Motor Vehicle Accident
Your Road to Recovery Starts Here
Being in a car accident is often a shocking event. The days and weeks following such an accident can also be overwhelming, especially if you’re injured in the process. The most pressing question most people have is whether and how they’re entitled to compensation.
Those involved in a car accident may be eligible to bring two types of claims. One is an Accident Benefits claim, which is usually—although not always—made through your own auto insurance company. The other is a tort claim, which is made against another driver or drivers who were at fault for the accident.
Accident Benefits are available through your own insurance company regardless of who is at fault for your accident. Generally, Accident Benefits, such as medical and rehabilitation benefits, are available up to a limit of $3,500 for minor injuries, $65,000 for more serious injuries, or $1 million for catastrophic injuries or, as set out in the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) to the Insurance Act. Additional Accident Benefits are available to those who have paid an additional premium or whose injuries are sufficiently serious.
Medical and rehabilitation benefits are available for treatment that assists in your recovery, such as physiotherapy, medication, or surgery. Confirmation of your temporary disability must be provided by your doctor. Another type of Accident Benefit, income replacement benefits, may be payable to you to replace lost income if you are unable to work due to the accident.
If the driver of the other car or car is at least partially at fault for the accident and your injuries are sufficiently serious, you are also entitled to bring a claim against the other driver. This is called a tort claim. If you’re injured as a passenger in a car, you have the right to claim for injuries and damages, no matter who was at fault. As a passenger, you’re not the one who was responsible for the incident, although if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt you risk being found partially responsible. Such a claim may seek compensation for various types of damages, including pain and suffering, lost wages, a loss of ability to do your housekeeping, the cost of future care, out of pocket expenses, etc.
Five things have to be proven to make out a successful tort claim:
- There was a duty of care (i.e., the other party was responsible to look out for your safety).
- That duty of care was breached.
- The breach was the direct cause of the injury.
- The injury resulted in damages.
You can help in providing evidence for your claim. Write down what happened in the accident, as your memory may fade over time. Take photos of the accident scene or ask a friend or relative to do so. Also take photos of your injuries, both at the time of the accident and months later as you heal.
It is important to consult a lawyer when seeking compensation for your accident, as the process can quickly become complex.
A lawyer can assess whether you are entitled to Accident Benefits, what types, how to obtain them, and how to dispute a denial of benefits by the insurer. You will have an advocate serving your legal interests with your own insurance company.
A lawyer can also help you assess whether or not you are at fault for the accident and whether your injuries are sufficiently serious to bring a tort claim. If so, your lawyer will work to identify the other party (if that information is unknown), send a notice of intention to file a claim, serve and file a Statement of Claim in court, and prepare all other documents needed. Your lawyer may also arrange for an examination by a skilled medical expert to have your injuries documented in a report for your case. About 98 percent of personal injury cases settle out of court, but your file needs to be prepared for court in case the matter proceeds to trial.