Accident benefits are part of your auto insurance policy. They provide compensation to injury victims regardless of who is at fault for the accident, and are mandatory in every jurisdiction across Canada, with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador. The amount of compensation available in Ontario depends on the severity of your injuries – when you believe the benefits your insurer has offered are too low, an accident benefits lawyer can help. Read on for more information.
What is Covered – and Not Covered – by Accident Benefits?
When a person is seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, they will likely require extensive medical care beyond what is provided in the emergency room or a family doctor’s office. This care can be costly; some, but rarely all, may be covered by your accident benefits.
For example, some injury victims require long-term physical rehabilitation, including physiotherapy and similar treatments. These treatments should be covered by your mandatory insurance.
Some injury victims may also require extended home care services, including housekeeping and home maintenance, which should also be covered. These benefits are available only if you have purchased additional coverage, or if your injury is deemed ‘catastrophic.’
Some injury victims also find that they are no longer able to earn the same type of living that they were capable of earning before their accident. This loss of future earning capacity can be devastating but isn’t covered by accident benefits; it can only be recovered via a tort claim.
How Much Should I Expect in Accident Benefits?
In Ontario, there are two very different levels of accident benefits coverage. Individuals suffering from ‘non-catastrophic’ injuries are eligible for up to $65,000 in benefits, while individuals suffering from ‘catastrophic’ injuries are eligible for up to $1 million in standard policies. An accident benefits lawyer can help explain the difference between these two designations.
These coverage levels are relatively new in Ontario and are considered quite low by many victims’ advocates and personal injury lawyers. Prior to 2016, catastrophically injured accident victims could access up to $2 million, an amount much better suited to covering a lifetime of expensive medical treatments, rehabilitation, and attendant care.
How Much Do Accident Benefits Cost?
Despite the 2016 cut in available standard benefits, insurance premiums in Ontario remain high. The standard policy costs consumers roughly $1,500 per year – only BC has higher premiums – which includes basic accident benefits coverage.
In order to better protect themselves and their families, many drivers purchase additional coverage that increases the amount of accident benefits they have access to. The price of this additional coverage varies by provider.
What Can I Do if the Benefits Provided are Not Enough?
If your insurance provider refuses to offer an appropriate amount of compensation for the injuries you have incurred, an accident benefits lawyer may be able to help you address this issue. Our personal injury lawyers have helped clients resolve accident benefits disputes with many of Ontario’s most prominent insurance providers – contact us today to learn how we can help.
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