OTHER SERVICES: ACCIDENT BENEFITS CLAIMS
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
Please remember, getting financial compensation is anything but simple. The process can be overwhelming even for professionals. If you or your loved ones are injured as a result of motor vehicle accident, you may be eligible for accident benefits. If you have any questions, please contact us. In most cases, no fee will be charged unless a recovery is made.
According to the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, there are 10.4 million registered vehicles in the province and 8.5 million drivers. Do you know that Highway 401 is the busiest highway in North America, and one of the widest and busiest in the world? In Toronto, between Weston Road and Highway 400, the annual average daily traffic reaches up to 500,000 vehicles. No wonder that the motor vehicle accidents are at the top of the list of potential reasons for personal injury. In Ontario, passenger vehicles make up 76% of the vehicle population and comprise 80% of all vehicles involved in reportable motor vehicle collisions.
- Motor vehicle collisions were responsible for nearly one-half of all major injury hospitalizations at lead trauma hospitals (42%).
- Among the trauma cases, motor vehicle collisions were the leading cause of injuries in all age groups.
- For those aged 20–34 years, motor vehicle collisions (excluding cyclists) were responsible for 57% of injury.
- For all causes of injury, more than half of the cases had blood-alcohol testing. Of those, 29% had a blood-alcohol concentration greater than zero and 22% had an alcohol concentration (defined as greater than or equal to 17.4mmol/L) reflecting the legal positive blood-alcohol limit.
The Main Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents:
- Speeding/Aggressive Driving
- Distracted Driving and Driver Fatigue
- Drinking and Driving
- Young and Novice Drivers
During the 2005–2006, motor vehicle collisions were the leading cause of hospital admissions among Ontario youth aged 15 to 24 years and were also the leading cause of emergency room visits for youth aged 15 to 24, after unintentional falls. Canadian drivers aged 16–19 are 15 times more likely to be fatally injured in a collision than 45- to 54-year-olds and three times more likely than drivers aged 75 and over. Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death globally among 15- to 19-year-olds and the second leading cause in 10- to 14-year-olds and 20- to 24-year-olds. Male drivers are three times more likely to die in motor vehicle collisions than females.
Accident can happen in the blink of an eye yet the repercussions can last a lifetime. An accident is an unpredictable event, very specific and unusual, that can occur with no apparent and deliberate reason and has a negative outcome. We have to add to the list motor cycles and boats, public transit buses and streetcars, heavy trucks and airplanes. Technical progress allows us to save time by commuting faster. Time is money. But the faster the car, the greater the risk. Almost every one of us has to ride a bus or drive a car to go to work. Even if you work from home you have to do shopping now and then. In fact, our daily traveling is a major cause of personal injuries.
If you have been involved in an auto accident, what do you have to do after?
After a Motor Vehicle Accident
1) First of all, do not leave the place where the accident happened otherwise you may be subject to criminal prosecution.
2) Try to stay calm (even it is hard). Do not argue with the other parties. Do your best to write down the following information:
- the driver’s name and his/her licence number
- the name of the other driver’s auto insurance company and a policy number
- the plate number, model, and year of the vehicle
- the date, time and location of the accident
- the number of people involved
- your description of the accident and damage to the vehicles involved
- the name and badge number of the police officer
- the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of witnesses
3) Take pictures of the accident scene, of yourself or any passengers if you can. If it is appropriate, follow up with pictures a few days later (when bruises become apparent, etc).
4) If someone is injured and the damage to the vehicles involved looks more than $1,000, or you suspect that the other driver is guilty (under the influence of drugs or alcohol, for example), call 911. Police will come as soon as possible. Follow their instructions. Remember, that you shouldn’t move anyone who is injured – you may complicate their injuries!
5) If nobody is injured and the damage to the vehicles involved looks less than $1,000, report the accident to a Collision Reporting Centre within 24 hours
6) Notify your insurance company or insurance agent as soon as possible.
Important Time Limits
- You have to notify your insurance company within 7 days from the date of the accident, regardless of who is at fault.
- You have 30 days from the date of the accident to fill in the accident benefit forms and send them back to your insurance company.
- In case if the insurance company refuses to pay the accident benefits, you have 2 years to apply for mediation.
- In case if mediation fails, you have 2 years after the insurance company refuses to pay the accident benefits claimed to apply for arbitration or 90 days after the mediator issues the Report of Mediator, whichever is later.
- You have 2 years to sue the insurance company for accident benefits.
- You have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
- You have 120 days from the date of the accident to send the other driver a notice of your intent to sue.
What You SHOULD and SHOULD NOT do after an Auto Accident
- Inform the police of the accident and record the attending officer’s name and badge number.
- Record the names of any witnesses and all those directly or indirectly involved in the accident.
- Contact your family doctor.
