ODSP -What you need to know..
Recent changes to the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) will have a huge impact for those who receive these benefits and are involved in personal injury cases.
As of August 1, 2017, awards for pain and suffering are fully exempt from personal injury settlements and are no longer considered as income or an asset when calculated for this purpose. This is a significant change from the previous ODSP limit of up to $100,000 and alleviates the need to seek ODSP approval on amounts greater than $100,000.
These compensation exemptions apply to:
· Awards for pain and suffering, usually ordered through a court, as a result of a loss or injury to or the death of a family member. For example, this could include an individual or their family member being compensated for facing loss or injury from a car accident or from medical malpractice.
· Awards for expenses from an injury to or death of a family member (typically in an accident).
· Awards for loss of care, guidance and companionship due to an injury to or the death of a family member.
· Awards for non-economic loss under certain sections of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act and the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Also exempt are amounts for pre-judgment interest (unless it is interest on income) and awards for medical and rehabilitation benefits under SABS and awards under the Family Law Act are also exempt.
It should be understood that these awards will not affect a person’s ODSP eligibility. This means that someone who receives a large
settlement can still stay on ODSP.
And, while ODSP will not revisit past awards, those that were not processed prior to August 1, can still take adv
antage of t
he new rules. Individuals who received a settlement award of over $100,000 in the past and have since come off ODSP, can reapply if they still qualify and their settlement will be exempt.
With this change, award recipients are free to use their money any way that they see fit. Where, previously, medical and rehabilitation funds would need to be allocated to disability related items and services, individuals can now use the money as they like as long as they adhere to the rules on spending for non-exempt assets.
The new changes do not apply to any settlement for Income Replacement Benefits, Non-Earner Benefits, and Past or Future Loss of Income. These benefits will still be used to calculate income and/or assets for ODSP purposes. It also does not apply to awards for loss of income. The individual will need to claim that amount as income.
If you have questions about ODSP rules and claims for personal injury, you can always call for a free consultation at: (613) 978-954
Canadian Pension Plan Disability Benefits Exempt from Excess Insurance Payments
A win for accident victims and no insurance claims
Accidents happen and sometimes there is no insurance. A recent court decision of the Supreme Court of Canada is considered a win for accident victims across Canada. The decision, reached in a Nova Scotia case, ruled that an insurer could not deduct a man’s Canada Pension Plan Benefits from his excess insurance payments according to the Family Protection Endorsement
Essentially, this decision allows accident victims to get the benefits they deserve without threat of deductions from the insurance company.
What happens when there is no insurance ?
In Ontario, when a driver is involved in an auto accident and the other driver does not have insurance, the Family Protection Endorsement can provide the victim with additional benefits through a fund called the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund to make up for the lack of insurance available from the other driver.
The problem is that the endorsement allows insurance companies to deduct, from their coverage, any future benefits that they victim would receive from their disability. This could include other insurance policies or benefits provided by the Canadian Pension Plan.
With this decision, anyone involved in an auto accident with an uninsured driver can not only collect the Family Protection Endorsement benefit (if eligible), but can also be assured that any future benefits or insurance coming to them would never reduce the amount of that benefit.
This decision is significant in the wake of last June’s accident benefits reform announcement that reduced attendant care and medical and rehabilitation services coverage. To learn the details of this case, refer to Sabean v. Portage La Prairie Mutual Insurance Co.
Our Ottawa injury lawyers encourage everyone to purchase as much auto insurance as they can. It’s always best to cover yourself as much as possible. We hope you never need this insurance but if you do, you won’t ever regret making that purchase. However, if insurance is not available , there are other options.
What happens in a hit and run accident when one of the drivers involved leaves the scene? How do the police determine who is at fault and where do the injured turn for compensation?
Under normal circumstances when a hit and run accident happens, it does not matter who is at fault. If you were driving a car with insurance coverage, you would first contact your own insurance company. If you were injured as a passenger in another vehicle, you would contact the insurer of that vehicle as set out under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS). Under SABS, there should always be an insurer that the injured could contact to make a claim.
