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Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help With Statutory Accident Benefits

How a Personal or Car Injury Lawyer Can Help During the Claims Process To Get You Compensation

No one ever wants to be involved in a motor vehicle accident, but as winter weather affects road conditions, it’s an important to know what to do in the event of a collision. As you can imagine, car accidents have significant long-lasting impacts on the injured parties and their families. That’s why financial compensation is so crucial in helping alleviate some of the emotional, physical, and financial encumbrances associated with an accident. A personal injury lawyer can help in these cases.

When discussing this type of compensation, people tend to associate a personal injury lawyer exclusively with tort claims. This is only one form of compensation, though, and injured parties may also be entitled to claim statutory accident benefits.

To better understand the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS), here are a few important facts concerning eligibility, how the schedule works, and how the application process works:

Accident Benefits Vs. Tort Claims

When someone ‘s actions unfairly cause someone else to suffer harm or loss, they may be  legally liable for those actions and results under the law of negligence or “tort”. In these situations, the harmed individual can claim monetary compensation from the party at fault. For example, if your car was rear-ended (because the driver behind you did not leave enough space and/or was driving above the posted speed limit), their actions could constitute negligence.

If you hired a personal injury lawyer and pursued a lawsuit that found the driver to be negligent, the driver would be required to provide monetary compensation for any resultant  damages.

By comparison, the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) is legislation which is in place to help any person injured in a motor vehicle accident.  The main difference between statutory accident benefits and a tort claim is that statutory accident benefits are available to anyone in Ontario injured in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of fault.   Additionally, while a tort claim is made against the at-fault party, statutory accident benefits are claimed through your own insurance company.

The nature and amount of eligible benefits are set by the provincial government and regulated under the Insurance Act of Ontario through the Schedule.

Statutory Accident Benefits Eligibility

Anyone in Ontario injured in or because of a motor vehicle accident is entitled to claim statutory accident benefits, though each benefit has its own set of qualifying criteria. One of the benefits of this scheme is that you do not need to be a driver of a motor vehicle to be eligible for compensation;  statutory accident benefits are available to passengers as well as to cyclists and pedestrians injured by a motor vehicle.

Generally, any injured party would claim benefits through their own insurance provider. If the individual does not have their own auto insurance policy, it’s best that they consult a car injury lawyer to discuss how they may still be able to collect benefits through another insurer.

Types of Statutory Accident Benefits

The types of accident benefits you may be eligible for vary depending on the nature of the injuries you have suffered and sometimes the coverage you paid for, but often include the following:

  • Income replacement
  • Childcare or caregiver expenses
  • Non-earner benefit
  • Medical and rehabilitation expenses
  • Attendant care
  • Funeral expenses
  • Case management services

Other benefits may include visitor’s expenses, repair or replacement of eyeglasses or clothing damaged in an accident, and even housekeeping assistance and lost education expenses.

What is the application process like?

If you intend to apply for accident benefits, you must notify your insurance company within a week of the accident. After they receive your notice, they will send you a package of documents. One of the most important documents you will need to fill out is the OCF-1: Application for Accident Benefits form, which is also available on the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) website.

This form must be completed within 30 days and will ask for specific details about the accident. Filling out this form properly and in a timely manner is a crucial part of ensuring your eligibility and qualification for the maximum number of available benefits. If you are having trouble filling out the OCF-1 form, consulting a personal injury lawyer can help ensure you’re getting what you’re owed.

How A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

You do not need to hire a personal or car injury lawyer to process this type of claim, but there are many good reasons to do so.

Having a personal injury lawyer on your side throughout the claims process will ensure deadlines are met, proper information is provided to your insurance company, and your claim is processed under the appropriate level of compensation.  If a dispute as to the nature or amount of benefits arises, personal injury lawyers can also assist you should you need to negotiate settlement terms or pursue an arbitrated claim against your insurance company.

The effects of a car accident can certainly be devastating. Fortunately, statutory accident benefits exist to help alleviate some of the burdens associated with this type of traumatic event. For more information about the SABS, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer today.

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