In this seminar, Paul Bosco reviews the basics of disability insurance and making sure you are protected. Disability insurance includes coverage of medical expenses, partial coverage of payment while you are unable to work, and can sometimes include a one-time lump-sum payment.
It’s important to take the time to consider the level that you and your family want to be protected before an incident occurs. If you are self-employed, this may mean shopping around to see what kind of coverage is available to you. Even if you have coverage through work, you are going to want to review your policy to ensure that it includes everything you may need.
Most people think they have more coverage than they actually do. They think they have blanket coverage that protects them if something bad happens no matter what. Unfortunately, insurance contracts are riddled with exclusions that dictate what they will and will not pay. Make sure you are forthcoming when you apply for insurance, particularly in regards to any pre-existing medical issues and take the time to confirm that the insurer is still willing to cover you. If you aren’t sure what information the insurer is asking for in any part of the application, make the effort to get clarification and be sure you fully understand what information you must provide. If you are not forthcoming about your medical history, the insurer may not cover you in the event something happens.
If you are unsure about your policy coverage, make sure you contact a lawyer who has experience in this area.
In most cases, you have to report your claim in a short period of time either on the phone or online. Once this is done, an adjuster will be assigned to your case. It’s also important to follow up and make sure the claim is being processed without any problems.
Just because your claim is denied does not mean that you are at the end of the road. Review your policy to see if there are appeal provisions and any time limits on appeals. In some cases, you need to exhaust internal appeal procedures before you can exercise other options. Get some help from a lawyer who practices insurance law so you can explore your options without worrying about missing a limitation period. In BC you have two years to dispute a claim. If you miss that time limit, you may be barred from an appeal. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you by consulting an insurance lawyer as soon as possible, after your claim has been denied.
Need help understanding your insurance policy? You are welcome to contact anyone of our lawyers.
In this segment, Owen Barclay, a contractor and Certified Aging in Place Specialist, walks us through the benefits of Adaptive Housing. Traditional construction methods mean that the average home has been built with barriers to people with physical limitations including seniors and people who have suffered a catastrophic injury. Adaptive Housing is about opening up spaces and making them accessible to everyone, giving them independence; this is called Universal Design.
A Certified Aging in Place Specialist is someone who is accredited by the National Association of Home Builders. This can be anyone in the field from a nurse, architect, general contractor, or occupational therapists who come together with a common set of consistent goals and deliverables to help people live longer, safer and more comfortably in their own homes.
When working on a home renovation, Owen often works with a team that consists of any number of people concerned for the care and well being of the individual who is facing mobility challenges. They take a look at individuals’ specific needs and customize the home environment to allow for easy navigation and independence.
Every client and situation is unique. Common adaptations address basic essential needs that are often overlooked by those untrained in the field such as dressing, eating, moving through the home, hygiene and toileting.
Bathrooms are the most common place for these renovations. By adapting to suit the individual’s specific needs, greater independence is achieved. Some examples are lowered grab bars for shorter individuals, higher toilets for aging people, non-slip and heated floors, accessible plugs, and extended door widths to allow for walkers and wheelchairs.
Individuals who need to adapt their living spaces have varied financial circumstances. Some people wish to retire in their home, while others have physical limitations as a result of an injury. Owen and the team can prioritize needs to get most things done within a variety of budgets.
Owen reviews some of the financing options available through BC Housing, WorkSafeBC, Veterans Affairs, extended health plans, ICBC, etc. He notes that you should always confirm in writing that the funding is available for your situation before you agree to have any work done on your home.
A lawyer often plays a role if the source of money for adaptive housing is going to be coming from a payout due to an accident. Typically, if you have a personal injury claim with ICBC, a lawyer will be involved. A lawyer can also help with drafting or reviewing renovation contracts, although this is likely to be a lawyer versed in construction law and not the personal injury lawyer representing you in your ICBC claim. Every contract should be in writing and include a detail description of the work, the cost, and the timeline. This helps to protect everyone involved.
For more information check out accessable.ca
Jeff Nieuwenburg of Murphy Battista LLP’s Vancouver office provides an overview of what you need to know when hiring a lawyer.
If you are looking for a lawyer to represent you after a car accident or other injury there are a few important things to keep in mind.
The Law Society of British Columbia has a Lawyer Directory that shows if a lawyer is a practicing member, how long they have been in practice, and if there have been any disciplinary measures taken against them.
Even though lawyers are not allowed to call themselves “specialists,” the reality is that personal injury is a specialized field of law. Therefore, it is wise to make sure you hire someone who knows this specific area of law, has done personal injury claims, and has gone, and is prepared to go, to trial. If you want to research a lawyer’s track record in court on a particular type of case, you can read their past judgments through CANLii.
Most lawyers will do a free consultation over the phone or in person. There is no obligation to hire them at that point. The majority of personal injury lawyers do not charge hourly, rather they bill a percentage of the damages that you recover called a contingency fee. There is a cap of 33% of the claim for motor vehicle accidents and 40% for non-motor vehicle accidents in the contingency fee. Frequently, lawyers will set their contingency fees at a lower precentage and that amount will be set out in a contingency fee agreement that you will be asked to sign.
Bring all the paperwork related to the accident that you can. For example, the police report, doctors notes, photos from the scene of the accident, your ICBC case number, all notices or mail you have received from ICBC, witness information etc. For a comprehensive list click here and scroll down to the “Meeting Checklist.” If you don’t have some of these documents, don’t worry, your lawyer you hire will help you collect it.
Make sure you clarify how long have they been working as a personal injury lawyer, not just how long they have been practising. What sort of benefits are you entitled to through ICBC, and who is going to be handling your claim all the way through? Just because you met with a specific lawyer, does not mean you are obliged to hire them. Ask yourself whether you are comfortable with them. Did they take the time to answer your questions in a way that is clear to you? It’s important that they take the time to explain the process to you in a way that you can make informed decisions about your own case. It is always a good idea to get a second opinion. You are able to change lawyers at any time.
Andrew Brine of our Vancouver office provides an overview of human rights in the employment context with a focus on duty to accommodate persons with disabilities in the workplace.
Complaints against employers arise when employees with a disability experience adverse treatment or discrimination, that can include terminations, demotions or pay cuts. Most battles are fought over proving the employee’s disability was a factor in the employer’s adverse treatment.
Canadian human rights legislation imposes a positive duty on employers to accommodate persons with disabilities to the point of undue hardship. Accommodation can include modifying the physical workspace, temporary assignments, a leave of absence or a substantive change in job duties. Employees must provide sufficient medical information about their functional limitations to trigger the need for accommodation. They also must mitigate their losses.
Employers are not required to accommodate an employee if the required changes would result in an undue hardship for the employer. What circumstances will constitute “undue hardship” for an employer is determined on a case-by-case basis. Indicators that undue hardship may result include affordability of the required accommodations, operational needs, and an unreasonable change of standards. If an employer can demonstrate undue hardship, the employer is discharged from this duty.