TORONTO – An insurance company that played litigation hardball with an elderly car-accident victim has been ordered to pay $237,000 to cover the legal costs she incurred in winning a $20,000 settlement.

In her decision, Ontario Superior Court Justice Mary Sanderson said it would be contrary to public policy to reward the insurance company’s uncompromising behaviour by assessing minimal costs against it.

“Insurers can, of course, pursue whatever strategy options they deem fit,” Sanderson wrote. “But especially where such strategies may have wide ranging and adverse implications involving widespread denial of access to justice, the use of such strategies should not be encouraged by the giving of cost breaks on foreseeable costs consequences.”