Insights & Articles
What are Statutory Accident Benefits?
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, there are two potential systems to assist someone injured in an accident. The tort system is based on fault and negligence, and is commenced by bringing a lawsuit against the person(s) that caused or contributed to the accident. Statutory Accident Benefits are no-fault benefits that are required to be included in all auto insurance policies in Ontario. They allow someone injured in an accident, irrespective of fault, access to medical and rehabilitation benefits, income replacement and other benefits to assist that person on the road to recovery. It is important to note that Accident Benefits are not viewed as “compensation” for your injuries, but rather assistance while recovering. The tort lawsuit process provides monetary damages to those who have sustained serious and permanent injuries. A much more detailed conversation about damages in a lawsuit can be found in my article “Understanding Damages for Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case in Ontario” here.
Under the Ontario Insurance Act, it is mandatory that the following Statutory Accident Benefits are included in your auto insurance:
Income Replacement Benefits
Income Replacement Benefits (IRB) compensate for your loss of income if you have suffered a substantial inability to perform the essential tasks of your employment due to injuries from a motor vehicle accident. The IRB covers the lesser of 70% of your weekly income or $400 per week maximum unless you have optional benefits which I encourage everyone to get for a small extra amount. Speak to your insurer about this and read my upcoming article on “Understanding Optional Benefits”.
If you were not working at the time of the motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to the non-earner benefit. To qualify for the non-earner benefit you must have suffered a complete inability to carry on a normal life as a result of the accident. The non-earner benefit is $185 per week.
If you were the primary caregiver for a person in need of care and suffered a catastrophic impairment in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in a substantial inability to engage in the caregiving activities you were engaged in at the time of the accident, you may be eligible for the caregiver benefit. The caregiver benefit covers reasonable and necessary expenses incurred that do not exceed $250 per week.
Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits
Medical and rehabilitation benefits compensate for all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by the injured person as a result of the accident. Examples of expenses include hospital and ambulance services, chiropractic and physiotherapy treatments, wheelchairs or other assistive devices, counselling, home and workplace modifications, and other medical or rehabilitation related expenses that are reasonable and necessary. The amount of medical and rehabilitation benefits you may be eligible to receive depends on the level of your injuries. If you are seriously injured it is crucial you speak with a personal injury lawyer to assist you and make sure you get placed in the appropriate category of benefits for your injuries. This is a confusing area of law and changes often!
Attendant Care Benefit
The attendant care benefit is available to those who sustain injuries in a motor vehicle accident that result in needing assistance with personal care needs. This benefit pays for reasonable and necessary expenses for services provided by an aide such as a personal support worker or by a long-term care facility. The amount of the attendant care benefit depends on the level of injuries.
Other Expenses Benefit
The other expenses benefit may cover lost educational expense, expenses of family members who visit, housekeeping and home maintenance required due to the accident, and damage to clothing, glasses, hearing aids, etc. that occurred as a result of the accident. The expenses incurred from examinations and assessments that may be required to prove the injuries you suffered are also eligible under the other expenses benefit.
Death and Funeral Benefits
The death and funeral benefits provide compensation to family members of a person who dies as a result of a motor vehicle accident and compensation for funeral expenses.
Please note that the Statutory Accident Benefits that you may be entitled to are dependant on your specific situation.
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact Louis DelSignore to schedule a free consultation.
This article was written by Personal Injury Lawyer Louis DelSignore and Articling Student Jonathan Bradford.