Helen D.K. Friedman offers her clients expertise, value, innovation, and a wealth of experience in a focused practice in the defence of first-party insurance claims. Helen has built trusted industry relationships by representing insurers and providing strategic and sound technical advice in statutory accident benefits, coverage disputes, litigation, and life and disability claims in the courts, regulatory tribunals, private arbitrations and mediations, and across the boardroom table. She is a leader in Miller Thomson’s insurance industry practice.
By leveraging her knowledge of the industry and its key players, decision makers, and emerging trends, Helen provides value-added service including:
Statutory accident benefits: tribunal hearings, appeals, judicial review, complex catastrophic impairment disputes, retroactive attendant care claims, post-104 income replacement claims, Bill 164 claims, structured settlements, and contractual and regulatory interpretation.
Priority/loss transfer disputes: private arbitrations, multiparty/multijurisdictional disputes, dependency analysis, and fault determination/allocation, opinion, and analysis.
Life and disability claims: factual/legal analysis, coverage opinions, extracontractual damage assessments, court proceedings, and mediation.
Helen has been counsel on a number of industry-leading decisions which have established precedents in the areas of catastrophic impairment, consent for examinations, collateral benefit setoff, limitation periods, and fraudulent claims.
Helen speaks and writes on legal developments in insurance regulation. Her commentary reaches a large readership.
An active and proud member of her community, Helen has held leadership positions in local institutions and is currently chair of the Grand River Hospital Foundation. Despite a recent switch from snowboarding to skiing, Helen continues to enjoy time on the slopes of Mont Tremblant with her family. Her free time is spent perusing back issues on Texture/Next Issue and planning her next renovation.
Professional achievements & leadership
- The Best Lawyers in Canada, Insurance Law; Personal Injury Litigation, 2014-2017
- Civil Law/Common Law Exchange Program, 1985
- Ontario Securities Course, 1990
- Breadner v. Co-operators, FSCO A15-005120, January 11, 2017
- Clarkson v. Economical, FSCO A14-006411, June 18, 2015
- Pries v. Economical, FSCO A11-002004, September 9, 2012, FSCO Appeal P12-00036, July 8, 2013
- Luther v. Economical, FSCO A10-003773, May 23, 2012
- Ladhar v. Economical, FSCO A08-00215, October 19, 2009, FSCO Appeal P09-00035, April 24, 2012
- Jaggernauth v. Economical, FSCO A08-001413, December 20, 2010, FSCO Appeal P11-00002, March 4, 2011 and April 19, 2011
- Salem v. Economical, FSCO A10-003634, May 2, 2013
- Marshall v. Federation, FSCO A06-000602, December 18, 2012
- Azimi v. Economical, FSCO A08-002596, August 31, 2011
- Malik v. Economical, FSCO A07-001978, June 26, 2009
- Bhutta v. Economical, FSCO A08-002247, July 17, 2009
- Pereira v. Economical, FSCO A07-00705, January 23, 2008
- Longworth v. Economical, FSCO A05-001539, May 18, 2006
- Kieffer v. Economical, FSCO A05-000494, May 9, 2006
- Mai v. Economical, FSCO A03-000045, February 25, 2004
- Phan v. Waterloo, FSCO A03-00131, June 11, 2004 and June 14, 2005
- Intact v. Economical (RM), Shari Novick, December 5, 2011
- Perth v. State Farm and MVAC (Lad), Shari Novick, May 29, 2009
- St. Paul Travelers v. York Fire, Lee Samis, August 11, 2011
- Economical v. Royal, Lee Samis, August 11, 2011
- Presenter, “Vital Accident Benefits Updates,” at The Advocates’ Society Tricks of the Trade 2013: Staying Ahead of the Curve: Latest Updates, Critical Case Law and New Practical Tips Conference, January 2013
- Presenter, “Civil/Administrative Procedure in Accident Benefits” and “The Take aways from the Pastore decision” to Accident Benefit Unit Managers at a property and casualty insurance company in Waterloo Region, December 2012
- “Is the Courtroom Door Open or Closed?”, MT Insurance Law Blog, November 2016
- “Back to the Future (Contract): Job Offers and Economic Loss for Attendant Care Service Providers”, MT Insurance Law Blog, June 2016
- “Procedural Fairness and Due Process Trump Arbitrator’s Award—Appeal Allowed,” Miller Thomson Ontario Insurance Litigation Blog, March 2016
