Oct 24 2022 |
Car Accident Benefits: What Can I Claim?
A car accident is one of the most devastating things that can happen to anyone. This is why it’s important to protect yourself on the road. Next to following traffic regulations, Ontario law mandates carrying the right amount of auto insurance coverage.
Immediately after the accident, you must file a claim with your auto insurance company. This allows you to claim essential accident benefits. Since Ontario has a no-fault insurance policy, you are entitled to benefits from your insurance company, regardless of whether you or another driver were at fault.
Car accident benefits are crucial to your physical and financial recovery. These provide compensation for injuries, property damage, lost wages, and other immediate and long-term needs after a devastating car accident. If you experience difficulty claiming them or your claim was denied, a car accident lawyer can help. Learn how and what benefits you can claim in Ontario.
How to File a Car Accident Insurance Claim
Although Ontario’s no-fault insurance policy entitles you to car accident benefits, regardless of whether you were at fault or not, you will still need to file a claim with your insurance provider in order to receive the benefits. Below is a step-by-step guide for filing a car accident insurance claim, and important timelines to note.
- Notify your insurance provider
The first week within a car accident is an especially crucial time, both in terms of your physical recovery and insurance claim. If you were involved in a car accident, you must notify your insurance provider within 7 days. Likewise, if you are a pedestrian or cyclist without auto insurance coverage, you will need to notify the insurance company of the driver involved.
- Apply for car accident benefits
When you notify your insurance provider of a car accident, they will advise you to complete an application for claiming car accident benefits. The claim includes:
- Medical documentation signed by a healthcare provider that details the extent of your injuries
- A form for your employer to fill out to confirm lost wages
- Proof of income
- In some cases, a sworn statement or affidavit detailing the events of the car accident and your injuries.
What to Do If the Other Driver is Uninsured
Aside from the fact that it’s the law in Ontario, the biggest selling point of auto insurance are the car accident benefits they provide. But what happens when the other driver is not insured, or they don’t have enough coverage? Similarly, what happens in a hit-and-run accident wherein the other driver cannot be identified?
In these cases, your insurance provider will pay the accident benefits rather than the other driver’s provider. If the other driver is uninsured or they were not identified, you may also be entitled to statutory accident benefits from the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF), as well as compensation for your injuries and property damage.
However, note that the MVACF is often considered as the last resort. At-fault drivers are still held accountable, and the Fund may take legal action against them to recover the full amount paid.
What benefits can I claim for a car accident?
When you file a car accident claim in Ontario, you are entitled to Statutory Accident Benefits which are provided for under the law. These provide compensation for injuries, lost wages, and care expenses. In addition, you may also claim damages through a tort claim. A car accident lawyer can advise you regarding the claim(s) you can pursue.
Statutory Accident Benefits
- Lost wages and and non-earner benefits
The injuries you sustained from a car accident may be lasting and catastrophic. These can prevent you from going back to work and maintaining your ability to earn a living. Car accident benefits provide income replacement for up to 70% of lost wages and earning potential based on your gross income, beginning 7 days after the accident.
If you are not currently earning an income, you may still qualify for a non-earner benefit after a four-week waiting period. Non-earner benefits are awarded to car accident survivors who are completely unable to carry on with daily living activities.
- Rehabilitation and attendant care
Ontario’s provincial health plan provides basic healthcare coverage. This covers your immediate healthcare needs, including hospital treatment and stay. However, depending on the extent of your injuries, you may need ongoing rehabilitation and care assistance at home. Your car accident benefits cover rehabilitation and attendant care costs.
- Housekeeping and caregiver costs
A serious car accident may leave you unable to maintain your home and care for dependents. Depending on your auto insurance coverage, you may be entitled to housekeeping and caregiving accident benefits. If you have suffered catastrophic injuries and you’re unable to maintain your home and attend to the needs of your children, these accident benefits can help cover these costs.
Tort Claim Compensation
- Pain and suffering
Depending on the severity of the crash, a car accident can result in lasting pain and suffering, which are both physical and psychological. A tort claim can provide compensation for these damages, with the exact amount depending on the extent of your injuries and their impact on your quality of life.
- Earning potential and future income
In addition to statutory income replacement benefits, you can also file a tort claim to recover lost income and potential earnings. While statutory benefits can replace lost wages during the time that you are unable to work, a tort claim allows you to claim future losses from your overall earning potential. This means, you may be able to receive a higher compensation.
- Future medical care needs
While statutory car accident benefits provide for rehabilitation and attendant care, the value of these may be limited to your immediate needs. If you will require medical care needs in the future, a tort claim can help with these costs.
Timeline for Commencing a Car Accident Lawsuit
Under Ontario law, there is a time limit in place for starting a personal injury lawsuit as a result of a car accident. Known as the statute of limitations, this is a mandate that prevents you from pursuing a claim after the specified limit.
For car accidents in Ontario, you have 2 years to initiate a claim within 2 years of the date of the accident.
Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit
There are limitation periods for starting a lawsuit. You have 2 years to take legal action against the insurance company or at-fault driver. However, this does not apply if the claimant is a minor or is physically, mentally, or psychologically unable to begin proceedings and is not represented by a legal guardian.
Meanwhile, you have 120 days to notify the at-fault driver of your intent to file a lawsuit, and 2 years to commence it. However, if your car accident lawsuit involves loss of or damage to your vehicle, you must start the lawsuit within 1 year of the accident.
Filing Car Accident Lawsuit Against the Government
Finally, if you intend to file a lawsuit against the provincial or municipal government and claim that the car accident was due to slippery or poorly maintained roads, you must provide written notice of your intent to sue within 10 days of the accident, and file the lawsuit within 2 years.
File a Car Accident Claim with Our Personal Injury Lawyers
Were you or a loved one recently involved in a car accident? Our lawyers at Zayouna Law Firm are here to help you during this difficult time. Whether you’ve already filed a car accident claim with your insurance provider and it was denied, or you are just starting the process, our lawyers are here with you at every step of the claims and legal process.
If your accident benefits claim was denied, we can help you recover your losses and get the compensation you need for the pain and suffering that you have suffered. Our car accident lawyers in Ontario can help you initiate a lawsuit against the insurance company, the at-fault driver, or any other party involved in your accident. You can count on our car accident lawyers in Ontario to fight for your rights in the courtroom and assist with your immediate needs so that you can recover physically and financially after a devastating crash.
Do you want to learn more about the benefits you can claim for a car accident in Ontario? Talk to our car accident lawyers today to start your claim.