SGI slammed for 'botched handling' of injured woman's case
Saskatchewan Government Insurance has come under some scathing criticism from the province's highest court over how it handled the case of a woman who was injured in two car crashes.
In a published decision, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal slammed SGI for its "unreservedly botched handling" of Teresa Wilson's case and declared that the province's auto insurer "breached its duty of good faith."
In 1995, Teresa Wilson was rear-ended at a red light and seven months later, in 1996, was involved in a similar crash.
She underwent surgery but continued to suffer from chronic back and neck pain, as well as numbness.
Wilson, an educational consultant with the Education Department, underwent years of chiropractic treatment, physiotherapy and massage therapy.
Then, a decade after the second crash, Wilson received a letter, saying her benefits would be terminated in six months.
"Nobody had spoken to me. Nobody had told me anything about a review, results of a review, or anything, so I had no idea why I was being cut off," Wilson told CBC News.
When she launched a lawsuit, SGI withdrew its plan to cut her off.
"SGI was compelled to acknowledge, at least internally, that it had no legal or factual foundation for its decision," Appeal Court Justice Neal Caldwell wrote in a 20-page decision that justices William Vancise and Ralph Ottenbreit concurred with.
Caldwell dismissed part of a lower court decision that awarded her more than $15,000 in punitive damages, but upheld an award of about $7,800 for "breach of duty of good faith."
"Suffice it to say, the circumstances of this matter are distinctly uncomplimentary to SGI," the decision said. "SGI finds itself in the instant predicament solely by reason of its own conduct."
SGI says it has learned from the experience.
"That wasn't the best way about doing things, so we don't do that any more," SGI spokeswoman Kelley Brinkworth said.
Now, people hear from SGI each time their file is under review, Brinkworth said.