Accident benefits ? Which insurance company ?

Accident Benefits: Whose insurance company do I use ? accident insurance claims

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.


Ottawa injury lawyer David Hollingsworth interviewed in Advocate Daily legal magazine.

What do we know about Ontario personal injury law ? Advocate Daily personal injury magazine

Our Ottawa injury lawyers are often asked to provide insight and advice on current issues in Ontario personal injury law.  Recently, our very own Ottawa injury lawyer David Hollingsworth, was interviewed by Advocate Daily magazine and was asked to offer up some advice on setting up clear expectations and guidelines during an initial meeting with a personal injury client.  Of course, this advice can be used in any type of meeting; however David focused primarily on Ontario personal injury cases.

What are Ontario Accident Benefits ?

In particular , David discusses what is to be expected when it comes to Ontario Accident Benefits. There are many myths associated with Ontario Accident Benefits and an experienced personal injury lawyer can help sift through what is important and what isn’t and what is to be believed and what isn’t. There are many different Accident Benefits available to people who have been injured in a car accident in Ontario; however not all Accident Benefits apply to each case. Depending on the nature of the accident, the extent of the injuries and the particular insurance policies, different accident benefits are available to different people.

Can I sue for…?

Another common misconception that David addresses in the article in Advocate Daily is the myth of everyone who is in an accident is entitled to sue.  He goes to highlight and explain what responsibilities lie on which individuals.  In other words , can the individual prove fault? If not, can they sue? Can they show that they are seriously injured? Are their injuries permanent? Any experienced Ottawa injury lawyer can answer these questions for you.

How much compensation for injuries?

Probably one of the most common misconceptions David discusses is the amount of compensation people feel they are entitled to.  David believes this is a very important expectation to set out.  By being honest and setting reasonable expectations with the clients at the onset, there are no surprises.  Most people do not like surprises, especially when it comes to the amount of compensation they are going to be receiving.

The articles goes on to discuss other common misconceptions and serves as a reminder to us all that it’s always best to be up front and honest .  In the initial meeting, people need to be given as much information as possible and know what to expect in the months and years to come.  Click on the link if you wish to read the full article in Advocate Daily.

 

 

 

 

 


Insurance Reform..Protecting Ontario accident victims or Ontario insurance companies ?

Ontario Insurance Accident Benefits

Ontario’s insurance reform seems to be back in the spotlight and unfortunately the proposed reform does not protect Ontario accident victims. This is not the first reform we’ve seen.  Back in 2010, Ontario accident victims had their insurance coverage reduced and the definition for minor injury was changed and close to 80% of all accident victims found themselves receiving less Ontario accident benefits because their injuries qualified for reduced benefits. The minor injury guidelines were changed from $100 000 and limited  to a maximum of $3,500 for accident victims who have suffered minor injuries, such as whiplash injuries, strains, and sprains.

This means that people in Ontario who are injured in an accident now have little access to covered treatments and in most cases will be denied coverage for medical and rehabilitative treatments.  This is not good news for Ontario drivers , passengers, pedestrian and cyclists.

It got worse, the medical/rehabilitation benefits for serious, non-catastrophic injuries were also reduced by over 50%  from $100,000 plus assessment costs to $50,000, including assessment costs. This was a huge decrease in compensation and directly hurt Ontario accident victims.

More reduction in accident benefits

Another reduction was in attendant care benefits for serious, non-catastrophic injuries .  These benefits were cut in half to $36,000. You would think this is bad enough; however in February of 2014, attendant care benefits were further changed and insurance companies were only required to pay attendant care benefits in the amount of income lost by the family member, regardless of the hours incurred. This again, did not help Ontario accident victims.  For example if a stay-at-home mother would not be paid any attendant care benefits to care for an injured family member, as they did not have an income before the accident.

The Toronto Star reported that in 2012,  Ontario’s auto insurance companies collected $3.78 billion in accident benefits premiums from Ontario drivers but only paid out $1.67 billion in insurance claims and expenses. Who are these reforms protecting ? Ontario accident victims or insurance companies ?


Another reduction in accident benefits for Ontario drivers.

Why are Ontario drivers not purchasing additional accident benefits?

In January of  2011, FSCO: Financial Services Commission of Ontario lead a study and surveyed the people of Ontario, in particular,  the largest automobile insurance insurers in Ontario.  The survey looked at  24 large insurance companies that help close the 3/4 of the Ontario insurance market.  Sadly the results from the survey indicated that  most people are not purchasing the extra additional accident benefits avail ale to them. In fact, most drivers were unaware of the optional benefits. As an Ottawa personal injury lawyer, I find this very disturbing.  It seems that insurance benefits available to drivers are continuing to be reduced year after year, yet premiums are remaining the same.

As of February 1, 2014, more disturbing reductions in accident benefits came into play. The newest reductions affect attendant care, pre-existing conditions under MIG (the Minor Injury Guideline)  and the election of benefits.  Unfortunately these changes do not favour Ontario drivers, as they are significant reductions.

