Accident Benefits v. Tort – What to know if you’ve been in a car accident

by Melanie Henriques

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 at 3:04 pm

It’s important to know what legal rights and benefits you are entitled to following a car accident. There are two types of claims you are entitled to make following a car accident: an Accident Benefits Claim through your own automobile insurance company and a Tort Claim wherein you sue the driver(s) and parties at fault for your accident. Although an injured party is entitled to bring both types of claims, many people aren’t sure what the difference is. In order to make the most effective use of your time and to ensure that you obtain the benefits that are the most important to you, it is vital to understand what each claim may mean for you.

What is claimable in an Accident Benefits Claim through your own insurance company?

  1. All reasonable and necessary medical treatment; up to $3,500 if you suffered a minor injury and $50,000 if you suffered a severe injury;
  2. An income replacement during the duration of your inability to work; up to $400 per week;
  3. If you were unemployed within the 26 weeks prior to the accident or were attending school at the time of the accident, and suffer a complete inability to carry on a normal life, you are entitled to receive $185 per week. This benefit only comes into effect 26 weeks following the subject accident;
  4. If you suffered a severe injury and require assistance with personal care, you have access to up to $36,000 in Attendant Care services;
  5. If you had any personal items (clothing, electronics, etc.) damaged in the car accident, the cost to replace these items are reimbursable through your insurer.

This is list is not exhaustive of all benefits you may access through your auto insurer. The Housekeeping Benefit and Caregiving Benefit are now optional benefits (unless you suffer a catastrophic impairment) thanks to the numerous changes made to the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule on September 1, 2010. It’s important that you speak with your auto insurance broker to make sure you are completely protected in the event of a car accident. For example, many consumers are unaware that you have the ability to increase the amount available for the income replacement benefit, up to $1,000 per week. The average insurance broker won’t advise you of all these benefits so it’s important that you educate yourself on what’s available to you.

What is claimable in a Tort lawsuit against the at-fault party?

  1. Wage loss and/or loss of opportunity to earn income either in the past or the future as a result of your injuries;
  2. Treatment/medical expenses you incur as a result of your injuries are recoverable through a Tort claim;
  3. Special damages which include mileage and parking expenses that you incur in order to obtain treatment;
  4. Housekeeping expenses that you incur as result of your car accident related injuries;
  5. Pain and Suffering amounts are determined by what Judges have awarded in other cases similar to yours and incorporate variables such as the extent of your injury, how it has affected your life/how it will continue to affect your life and the treatment you were required to receive.

It is important to be aware of your legal rights and entitlements available to you as a result of a car accident as the decision whether or not to pursue these entitlements can drastically affect your life. There are time limitations to these claims so it’s important to obtain legal advice as soon as possible following your car accident.

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