- Contact your insurance company within 7 DAYS.
- Report your injury to your employer or school.
- Record the names of all attending health care professionals.
- Keep all receipts for related expenses including those incurred by family members helping the injured person.
- Keep a record of the victim’s health problems.
- Check for health and injury coverage provided through your employer, credit card or other sources.
You SHOULD NOT:
- Rely on a non-professional advice from friends, co-workers or family members about your case.
- Sign any document you do not understand.
- Rush into any settlement.
- Accept an offer of settlement without reviewing it with a lawyer or paralegal.
- Be afraid to ask questions.
- Assume that the insurer is always right.
- Wait to get good advice.
ACCIDENT BENEFITS CLAIMS
Under the Insurance Act, the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule is responsible for providing the accident benefits which are available to everyone who has been injured in a car accident, regardless of fault for the collision.
If you have had a misfortune of being injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to the accident benefits. Please remember, getting financial compensation is anything but simple. The process can be overwhelming even for professionals. If you or your loved ones are injured as a result of motor vehicle accident, you may be eligible for accident benefits. If you have any questions, please contact us. In most cases, no fee will be charged unless a recovery is made.
The most commonly-accessed accident benefits (but not limited to) are:
- Income replacement. You are entitled to 80% of your net income to a maximum of $400 per week if you are substantially unable to perform the essential tasks of your occupation or employment during the first 104 weeks. Thereafter, you can continue to receive these benefits as long as you are continuously disabled from any occupation for which you are reasonably suited by education, training and experience for up to $400 a week or 80% of your net income.
- You may receive non-earner benefits of up to $185 a week if you are not employed. If you suffer a complete inability to carry on a normal life as a result of the injuries from the accident. No benefits are payable under this category for the first six months after the accident.
- Caregiver costs of up to $250 a week, if you were the primary caregiver of a person in need (with whom you were residing), plus $50 for each additional person in need of care
- Medical and rehabilitation costs (above OHIP) to a maximum of $100,000 for up to 10 years for a non-catastrophic injury, and up to $1,000,000 for the rest of the victim’s life in the case of a catastrophic injury.
- Special Attendant Care of up to $3,000 a month for two years for a non-catastrophic injury, and up to $6,000 a month for the victim’s lifetime for a catastrophic injury.
- Housekeeping and Home Maintenance of up to $100 per week.
- Death Benefits of $25,000 for the spouse of the victim; $10,000 for each of the victim’s dependents; $10,000 to the person who cared for the victim; up to $6,000 for funeral expenses.
- Travel Expenses for family members or those living with the accident victim for their visiting costs during treatment or recovery.
- Lost Education benefits for students to a maximum of $15,000.
You may also be entitled to other benefits, such as payments for lost education expenses, the cost of family visiting you during your treatment, some housekeeping and home maintenance, repair or replacement of eyeglasses or clothing damaged in the accident.
The injured person can also be compensated for the non-monetary aspects of the specific injuries that have affected their life. The legal term for that is pain, suffering and loss of amenity. It could be, for example, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of companionship, disfigurement or inability of doing the type of work that person has done before accident happened (it is called loss of congenial employment), etc. However, it is not easy to win such cases.
In addition, if an injured person believes that the accident was the result of someone else’s negligence, they are entitled to bring a separate lawsuit to recover “tort” compensation.
Even if you feel okay after an auto accident, it would be a good idea to visit a doctor to make sure that there are no any hidden injuries. Mention any complaint you may have, no matter how minor it is.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Did you know that more people have died on Canada’s roads in the last 50 years than the number of Canadians killed in two world wars? In fact, the numbers tell us that on average, eight Canadians die in road crashes every day. Many more are seriously hurt.
In Ontario, all aspects regarding to the motor vehicle accident benefits claims are regulated under the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act.
“No Fault” Auto Insurance
In Ontario, there are significant limits for financial compensation for injuries sustained as a result of a motor vehicle accident, even if you were not an “at fault” driver. At the same time, the system makes available a set of mandatory benefits that insurers must pay to injured parties, including “at fault” operators, passengers in vehicles and injured pedestrians.
The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund
The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund is a branch of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario. The major functions of the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund are:
- to provide statutory accident benefits directly to persons involved in an automobile accident, who have no recourse to automobile insurance;
- to provide compensation for personal injury or property damage to victims involved in an automobile accident with an uninsured or unidentified driver or a stolen vehicle when no liability insurance exists; and
- to recover from the owners and drivers of uninsured vehicles monies paid out on their behalf, where legally permissible
The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund is considered to be the “payer of last resort” as it provides compensation to people injured in automobile accidents when no automobile insurance exists to respond to the claim.
CP Paralegal Services can give you advice about accident benefits claims matters. We are licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada and can ensure you are in compliance with all appropriate rules.