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Ottawa Accident Lawyers Discuss One Accident, Two Claims

We know that when you have been in a car accident everything is overwhelming and there can be a lot of new information to process. Our clients are often surprised to learn that although you were in one motor vehicle accident, you may be eligible for two claims. In Ontario, if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident that is not your fault, you are entitled to pursue an accident benefits claim and a tort claim.

The Basics

The tort claim is against the at-fault driver and their insurance company – this process is similar to a conventional lawsuit. The accident benefits claim, while for the same accident, is a separate claim, through your own insurance and is not based on fault.

Accident Benefits Claim

Accident benefits are usually provided through your own insurance provider. If you are a passenger or pedestrian without insurance, this will be through another person’s insurance (contact us for more information on how this applies in your case).

These benefits are statutory and are defined by the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (the SABS). The SABS provides all injured drivers, passengers and pedestrians with accident benefits, including those who are found to be at fault for their accident.

Most of our clients who are entitled to accident benefits receive medical benefits for physiotherapy, prescription medications or chiropractic treatment. Some clients also receive attendant care benefits for their personal care, income replacement benefits if they are unable to work due to the accident, and others receive non-earner benefits if they are completely unable to carry on their normal pre-accident activities of daily living.

Many benefits under accident benefits can start right away. If you require physiotherapy for your injuries, you can begin relying on your accident benefits coverage today to start treatment. The best way to access these benefits is through hiring a professional to assist you with the accident benefits process – contact our office today for a free consultation.

Tort Claim

The tort claim is against the driver who is at-fault for the accident and their insurance provider. The tort claim includes a claim for the pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of the accident. Other aspects of this claim can include lost income, loss of competitive advantage, attendant care, caregiving, out of pocket expenses, past and future medical treatment and housekeeping.

The tort claim is against the driver at-fault for the accident. If you are 100% at-fault for the accident, you are not eligible for this claim. Determining fault is not always straightforward. Sometimes even a driver who has been charged with an offense under the Highway Traffic Act can still bring a tort claim, so it is important to contact a lawyer who can advise you on your specific case.

One aspect of your tort claim is for general damages, which is compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the accident. In Ontario, to make a tort claim you must meet the “threshold”. The threshold requires that the injured person has experienced one of the following: (1) death, (2) permanent and serious disfigurement or (3) permanent and serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function (consult a lawyer today to find out if your injuries meet the requirements).

If you are so injured that you are unable to work, you may be eligible for income replacement benefits under accident benefits. However, some income loss cannot be compensated that way. For example, if you work fewer hours or see reduced wages or commissions due to decreased capacity you may not be entitled to income replacement benefits, but you can still be compensated as part of your tort claim.

It is important to consult a lawyer when applying for accident benefits or starting a tort claim as the process is very complicated. A lawyer can answer the questions discussed above, such as:

  • Am I entitled to an accident benefits claim, tort claim or both?
  • Which insurance company do I apply to for accident benefits?
  • How do I complete the accident benefits forms?
  • Do my injuries meet the “threshold” for a tort claim?
  • How do I know who is at-fault for the accident?
  • Can I start a tort claim if I have been charged as a result of the accident?

Consult a Professional

Whether you are entitled to accident benefits, a tort claim or both, it is important to have someone on your side, fighting for you every step of the way. The lawyers at Howard Yegendorf & Associates are trained professionals who can apply the law to your case to get the results that work for you. Call us today to book your free consultation.