Insurance for hit and run accident
What if you were injured as a cyclist or a pedestrian and were not insured when the driver failed to remain at the scene of the accident? Where would you turn for coverage?
The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF) provides compensation to people injured in automobile accidents when there is no insurance. It provides compensations for personal injury or damage to victims of an unidentified driver (hit and run) or a stolen vehicle. This fund is only for accidents that happen in Ontario and can only be used by people who live in Ontario.
As for the driver who failed to remain at the scene of the accident, the law requires that drivers directly or indirectly involved in an accident must
* remain at the scene of the accident
* help as much as possible
* provide their name, address, driver’s licence number and insurance information as well as the name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle to the police and other people involved in the accident.
Drivers who fail to remain at the scene can be fined between $400 and $2,000 and or up to six months in jail as well as a minimum licence suspension of no less than three months and six demerit points.
For more information about the MVACF or to talk to an Ottawa injury lawyer about your accident, please call us today at (613) 237-4922 ext. 203 Toll Free 1-855-553-HURT
The recent release of the McClelland task force report on marijuana legalization in Canada has raised some serious concerns for public safety; in particular drug impaired driving . Drug-impaired driving is a major concern as the legalization of the substance becomes a reality in our country and, moving forward, there is a lot to be done to ensure the safety of drivers on the road In November, a CAA poll found 63 per cent of Canadians worry that road safety will decline when marijuana is legalized.
Public Education Needed for Drug Impaired Driving
Currently, Ontario drivers impaired by drug use face fines of up to $180 and a licence suspension for the first occurrence. These new laws were implemented in October to give police more leverage to get impaired drivers off the roads immediately. This is a sound start and sends a strong message, but, to ensure the safety of Ontario drivers, there needs to be a drastic increase public education and improvement in the available tools that police have to detect impairment.
Marijuana is not easy to detect using a simple breathalyzer test. To detect THC, urine tests, which are often unreliable, or invasive blood tests remain the only available tools. To complicate the issue, Canada has not established a legal limit of THC content in drivers.
Last year, police in Canada charged only 1,575 people with drug-impaired driving, compared to 50,853 for suspected drinking and driving. *(statistics Canada)
According to a study conducted by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, marijuana impairs the cognitive and motor abilities necessary to operate a motor vehicle and doubles the risk of crash involvement, placing everyone else on the road at risk of serious injury or death.
If you have been injured by a drug-impaired driver, your claim for compensation may include:
* Non-Earner Benefits
* Caregiver Benefits
* Housekeeping and Home Maintenance Benefits
* Attendant Care Benefits
* Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits
Drinking and driving don’t mix. Drugs and driving don’t mix. PERIOD.
Understanding your Accident Benefits Following Changes to the Ontario Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule
Catastrophic Injury Victim Beware ! In an effort to make insurance more affordable for all Ontarians, the Ministry of Transportation made some large scale changes to accident benefits coverage last June. These changes have reduced, changed and, in some cases, eliminated coverage. In particular those impacted by a catastrophic injury are most at risk.
As many drivers do not regularly review the their policies, they may not be aware of the impact of the new lowered benefits. Many will find out only when an accident happens. Then it is too late.
Want to be covered in the event of a catastrophic injury ? Always best to check with your insurance company
Our Ottawa injury lawyers wrote about the changes when the new legislation took effect. At that time, we encouraged readers to make a thorough review of their existing policies and encouraged them to purchase additional coverage.
Our lawyers have received many questions about Insurance coverage since the changes took effect in June. While the outlines provided by the Ministry give a fair rundown of what is covered and what is not covered under the new standard policy, many drivers remain confused about the definition of catastrophic injuries. The term catastrophic determines the type of benefit available, but its definition is not clear in the material provided with the standard insurance policy.
What is considered a catastrophic injury ?
