MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS
All vehicle owners in Ontario are legally required to purchase a standard policy auto insurance. This is almost always done through private insurance companies.
Under such policies there is a certain amount of minimum mandatory coverage, including: Third party liability Direct compensation for property damages No fault accident benefits Uninsured motorist benefits, etc.
While these accident benefits can be helpful for getting your life back on track post-accident, there are times when this compensation is not enough. When this happens, you can choose to bring a tort claim against the at fault driver(s). The risk in this scenario is higher, but the payouts are usually much more than what an insurance company will pay you.
The moments after you get into the accident, there are some crucial things you should do.
- Never leave the scene of the accident without getting the required information. It doesn’t matter whether you are the driver or the pedestrian. There are some circumstances where leaving the scene of the accident can result in a criminal charge against you.
- Look around to see if anyone is injured. If so, figure out who it is, and specifically how they have been injured.
- Call the police. This is especially important to do if there are serious injuries involved or there is a high level of property damage.
- Begin documenting the accident. Take pictures of whatever you think is important and write down any visible injuries to either party as well as the specifics of the property that has been damaged. You should also note down any witnesses, including their contact information.
An important concept to keep in mind is that of contributory negligence. In Ontario, and in other jurisdictions around Canada, this form of negligence can have a major influence for determining who is responsible for what part of the accident. The idea behind contributory negligence is the following; even if the accident was due to the other party’s actions, you may still be partially responsible for the accident (depending on your actions or inactions). For example, if you get hit by a motor vehicle while riding a bicycle, and if you were not wearing a helmet, you may take partial responsibility for your injuries.
Since all vehicle owners in Ontario need to get some form of standard automobile insurance, all insured drivers are eligible to access accident benefits if they get injured in an accident in either Canada or in the United States.
It is important to note that accident benefits are available to every person injured in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of whether the injured person was at fault for the accident. This also means that, although you may not be insured, you can still make a claim for accident benefits. The insurance company you make a claim from will depend on the circumstances of the accident. For example, whether the accident occurred while driving a company vehicle, or whether the accident occurred while you were the passenger. There is also the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund, which acts as the payer of last resort, and is therefore used in situations where you do not have auto insurance, are not listed on someone else’s policy, and no other vehicle in the accident can be identified. Accident benefits include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Medical and rehabilitation benefits
- Attendant care benefits
- Income replacement benefits
- Care giver
- Housekeeping benefit
- Funeral benefits
Pay for the goods and services involved in the recovery of your physical and mental injuries. These include, but are not limited to, the following
- Medical, surgical
- Dental and dentures
- Optometry, prescription eye wear
- Nursing services
- Chiropractic services
- Physio-therapeutic services
Pay for the necessary expenses involved reducing and eliminating the effects of your disability. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Life skills training
- Family counseling
- Social rehabilitation
- Financial counseling
- Vehicle modification
- Transportation costs
Accident Care Benefits
Available for those persons that have a lack of ability to carry on person care alone due to the injuries sustained by the accident. This type of support depends on the circumstances of the accident and the nature of personal care required. They include the following:
- Care for dressing
- Grooming and meal prep
- Basic supervisory care
- Complex care like bathing and bathroom help
Income replacement benefits are available to persons who were employed or self-employed at the time of the accident, and due to their injury, they are not able to perform the essential tasks of their job and therefore cannot earn an income. This loss of income needs to occur within 104 weeks of the accident for the injured person to eligible for the benefits. Note that even in cases where an injured person was not employed at the time of accident, there is still a possibility to recover some income replacement benefits. This is because the injured person may not be able to apply for future jobs, and hence would have faced a loss of some kind. The amount of benefits usually amounts to 70% of the injured persons average earnings. These benefits max out at $400/week. However, if the injured person had purchased optional benefits, it is possible that the benefit can max out at $1000/week. It is important to remember that determining an injured person’s entitlement to the benefits is a complicate process, and due to the fact that insurance companies might make mistakes, it is recommended to consult with an experienced accident benefit lawyer. Cost of examination benefits occur when an applicant is pursuing a claim and needs to have examinations completed on their behalf. These examinations include, but are not limited to, the following: disability certificates, treatment / assessment plans, and an application for determination of catastrophic impairment.
Death benefits may be paid out in a variety of ways. There can be a payment to the deceased person’s spouse of an amount up to $25,000. There may also be a payment to each of the deceased person’s dependents of an amount up to $10,000. There may also be a payment of up to $10,000 to each former spouse of the deceased person to whom the deceased (and formally insured person) was obligated to provide some sort of support. It is important to note that issues involving the death benefit can be complex, sensitive and complex. Therefore, it is always a good idea to get an experienced individual to handle these issues.
- Crashing through frozen surfaces
- Riding on poorly maintained trails
- Using defectively manufactured snowmobiles
Much like automobile and motor cycle accidents, snowmobile accidents often result in serious injuries, including but not limited to:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Severe bone breaks ad fractures
- Sever lacerations
- Spinal cord injuries
- Commas and death.
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