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LAT Denies Request for New House Due to Insufficient Housing Assessment

The decision in Mirzaie v. Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, 2021 ONLAT 19-009605/AABS, involves a statutory accident benefits claim in which the claimant sought a rehabilitation benefit for a new house at a cost of close to $1.3 million.

The claimant sustained significant injuries in a motor vehicle accident. At the time of the accident, he was living in a one-bedroom rental apartment. A housing expert retained by the claimant recommended the purchase of a new house due to accessibility issues with the claimant’s current apartment.

The claimant’s request was denied by Adjudicator Gosio of the Licence Appeal Tribunal, who stated that the housing expert should have assessed and commented on possible modifications to the claimant’s existing apartment and/or to a ground floor apartment that may provide access to a backyard and/or open space.

Adjudicator Gosio noted that the insurer is not obligated to pay the cost of the purchase of a new home in excess of the cost of renovating the claimant’s existing home. As a result, it was necessary to determine the cost to modify or renovate the claimant’s current premises even though the premises may never actually be modified or renovated.

Adjudicator Gosio concluded that the insurer’s cost obligations with respect to the purchase of a new home could not be determined because the expert failed to assess the cost of renovating the claimant’s existing home.