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.