- “Membership has its Privileges: Expanding Priority—Are Car-Share Insurers Sharing more than they Thought?” Miller Thomson Ontario Insurance Litigation Blog, February 2016
- “Refresh/Reset—Multiple $2,000.00 Deductibles Allowed in Loss Transfer Claims,” Miller Thomson Ontario Insurance Litigation Blog, January 2016
- “Insurer’s Attempt to Short Circuit Dispute Resolution Process Shut Down,” Miller Thomson Ontario Insurance Litigation Blog, October 2015
- “Road Trip Travel Tips – Snowbirds Odyssey in a Post-Trump World”, Kitchener-Waterloo OIAA Bulletin, 2017
- “Not Just Another Crash Test—Singing Those Black Box Blues,” Kitchener-Waterloo OIAA Bulletin, 2015
- “Successful Motion Confirms Defendant’s Right to Prepare Insurer Examiners for Trial,” Ontario Accident Benefit Case Summaries/Lexology, October, 2014
- “Loss Transfer: When Indemnity is not a Slam Dunk,” Without Prejudice, 2014
- “Survelliance: Letting the CAT out of the Bag,” Miller Thomson LLP, 2009
- “Drive By Shootings—Use Or Operation Of An Automobile?” Kitchener-Waterloo Ontario Insurance Adjusters Association, 2008
- “Current Issues in Accident Benefits, Loss Transfer and Priorities,” 2005
- Chair, Grand River Hospital Foundation
- Past Chair, Conestoga College
- Past Chair, Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo
- Past Board Member, Better Business Bureau of Mid-Western Ontario
- Member, Canadian and Ontario Bar Associations
- Member, Law Society of Upper Canada
- Member, Waterloo Law Association
- Member, Hamilton Law Association
- Member, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario Insurance Adjusters Association
- Member, Canadian Defence Lawyers (2016 Nomination Committee)
- Member, Greater KW Chamber of Commerce
- Member, Communitech
- Member, Chief Justice of Ontario Advisory Committee on Professionalism (Past)
Bar admissions & education
- Ontario Bar, 1988
- LL.B., Queen’s University, 1986
- B.A. (honours), McGill University, 1983
- D.E.C., Marianopolis College, 1980
Miller Thomson lawyers recognized in The Best Lawyers in Canada 2017
126 Miller Thomson lawyers from across the country and in numerous areas of law have been recognized for their expertise in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada. This result is up from 122 lawyers ranked last year....
Miller Thomson Kitchener-Waterloo lawyers “ride for Dad”
Lawyers from Miller Thomson’s Kitchener-Waterloo office participated in the Telus Grand River Ride for Dad on Saturday, June 6, 2015 to help raise funds for prostate cancer research. Helen D.K. Friedman and Nick de Koning, Partners in the Kitchener-Waterloo office,...
Helen Friedman quoted in Law Times
Helen Friedman is quoted in an article: “Lawyers surprised at elimination of FSCO mediation backlog”. Launched in 1980, Law Times newspaper, a Thomson Reuters business, is published 40 times a year in print and every Monday online, providing the latest...
Miller Thomson recognized in 2014 Best Lawyers in Canada
We are pleased to announce that 80 Miller Thomson lawyers have been recognized in the 2014 edition of Best Lawyers in Canada (this is 15 more lawyers than last year). Seventeen lawyers are new to the list. Additionally, the following lawyers from...
Helen D.K. Friedman is quoted in the May 7, 2012 edition of Law Times concerning the FSCO Mediation Backlog.
Daniel Strigberger, Helen Friedman, Ashleigh Leon, Caroline Meyer, Gabe Flatt and Monika Bolejszo lead a half day Insurance Institute of Ontario (IIO) seminar on Trends in Litigation.
Helen Friedman, Ashleigh Leon, Bryan Horrigan, Caroline Meyer and Dan Strigberger present to North Waterloo Farmers Mutuals on “How to prepare your file for Arbitration – Dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s.”
Helen Friedman, Ashleigh Leon, Bryan Horrigan, Caroline Meyer, Nick de Koning and Dan Strigberger present to North Waterloo Farmers Mutuals on “How to Prepare your File for Arbitration: Dotting the I’s and Crossing the T’s”.
Presenter at Co-operators General Insurance Company Central Ontario Accident Benefit Unit Managers on Civil/Administrative Procedure in Accident Benefits and “The Take aways from the Pastore decision”.
Helen Friedman speaks on the Reversal of Catastrophic Injury Decision – Robert Kusnierz at the Canadian Insurance Claims Managers Association’s general meeting.
Helen Friedman, Dan Strigberger, and Gord Robson present to a variety of Intact tort adjusters about accident benefit issues.