Of particular note is the reduction in attendant care. The new attendant care provisions reverse the law as established by the Court of Appeal in Henry v. Gore.  What this case established was the amount of “economic loss” is a threshold requirement for payment of an attendant care benefit.   Essentially why this case was so important was because it addressed that is an attendant care provider was not acting in the course of his or her ordinary employment, then the amount of benefit payable to them was not to exceed the amount of monies they would have earned in their regular employment.   This amendment  can leave families in a difficult position as they may not be able to afford to care for their own family members. In other words, if your income is lower than the benefit  pay out, you will only get paid what you would have otherwise made at your regular job.  So for example, if you are a stay-at-home parent and do not have an income, you will receive nothing for attendant care benefits . This forces many families in a situation of not being able to  afford to care for their loved ones with injuries and professional providers will need to be hired.

Ottawa personal injury lawyer David Hollingsworth appeared on CTV news this week and discussed these changes and the implications of the changes for Ontario drivers and their families. In case you missed it, please visit the CTV news at noon website and watch the video.

If you have any questions that relate to the amendments in Ontario insurance, personal injury, or accidents, please fell free to contact us and we would be happy to help.

 


Ottawa Child Personal Injury Lawyer : TV Accidents

The last thing in the world we want to have happen is see our children suffer a personal injury.  What would be even worse would be if it was avoidable. Even worse to that would if it was something we, ourselves as parents didn’t do to keep them safe. I came across some of this information a while ago in a related law blog written by James Dodson and haven’t stopped thinking about it..

David Hollingsworth, Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer

It may be valentine’s day but what better way to show your family you love them then by keeping them safe.  If you have a flat screen TV and have been putting off securing it …stop what you are doing and  do it today-yes, right now !!  The Journal of Clinical Pediatrics published very disturbing personal injury statistics as it relates to child personal injury. The increase in child personal injury is directly related to an increase in the number of   homes  with flat panel tvs and homeowners’ eagerness to get watching  tv as soon as it is hooked up, which usually interferes with properly securing the tv and an avoidance of a child personal injury. Here are some of the astonishing child personal injury statistics I came across…

  • Child personal injury rates are up by 41% since 1990
  • 75% of child personal injury are under 6 years of age
  • 17,000 children were treated for child personal injury in emergency rooms in 2007  related to falling or unstable furniture (most for head injury  and neck injury)
  • Falling TVs accounted for almost half of these child personal injury
  • these child personal injury accidents occurred from failure to secure TVs to a console

To avoid a child personal injury, check your flat panel tv for instructions on how to secure them or visit the website. Young children are not aware of the dangers of climbing on furniture, or the risk of  a child personal injury. The narrow bases that hold these tvs make them very top heavy and unfortunately unstable and unsafe.

I know that here, tonight before I cheer on my beloved Ottawa Senators, I will be checking our tvs to make sure that we are doing our best to avoid child personal injury.  Let’s keep our kids safe Ottawa !

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth, Ottawa Accidents Lawyer

If your child has suffered a personal injury due to an accident, you may be entitled to certain accident benefits that you may not be aware of such as housekeeping, caregiver allowance, non earners benefit, attendant care, medical and rehabilitation cost and much more.  For more information as it relates to child personal injury, visit www.ottawainjury.ca , email david@ottawainjury.ca or  call 613 978-9549 for free consultations.  David Hollingsworth, Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer offers free home visits .


Ottawa Accident Lawyer : Ontario Accident Benefits and No fault Insurance Claims

Ottawa accident Lawyer David Hollingsworth explains Ontario No-Fault Accident Benefits

Important: Report Your Accident!

The first step in the personal injury process is to report your accident! If you have been injured in an accident in Ottawa or Ontario, there are specific rules that must be followed to secure your personal injury claim. Your top Ottawa personal injury lawyer can help you through this process, to help you gain compensation for your injury, lost earnings, pain and suffering, or simply getting the insurance company to repair or replace your car. Remember, if you do not report the accident, the insurance company will not pay for any of these things enumerated. Top Ontario Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth can help you to ensure that you do not risk losing out on the many important benefits expanded upon below.

The “No-Fault” System of Insurance

In Ontario, we have a “no-fault” process or set of rules for auto accidents. These benefits are called “accident benefits” and basically mean that irrespective of who is responsible or “at fault” for the accident, you are still entitled to a large range of benefits to help you in a time when you are most vulnerable and need the benefits most. Generally, this system of insurance was introduced to provide accident victims with a large variety of benefits to foster their rehabilitation and to reduce the number of claims against insurers.

