articles

As litigation loans grow in popularity, the question arises as to whether the financing costs on such loans can be recoverable against the defendant. Currently, the Courts have only addressed litigation loans obtained for personal expenses and disbursements. There is no decision, reported or unreported, concerning litigation loans used to finance a plaintiff's treatment plan.

The British Columbia Supreme Court trial decision in Campbell v. Swetland, 2012 BCSC 423 reinforces the basic premise echoed by past decisions concerning litigation loans used for personal expenses and disbursements; the Court will examine the reasonableness of the financing costs, the plaintiff's circumstances for seeking a litigation loan; and the expenses for which the litigation loan was used.

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The Dollars and Cents of Treatment Financing

Robert LaBrecque, The Health Professional | November 4, 2012 | Posted in Articles

The Health Professional Magazine Fall edition contains an article that BridgePoint has authored outlining the current pressures faced by treatment providers and their clients as well as exploring the potential use of treatment financing as a solution.

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Pastore v. Aviva Canada Inc., 2012 ONCA 642

Toronto, Ontario | September 27, 2012 | Posted in Court Decisions

On September 27, 2012, the Court of Appeal released its decision in Pastore v. Aviva Canada Inc. One of the issues before the Court concerned the interpretation of s.2(1.1)(g) of The Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule – Accidents on or after November 1, 1996 ("SABS"): was it reasonable that a person could be designated catastrophically impaired under s.2(1.1)(g) where only one out of four categories concerning functional limitation was found to have a marked impairment? The Court of Appeal determined that such a designation could be made. The decision is significant to individuals who would not otherwise meet s.2(1.1)(g) and thereby gain access to better benefits because their overall assessment for catastrophic impairment due to mental or behaviour disorder is not found to be marked or extreme impairment, but are found to have such an impairment in at least one of the four functional limitation categories.

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FSCO CAT Designation Update

Robert LaBrecque, BridgePoint Financial Services | June 29, 2012 | Posted in Commentary

The recently released FSCO Superintendent's Report on CAT Assessment and designation has produced some immediate reaction from many stakeholder groups involved in the process. A review of the report highlights that there is no doubt fewer seriously injured individuals will have access to the med/rehab funds required to obtain appropriate treatment needed to maximize their chances of a full recovery...

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The risky business of investing in lawsuits

Jeff Gray, The Globe and Mail | June 26, 2012 | Posted in Articles

When lawyers in Canada take on a case such as the proposed class action against scandal-plagued Sino-Forest Corp., they usually assume a multimillion-dollar risk: If they lose, the lawyers are on the hook not only for their own costs but also for the other side's defence.

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May 15th Treatment Financing Seminar in Hamilton a Success

Robert LaBrecque, BridgePoint Financial Services | May 16, 2012 | Posted in News

Excellent presentations were followed by a lively and informative Q & A period which offered some very useful perspectives.

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Settlement Loans in Canada 10 Years On: Cautions and Considerations

Stephen Pauwels, BridgePoint Financial Services | May 8, 2012 | Posted in Commentary

I have been actively involved in the litigation finance business since its inception in Canada over a decade ago. During that time I have witnessed a number of developments in this still evolving market: many of them positive – the use of financing for treatment where an insurer has unreasonably denied med/rehab benefits, for example – and some negative.

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