Helen D.K. Friedman and Daniel Strigberger each speak at the Canadian Defence Lawyer’s Accident Benefits Programme.
Helen Friedman presents “Jaggernauth—the Desbiens “CAT” with 9 Lives?” at Medico-Legal Society of Toronto’s It’s Raining CATS and Dogs event.
It’s Raining CATS and Dogs Where: The Metropolitan Hotel – 108 Chestnut Street, Toronto When: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 Time: 8:30 am – 12 Noon
Helen Friedman is speaking at the Rehab First Inc. Breakfast Seminar Working Within the New SABS: Developing Strategies for Effective Practices
Rehab First Inc. & Bayshore Home Health Present: Working Within the New SABS: Developing Strategies for Effective Practices April 29th, 2010, 8am – 10am The Holiday Inn, Kitchener 30 Fairway Road South Featuring Keynote Speakers: Robert Deutschmann...
Gord Robson and Helen Friedman speak on “Examination for Discovery of an Underwriter,” OMIA seminar
Ontario Mutual Insurers’ Association: Annual Workshop
Miller Thomson’s Southwestern Ontario Insurance Group presents their Annual Workshop at the Ontario Mutual Insurers’ Association facility. The lawyers presenting are: Pat Forte, Randy Carter, Helen Friedman, Lori Sprott, Kate Waterston, Tim McGurrin, Gord Robson and Ted Madison.
The Agony of “De Feet”
Sufficient Medical Reasons the Achilles Heel of the Insured’s Claim (Franic-Temple v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, FSCO A15-006435, March 15, 2017.) When a taxicab ran over Ms. Franic-Temple’s feet and ankles, it was undisputed the medical imaging disclosed...
Is the Courtroom Door Open or Closed?
By way of update to our October 8, 2015 blog featuring Ayr Farmers Mutual v. Wright: “Insurer’s Attempt to Short Circuit Dispute Resolution Process Shut Down”, the insurer’s appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on all grounds October...
Back to the Future (Contract): Job Offers and Economic Loss for Attendant Care Service Providers
When the “future contract” provisions were eliminated from the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule effective April 15, 2004, the industry breathed a sigh of relief that yet another category of “questionable” claims for Income Replacement Benefits were being eliminated. Recall prior...
Procedural Fairness and Due Process Trump Arbitrator’s Award – Appeal Allowed
As the sun begins to set on FSCO, Director’s Delegate Blackman rendered a Preliminary Issues Appeal order in Waldock v. State Farm (FSCO Appeal P15-00068, March 18, 2016) which serves as a helpful reminder to those who descend into the...
Membership has its Privileges: Expanding Priority – Are Car-Share Insurers Sharing more than they Thought?
The car-share model is coming of age in many urban centres. The attractions of the car-share concept include reduced urban traffic congestion, generational mind shifts about car ownership, increasing costs of personal vehicle ownership and environmental sustainability. According to recent...
Refresh/Reset – Multiple $2,000.00 Deductibles Allowed in Loss Transfer Claims
A recent Superior Court decision (Economical v. Northbridge, 2016 ONSC 458) has provided the industry with a refresh/reset in applying the $2,000.00 statutory deductible in loss transfer claims. The deductible in issue is set out in section 275(3) of the...
Insurer’s Attempt to Short Circuit Dispute Resolution Process Shut Down
Those insurers frustrated by the delay in having an “accident” determination adjudicated under the dispute resolution process should take heed of the recent decision of Mr. Justice Sweeny in Ayr Farmers Mutual Insurance Company v. Wright, 2015 ONSC 6219. Mr....
Not Just Another Crash Test – Singing Those Black Box Blues
Kitchener-Waterloo OIAA Bulletin
Successful Motion Confirms Defendant’s Right to Prepare Insurer Examiners for Trial
Ontario Accident Benefit Case Summaries/Lexology, October 2014
This article is published with permission in Ontario Accident Benefit Case Summaries and Lexology. See article on Ontario Accident Benefit Case Summaries, Lexology or on the Miller Thomson Ontario Insurance Litigation blog.
Successful Motion Confirms Defendant’s Right to Prepare Insurer Examiners for Trial
In the context of insurer examinations under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (“Schedule”), the Superior Court has found that for the purpose of trial preparation, a Plaintiff’s consent is not required for Defendant’s counsel to meet with the examiners. In...
FSCO arbitrator decides neuropsychological assessment is one assessment not two
Nicole Breadner v. Co-operators General Insurance Company, A15-005120 In a January 11, 2017 decision, Arbitrator Colleen King of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) found that a neuropsychological assessment is one assessment, not two; therefore capping the amount payable...