After a car accident has claimed the life of a family member, individuals will seek legal advice to determine whether or not they can sue the driver of the other vehicle. A lawyer may during a free initial consultation inform the family members of two major aspects of any case. After a fatal car accident the majority of cases will have an accident benefits claim (usually termed as an “AB claim”) and a claim as against any at fault parties (usually termed as a “Tort claim”).
The AB (Accident Benefits) claim relates to matters relating to the no-fault aspect of the motor vehicle accident. These claims are generally covered by your no-fault insurance benefits and can cover items such as medical, rehabilitation, funeral expenses, etc. As noted in a previous blog, every car insurance policy by law in Ontario will have a ‘no fault’ accident benefits component by default. This part of the claim typically involves your insurance company only.
The Tort claim has to do with the ‘at fault’ related matters of the accident. Whether the other driver was intentionally negligent (careless, neglectful or inattentive) or not, does not matter. The individual at fault for the accident, even if only partially, will have a claim filed against their insurance. This ‘Tort claim’ is for pain and suffering, past or future income loss not covered by your insurance and other past or future out of pocket expenses as result of the accident.
In any event, to ensure you obtain all the benefits you are entitled to, you should always consult a personal injury lawyer as soon possible after a car crash.