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Q.  In 2004, legislative changes were made to reduce damages awards in auto accident cases and keep insurance premiums down.  What changes were made?

A.  The main changes were:

(a)  $2,500 deductible on all pain and suffering claims;
(b)  lost wages recovered on 100% of net;
(c)  collateral source compensation to be deducted from the recovery;
(d)  collateral source is deducted where the provider of the benefit retains no right of subrogation;
(e)  insurers shall attempt to settle claims as expeditiously as possible, with failure to comply to be considered in awarding costs;
(f)  where the insurer admits liability in part or in whole, the insurere shall make prepayments, with failure to comply to be considered in awarding costs;
(g)  application may be made for an order for payment of compensation periodically;
(h)  minimum reduction of damages by 25% for failure to wear seat belt, unless claimant establishes failure to wear assembly did not contribute to the injury or death (reverse onus).

These changes to the law apply only where the claim is against an automobile insured.  They would not affect any other injury litigation or claim.

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