October 28, 2019
What Benefits Can I Claim Following An Accident?
An accident can be a stressful, damaging event which has a serious and wide range of effects on a person’s life. While it can affect you physically and financially, many do not realize the full scope of potential damages that could result from the accident.
Here are some of the many ways that an accident can change your life:
- Long-Term disability – Serious physical injuries, such as fractures, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries, can result from a car accident. While certain injuries require a moderate recovery period, others can have life-altering consequences. For instance, people with spinal cord injury could be at risk of permanent disability.
However, the risk of permanent disability depends on the severity and location of the spinal cord injury. For example, a person could lose the use of his leg if the lower region of the spinal cord is injured, while a more minor spinal cord injury may retain some sensation or motor functions (and could potentially recover, if the primary cause of the disability is inflammation).
Also, having severe bone fracture could put you at risk of long-term damage. For instance, a victim with compound hand and arm fracture need to undergo multiple corrective surgeries using steel plates and rods. Compound bone fractures could result in loss of sensation and limit movement after the operations. This may require the patient to undergo long-term rehabilitation to help regain motor function and restore range of motion.
- Psychological damage – Accident-related injuries do not only affect you physically, but it could also take a toll on you psychologically. After a catastrophic accident, the surviving victim may experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This traumatic experience could result in significant pain and suffering. Over time, PTSD may lead to other forms of mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Also, pain and injuries resulting in long-term disability can prevent you from performing and enjoying your favourite activities; thus, affecting your quality of life.
- Financial impact – Accidents can change your life in ways beyond injuries, mental anguish, and disabilities. It could also have a significant financial impact. Medical bills and other expenses can take a toll on your finances. Injuries can also affect your ability to work, resulting in loss of wages.
An Overview of Accident Benefits Claims
When you sustained injuries in an accident, you are entitled to apply for claims to acquire compensation and benefits, no matter if you are at fault or not. Injured parties can apply, with or without insurance. In addition to the private benefits or automobile insurance policy, the injured party may also be entitled to apply for benefits under the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
Here are some of the types of benefits available to a person injured in a motor vehicle accident in Ontario, or someone with an Ontario motor vehicle insurance policy, who met an accident outside of Ontario.
- Income replacement benefits – If you sustained an injury as a result of an accident, you might be eligible for an income replacement benefit (IRB). This type of accident claim benefit is only applicable to income earners. The compensation you will receive from IRB is 70 percent of your gross income up to a maximum of $400 every week. It would commence a week after your loss, for the first two years if you lost your ability to carry out your job. After the first two years, the test is more stringent.
- Non-Earner benefits – If you are an insured driver in Ontario, you are entitled to apply for the non-earner benefits. This type of accident benefit claim is designed to compensate injured accident victims who completely lost their ability to return to their pre-accident lifestyle as a result of and within 104 weeks following the accident. You will receive $185 per week as compensation four weeks after the date of the accident to a maximum of two years post-accident.
- Caregiver benefits – If you have been providing care to someone prior to the accident but can no longer continue due to injuries, you are eligible to a maximum of $250 compensation weekly, plus $50 for an additional dependent. You can immediately receive the benefit as long as the injury makes you unable to continue caregiving benefits. This benefits is only available if you purchased this optional benefit, or if you are catastrophically impaired.
- Medical and rehabilitation – Medical and therapeutic expenses, such as physiotherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, assistive devices, and medications, not covered under OHIP.
- Attendant care benefits – If you are unable to manage your own personal care as a result of your accident related injuries, you can make a claim for attendant care benefits to pay for a nurse or PSW to help you in your home.
Should You Cash Out Your Benefits?
If you have been involved in an accident, it can be overwhelming to deal with all the documents to file for an accident benefit claim. You may need to choose between the income replacement benefit, non-earner benefit and caregiver benefit, and it is not always clear which is the best option, or whether or not you will qualify for the particular beenfit. Among the most common concerns of an injured individual is the fear of being cut off benefits. That is why some injured people choose to cash out their benefits, but the real question is, is cashing out the solution?
Cashing out is a one-time, once-and-for-all payment, meaning you will receive a lump sum from your insurance company. However, it strips you the right to claim any further benefits. The lump-sum money should compensate all your expenses – past, present, and future.
Unless you have a clear prognosis, it is not advisable to cash out your benefits. If in doubt, talk to a personal injury lawyer with experience in statutory accident benefits. He or she will assess the following factors:
- Your prognosis
- Benefits received to date
- Type of injury – catastrophic or non-catastrophic
- Income benefit payment
- Your age and life expectancy
- Future care plans
- Structure annuity quotes on the value of future benefits
- Legal entitlement assessment to particular benefits
- Costs of fighting with the insurer
- Factors associated with the lawsuit against third parties
How Can I Know What To Claim?
You need to consult your healthcare provider about your prognosis and what the future holds for your health.
It is also advisable to get legal advice before cashing out your accident benefits. Since you will be giving up your rights and will be negotiating with an insurance agent, you will need the advice and guidance of a personal lawyer in Richmond Hill to provide you will all the information and resources you need.
At Michelle Linka Law, we use our knowledge and experience in accident benefits law to help to handle your claim and get the right compensation or benefits you are entitled to.
We value our clients’ trust and confidence. Our team of personal injury lawyers are committed to relieving your burden and getting you back to living a fulfilling life by fighting for your rights.
Call us now at (416) 477-7288 to inquire about our accident benefit claim services in Richmond Hill, Peterborough, and Whitby.