The Ontario Court of Appeal has restored clarity on when catastrophic impairment should be considered for accident victims and it could have an impact on what the government may do regarding how the definition is treated by the insurance industry.
On Dec. 23, the Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed in Kusnierz v. The Economical Mutal Insurance Co. that psychological impairments should be combined with physical impairments to determine whether a car accident victim has suffered a catastrophic impairment.
The case involved Robert Kusnierz who suffered serious physical injuries in a 2001 car accident, including a below-knee amputation. He also suffered from psychological problems including depression. The Court of Appeal found the judge at Kusnierz’ 2010 trial against his insurance company, Economical, erred when he concluded that Kusnierz’ psychological impairments should not be combined with his physical impairments, and that Kusnierz had therefore not sustained a catastrophic impairment.