If an injury will have a lifelong impact on the victim’s quality of life, it can be deemed catastrophic. If the victim is left a paraplegic or quadriplegic or requires the amputation of an arm or leg, if the injury causes serious traumatic brain injury or if the victim suffers loss of vision the injury would most likely be classified as a catastrophic injury. Sadly, people with these catastrophic injuries are the ones who need insurance coverage the most and now, with the changes, they are losing many of their accident benefits.
Once someone’s impairments are considered a catastrophic injury the victim may be eligible for the additional benefits including:
- $1,000,000.00 for Medical Rehabilitation and Attendant Care combined (up to $6,000 per month)
- Housekeeping (up to $100 per week for life)
- Income Replacement Benefit (to a max of $400 per week for life)
- Non-Earner Benefit (up to 104 weeks after the accident up to $185 per week)
- Visitor Expenses
- Entitlement to a Case Manager
- Lost Educational Expenses (up to $15,000)
- Payment for clothing, prescription eyewear, dentures, hearing aids, prosthetics and other medical or dental devices damaged as a result of the car accident
- Reimbursement for travel to and from medical appointments
- Caregiver Benefits
These definitions may be difficult to interpret and it is always advisable to consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a serious accident.
Changes to Accident Benefits Means Reduction in Coverage for Ontario Drivers
Do you know about the changes to accident benefits? When accidents happen, we expect that our health care system will be there to provide only the best care to see us through, but what about all of the other expenses that are not covered under the Ontario Healthcare System? Few of us stop to consider who will pay for replacement income if we cannot work, childcare as we recuperate, rehabilitation and home maintenance? Are these expenses automatically covered by our insurance policies? Yes, they are and they fall under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule.
New Changes to Accident Benefits: Will you be covered?
Statutory Accident Benefits apply to anyone involved in a car accident, bicycle accident, motorcycle accident, pedestrian & car accident and any other type of motor vehicle accident. These benefits fall under the Insurance Act of Ontario and apply to:
- Income Replacement Benefits
- Non-Earner Benefits
- Caregiver Benefits
- Housekeeping and Home Maintenance Benefits
- Attendant Care Benefits
- Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits
Will you have enough coverage?
On June 1, 2016, the changes to accident benefits and coverage in standard auto insurance policies was implemented to help make insurance more affordable. Some claim amounts were reduced and some options for increased coverage were eliminated or changed.
This is an overview of the changes to accident benefits.
- Medical & Rehabilitation and Attendant Care benefits have been combined into one category.
- Persons with catastrophic injuries may be entitled to a maximum combined benefit of up to $1,000,000 over their lifetime. This has been reduced from $2,000,000.
- Persons with non-catastrophic injuries may be entitled to a maximum combined benefit of up to $65,000 over 5 years reduced from $50,000 over 10 years for Medical, Rehabilitation and $36,000 for Attendant Care over 2 years.
- Persons with minor injuries may be entitled to a maximum benefit of $3,500. The claim period has been reduced from 10 years to 5 years.
In order to meet the definition of catastrophic for car accident cases in Ontario, a licensed doctor must complete and submit an OCF-19 form. This form is called an Application for Determination of Catastrophic Impairment. Given that the Statutory Accident Benefit amount vary greatly depending on which category the victim may fall under, it is important to learn more about the difference between catastrophic injury accident benefits and non-catastrophic injury accident benefits .
Should you purchase additional coverage?
In addition to these changes came the opportunity to purchase Optional Benefits for Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care. You may want to purchase optional benefits to increase coverage levels, but first take time to understand your existing plan and impact the of the new changes.
- Read your policy and compare it to the new policy to see what changes have been made. If you have benefits from your employer or another policy, you may already have some level of coverage for some or all of the changes made. You should consider these benefits as you review your coverage options.
- Understand your policy. Call your insurance representative and ask questions, or do some additional reading, to make sure you understand your insurance and what your coverage means. Make sure you know what options are available to increase or purchase other benefits, or to reduce premiums by increasing deductibles or taking advantage of discounts.