It is important to note, that such benefits do not cover damages for pain & suffering, or future income-loss. A lawyer will need to be retained if you want to claim for a tort action to recover for such things. A tort, in common law jurisdictions, is a wrong that involves a breach of a civil duty owed to someone else. It is differentiated from a crime, which involves a breach of a duty owed to society in general. A tort action is lodged against the driver who may have caused your accident. To succeed with a tort claim, your injuries need to be of a “serious and permanent” nature. This requirement of “serious and permanent” to claiming in tort is known as the “threshold”, subject to judicial interpretation and defined by the courts. A top Ottawa personal injury lawyer such as David Hollingsworth will the fluency to understand the fluid nature of the threshold, since the judicial interpretation of the threshold changes constantly. Your success depends on the facts of your case, and how the case is presented. Generally, a victim of an Ottawa personal injury or auto accident has two cases: first, a no-fault case against the insurance company and second, a tort case against the person or insurance company for the driver responsible for the accident. There may be an accident benefit claim and no tort claim or a tort claim and no accident benefits claim, and sometimes there is both a claim in accident benefits and tort. In short, your success depends on the facts of your case, the extent of the injuries, and the skill of your top Ottawa Lawyer. An experienced lawyer can help to explain the nature of the threshold, and it’s complexities to you so that you do not lose out on the benefits that you deserve.

Top Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth can help you to recover accident benefits, including (1) Medical/Rehabilitative, (2) Income Replacement (3) Caregiver Benefits, (4) Housekeeping / Home-maintenance Benefits, and (5) Attendant Care Benefits.

(1) Medical/Rehabilitative Benefits

As the name implies, Medical and Rehabilitative Benefits are designed to deal with costs of treatment for physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, health club, adaptive/assistive devices, aquatic rehabilitation, and generally any other relevant treatments deemed reasonable and necessary for your recovery secondary to your accident. The list of features provided by these benefits is extensive, and can include devices such as therapeutic beds, wheelchairs, canes, ramps and even modified vehicles to accommodate for your accident injuries. A health care professional like a physiotherapist, massage therapist or a doctor must complete a “treatment plan” for you in order to recover these benefits. This is form is submitted to the insurance company for consideration. Generally, accident victims in a “non-catastrophic” cases are entitled to a maximum of $100,000 in benefits over 10 years in med/rehab benefits. Accident victims in “catastrophic cases” are entitled to a maximum of $1,000,000 over the course of a lifetime.

(2) Income Replacement Benefits

Income replacement benefits are designed to replace your income if you are not able to work secondary to your accident. Generally, there is an 80% entitlement to your net pre-accident income (which is averaged from your last year’s pre-accident earnings, or 26 of the 52 weeks before your accident). Generally, the maximum allowable income replacement benefit under a standard automobile insurance policy in Ontario is $400/Week. Issues can arise in claiming income replacement benefits when it is difficult to prove that you were working before your accident, or quantifying your pre-accident income, and so on. An experienced lawyer can help you in this regard because they will know the “ins and outs” of the entitlement opportunties for you.

(3) Caregiver Benefits

Caregiver benefits are designed for individuals who were the primary caregiver for a dependant, such as a young child, elderly person or sick person, at the time of their injury. Due to the injury or accident, these individuals are not able to care for their dependants any longer and require caregiver benefits. Generally, you do not need to show that you made any income prior to your accident. Rather, you are only required to demonstrate your status as the primary caregiver. As to weekly benefits, the caregiver is entitled to about $250/week, with an additional $50 for each extra dependant. A good lawyer will know these details about your benefits and can help you get the benefits you deserve.

(4) Housekeeping/Home-Maintenance

Housekeeping/Home-maintenance benefits are designed to help the accident victim to complete necessary chores, housekeeping or home-maintenance, including the cleaning of dishes, preparation of meals, general cleaning like dusting, mopping, taking out the garbage and so on, which become impossible in situations of physical impairment and injury following your accident. These benefits are generally $100/week and can be claimed by submission of appropriate receipts and invoices to your insurance company. If you do not submit these required documents to your insurer, you will not get these benefits, regardless of how hurt you are. A compassionate lawyer will understand the difficulty you may face with the stress of your injury and can help you to work out a plan so that you are not losing out on any benefits that you deserve.

(5) Attendant Care Benefits

Attendant Care Benefits are designed to compensate for individuals such as your family, friends, loved ones, or whomever is performing attendant care services for you after your injury. These benefits are designed to pay these individuals for their services, which after a tragic injury can include grooming, bathing, grocery shopping, brushing hair, putting on clothes, brushing teeth etc, when the accident victim is no longer able to do so secondary to their accident. As in the other benefits, a lawyer can help you to recover these costs. The process involves enlisting the services of a health care professional (e.g. occupational therapist, etc) to complete a “Form 1”. This form will describe the extent of help and care requirements a victim needs following their injury.

In short, if you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident you may be entitled to many accident benefits from your insurance company. Each year, thousands of victims neglect to see a top Ottawa Lawyer and lose out on many benefits that they deserve that could help them in their recovery. Top Ontario Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth can help you to ensure you protect and safeguard your interests by recovering your benefits, which can include (1) Medical/Rehabilitative, (2) Income Replacement (3) Caregiver Benefits, (4) Housekeeping / Home-maintenance Benefits, and (5) Attendant Care Benefits. If you do not have insurance, you may still be entitled to these benefits. As an experienced Ottawa personal injury lawyer, David Hollingsworth speaks and meets with people daily who have not been properly compensated by their insurance company. David Hollingsworth knows the system and is here to help you. You have been through an accident; you have been through enough. Visit www.ottawainjury.ca or email david@ottawainjury.ca for a free consultation.

-David Hollingsworth, Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer