Motor Vehicle Injuries
Securing a Favourable Road to Recovery
Knowing your rights when you are involved in a motor vehicle accident is essential to determining the best course of action. Roger R. Foisy and his team provide valued assistance to those who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident. With a thorough assessment they can determine whether or not you have a potentially successful lawsuit.
There are two possible ways to claim compensation for a motor vehicle accident. First of all, you may have a right to sue for an award of damages if another party was at-fault for the collision. Secondly, you may be entitled to a claim for certain benefits called no-fault benefits, whether or not you were the one at fault.
In at-fault claims the determination or threshold is a medical question. In no-fault matters however a skilled personal injury lawyer like Roger will need to be consulted to determine whether or not you are entitled to certain accident benefits and whether or not these benefits are being paid correctly.
In at-fault claims, lawsuits can be settled anytime following the accident (bearing in mind that the Highway Traffic Act states that an action must be commenced within two years from the date of the motor vehicle accident). In no-fault claims, settlements for statutory accident benefits cannot be settled until following the first anniversary of the day of the motor vehicle accident (there are a few exceptions to this rule).
Available claims as against at-fault parties include:
Pain and Suffering
In order to sue for pain and suffering you must be able to show that you sustained permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function, or permanent serious disfigurement such as scarring. This is what is referred to in law as the “threshold”.
If your case meets the threshold, you may be entitled to recover pain and suffering damages. However, currently in Ontario awards for pain and suffering are automatically reduced by a deductible of $30,000 unless your pain and suffering award exceeds $100,000.
Family Members’ Right to Claim
In the event of injury or death to a person, damages can be awarded to the injured or deceased person’s family members by commencing a claim under the Family Law Act for a loss of care, guidance, and companionship. This damage award is also subject to a deductible of $15,000. However, the deductible does not apply if the award for damages exceeds $50,000.
Loss of Income Claim
Unlike pain and suffering awards, you do not need to meet a threshold for income loss claims. Loss of income claims can commence as early as the 8th day following an accident. There are however, limits on entitlement to loss of income claims. The current law allows an injured party to receive only 80% of his/her net income loss (after providing credit for other income replacement benefits received) to the date of trial. If at the time of trial a person has ongoing income loss, the income loss award is based on 100% of gross income (after again providing credit for other income replacement benefits received).
Like pain and suffering, if a person’s injuries meet threshold, he/she is eligible to claim healthcare expenses which may not have been covered by another health plan.
Other Pecuniary Losses
Pecuniary losses include the cost of hiring someone to assist a person with housekeeping or home maintenance or other personal care daily activities which they are no longer able to complete as a result of the car accident. These losses are also available to a person who has been injured in a motor vehicle accident where another party was at-fault for the collision.
No-fault Accident Benefits
Every automobile insurance policy in Ontario contains mandatory benefits coverage for injured persons involved in a motor vehicle collision. Pedestrians and cyclists may also be entitled to no-fault benefits.
The law provides that a person who wishes to claim for these no-fault benefits must notify his/her insurer of his/her intention to apply for no-fault accident benefits within 7 days or as soon as is practicable after the accident. At that time the insurer must promptly provide the appropriate application forms which must then be completed and submitted to the insurer within 30 days after receiving the application forms. Certain no-fault accident benefits may also be available to immediate family members.
Statutory Accident Benefits
Statutory accident benefits only pay for losses which are not covered by some other private or group benefit plan. No-fault insurance benefits are considered to be the “second payer”. In cases where your private or employment medical benefits cover a portion of your expenses, your no-fault insurance carrier may pay the balance.
While the system is designed to allow for each insured person to handle his/her own benefits, the complexities of the law sometimes make this very difficult. It is strongly suggested that if a person is having difficulty recovering certain benefits he/she is entitled to, they should seek the assistance of a lawyer. A lawsuit to enforce statutory accident benefit payments must be commenced within 2 years from the time the insurer refused to pay for the benefit. A lawsuit against an insurer can only be commenced following the scheduling of a mediation which must be done no later than the 2 years from the denial. Following the mediation the insured party must then commence the law suit within 90 days after a mediator reports back to the parties in writing.
Roger R. Foisy and Associates are “lawyers for the people” who fight to receive maximum dollars for their clients.
Roger R. Foisy and his team are readily available to advise you on your motor vehicle accident claim and any benefits you may be entitled to. Contact us now.