- Shop around. There are many insurance companies competing on price and service in Ontario, and you should make sure that you compare at least three quotes for the same coverage before making a decision.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it’s important you get the information you need. Ontario Accident Benefits are your benefits and benefits you are most likely entitled to. If you are unsure of your rights or what benefits you are entitled to, contact our personal injury lawyers and we will be happy to provide you with the information you need to get the benefits you deserve.
The answer is somewhat complicated for an out of province accident. The truth is a personal injury lawyer should be able to help you no matter what. In most cases you can hire a lawyer in the province that you reside in and are insured with; however, in other cases in order to make a claim in the province where you reside and not where the accident took place, you must be able to prove a connection between the jurisdiction and your claim and this claim must also be deemed fair for the defendant. There are many factors that would help determine whether or not a personal injury lawyer from let’s say Ontario can represent you and file a claim on your behalf. Depending on the severity of your injuries, the courts may recognize that travelling to another jurisdiction may be very difficult for you and allow the claim to be filed in Ontario. Depending on the nature of the accident; were there many witnesses that may need to be called upon. Do they live in another country? Will expert reports need to be created in the country or province where the accident took place? Will the police officers that filed the report need to be called in to testify? How will travelling to another country or province affect them? Are there any rules between the two provinces or countries that differ?
The reality is that the courts take many things into consideration when deciding whether or not Ontario should assume jurisdiction in an out of province accident.
It’s also important to note that regardless where you reside or where the accident occurred, the other party in the accident may still may have insurance coverage that covers accidents in Ontario. If you are unsure , it’s always best to consult with an experience Ontario personal injury lawyer and have them walk you through your options.
If it is determined that it’s not best for you to proceed with a claim in Ontario, a personal injury lawyer can refer you to a lawyer in the jurisdiction where the accident took place and help ensure you are in good hands.
What are Accident Benefits ? Have you been in accident? Are you wondering what your options are? In most cases if you reside in Ontario you may be entitled to Accident Benefits. The Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, otherwise known as SABS is the provincial regulation of benefits. These are standardized benefits that all insurance companies in Ontario provide. The role of Accident Benefits is to provide insurance compensation, regardless of fault, if you, your passengers, or if you are a pedestrian and have suffered a serious injury in an accident. Depending on the nature of the accident and the extent of the injuries, certain relatives or dependents may also qualify, even if they were not directly involved in the accident. You may also qualify for accident benefits if you were not directly involved in an accident but are suffering from psychological and mental strains of injured relatives.
Not everyone is entitled to Ontario Accident Benefits. You may apply for Accident Benefits and your insurance company and may deny your coverage. You can appeal this decision and fight it. An experienced personal injury lawyer can assist with this type of appeal and will work towards getting you maximum compensation and the benefits you need.
Who is excluded from Ontario Accident Benefits?
An insurance company may deny Income Replacement Benefits, Non-earner Benefits and compensation for other expenses benefits to:
• a driver who was excluded from an insurance policy,
• a driver or passengers who were aware, or should have been aware that the vehicle was driven without the owner of the vehicle’s consent,
• anyone who made false misrepresentation to their insurance company , resulting in automobile insurance being provided, and
• anyone who at the time of the accident was involved in an act for which he or she is convicted of any criminal offence, regardless of whether or not the offence is related to the operation of a vehicle,
• a driver who knew, or out to have known, that they were driving without a valid insurance.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it’s important you get informed. Ontario Accident Benefits are your benefits and benefits you are most likely entitled to. If you are unsure of your rights or what benefits you are entitled to, contact our personal injury lawyers and we would be happy to provide you with what benefits you are entitled to and give you an idea of what type of compensation you can expect
Ottawa Injury Lawyers provide a brief summary of some of the most important upcoming changes to Ontario Accident Benefits and the License Appeals Tribunal (LAT).
