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 ?


Are you entitled to income replacement benefits after your accident in Ontario ?

What are Ontario income replacement benefits ?

If you have been in an accident in Ontario, one of the first calls you may make after you have taken care of yourself is likely to your insurance company.  You will need to make this call within 7 days if possible. This early reporting will help significantly when it comes time to settling your claim. If you are unable to work because of your accident,  you will likely be eligible for basic weekly income replacement benefits.

How much can you receive for income replacement benefits?

These benefits will add up to 70% of your gross income , to a limit of $400 per week.  There are options to top up your insurance by purchasing additional insurance coverage.  Optional income replacement benefits can increase the  maximum weekly pay out on income replacement benefits to $600, $800 or $1,000, depending on how much optional accident benefits coverage you purchase. I know that paying additional premiums on top of already high insurance rates seems ridiculous; however, if you ever need to access these benefits ,you really need them and would never regret your purchase. Depending on your income level, topping  up your Ontario accident income replacement benefits makes a lot of sense.

If you are unsure of whether or not you are accessing all of your Ontario accident benefits and needs some advice, please contact our lawyers and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Besides income replacement benefits, there are many other benefits that you are most likely entitled to but not accessing through your insurance company.  A free consultation with a personal injury lawyer can be very beneficial. In your meeting you will learn of all the Ontario accident benefits available and which are available to you and which are available to your family members as well. Your accident impacts you but it also has a direct impact on your family members and this can be compensated. We highly suggest you get informed.

 


What are Ontario Accident Benefits ? Are family members entitled to accident benefits?

Ontario Car Insurance Claims and Accident Benefits. Who can access Ontario benefits?

Statutory Accident Benefits (SABS) are provided by law in every Ontario auto insurance policy. All Accident Benefits are standard and equal among insurance companies, unless you opt for “top up” coverage. Ontario  Accident Benefits provide compensation, regardless of who is at fault, for drivers, passengers, pedestrians and family members who suffer personal injury or death caused by an accident in Ontario or any accident if you are a resident in Ontario. The following accident benefits are the standard Ontario Accident Benefits and are available to most accident victims in Ontario:
  • Income Replacement: Just like it says…the income replacement benefit compensates  for lost income/wages.
  • Non-earner benefit: The non-earner benefit applies when you are unable to carry on a “normal life” and do not qualify for either an Income Replacement benefit or Caregiver benefit.
  • Caregiver benefits: Compensation for expenses incurred when a member of your home needs care and someone is hired to care for them because you no longer can.
  • Medical benefits: Covers medical expenses that occurred as a result of the injury.
  • Rehabilitation benefits: Covers rehabilitation expenses incurred as a result of an injury.
  • Attendant Care benefits: Covers some of the expense incurred by hiring an aide or attendant.
  • Compensation for Other Expenses: These accident benefits pay for some expenses such as monies put out by family members costs in being with you during visitation and recovery. Often times some housekeeping and home maintenance is also covered , as well as lost or damaged articles during accident. ie: computer in car etc…
  • Death benefits: Family members may collect this accident benefit on behalf of a deceased family member.
  • Funeral benefits: These accident benefits help cover funeral expenses.

There are many more Ontario accident benefits available to Ontario drivers.  If you are unsure of whether or not you are receiving everything you are entitled to from your Ontario insurance company, it is best you consult with an Ontario injury lawyer.  We meet daily with people and walk them through their best options. Often times all they need is a little advice.  Unfortunately most insurance companies will not tell you unless you ask and most people don’t know what to ask for.  We know Ontario accident benefits inside and out we have experienced staff who specialize in Ontario accident benefits.  We can help.