Ontario drivers and residents will continue to see an erosion in insurance coverage and Accident Benefits. Here is what you need to know:
As of April 1, 2016, accident benefit arbitration applications are to be sent to the Licence Appeals Tribunal (“the LAT”) instead of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO). Further changes were made in relation to Ontario’s Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) for accidents that occur on or after June 1, 2016 which include the following:
· Catastrophic limits changed to $1 million combined for medical/rehabilitation and Attendant Care (reduced from $2 million to $1 million)
· Medical/rehabilitation and Attendant Care benefits for non-Catastrophic injuries are to be combined totaling $65,000 (reduced from $86,000 to $65,000)
· Medical/rehabilitation benefits for non-Catastrophic injuries limited to 5 years instead of 10 years
· The 6 month waiting period for non-earner benefits is eliminated, but the non-earner benefits will only be available for 2 years
· An update to the ‘catastrophic impairment’ definition consistent with more up-to-date medical information and knowledge to reflect modern medicine
LAT Dispute Resolution System
The Ontario Government maintains that the new LAT dispute resolution system is more streamlined than its predecessor. Additionally, FSCO mandatory mediations have been eliminated, and applicants are now expected to apply for arbitration as soon as a benefit is denied or terminated. The arbitration process will be as follows:
· Applicant will file Arbitration with LAT via a new form.
· The insurer will file a response and a case conference will be scheduled.
· Prior to the case conference each respective party will file a case conference brief/summary.
· A case conference will then take place. This will be similar to the FSCO pre-hearing.
· If the matter doesn’t settle, a hearing will occur by way of written, electronic, or in person hearings.
· Appeal – either party may request the Chair to reconsider the matter. Or, the matter can be appealed to the Divisional Court.
The transition to LAT from FSCO is not going to be easy. We are expecting backlogs. Moreover, the majority of FSCO mediators who developed an expertise in this very specific area of law did not transfer over to the LAT. In other words, knowledge and expertise will be lost in the transition. Further, appealing to the Divisional Court may be a difficult hurdle for applicants since courts are often hesitant to overturn arbitrators. With all that being said, it appears as though applicants suffering from catastrophic impairments will be impacted the most by this legislation.
If you have been injured in a accident , navigating the insurance process can be tricky. There are many variables that will help determine which insurance company you will be applying to for accident benefits. In Ontario, there are strict timelines for applying for Accident Benefits, and it is important that you report your accident in a timely manner. There are exceptions; however, if you don’t file an accident report within seven days of your accident, you can be denied accident benefits coverage. Once you have reported your accident and requested an accident benefits package, it is important that you take your time and properly fill out the included OCF forms and return the completed package with thirty days . Our Ottawa injury lawyers like to help our clients with this task. We want to ensure that no stone is unturned and that our clients do not put themselves at risk of possible being denied coverage because of a small mistake that was made on their OCF forms. We often will remove this stress from our clients and fill our the accident benefits package with them.
Sound simple enough ? Well, not quite. Determining which insurance company you should submit your application package to also needs to be determined. In most accidents, there are multiple insurance companies involved in an accident claim and it’s imperative the the accident benefits package is returned to the appropriate insurance company.
A few determining factors when applying for Accident Benefits:
Do you have your own insurance coverage ? If you do, then the package should be returned to your own insurance company.
Are covered by someone else’s insurance policy ? Are you covered under your parent’s insurance policy or maybe your wife’s ? The accident benefits package package needs to go to whomever’s insurance policy you are covered under.
Were you a passenger in a vehicle and don’t have insurance coverage? If this is the case, then the accident benefits package will be returned to the owner of the vehicle’s insurance company.
Were you a pedestrian and do not have insurance? Then the accident benefits package must be returned to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Were a passenger in the vehicle of an uninsured driver? Then you must make an application to the Motor Vehicle Insurance Claims Fund. This is a fund that is designed to help people who would otherwise not be covered under insurance. To learn more about this fund, click here.
Were you a pedestrian who was hit by an uninsured driver? Then you must make an application to the Motor Vehicle Insurance Claims Fund. This is a fund that is designed to help people who would otherwise not be covered under insurance.
Regardless of your situation, it is advisable that you contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who is familiar with personal injury law in Ontario to discuss your situation. Our Ottawa injury lawyers would be happy to help and we offer free consultations.