Whether you have a car accident case depends on a number of different things including (1) how the accident happened; and (2) the severity of your injuries.
In Ontario, when you are involved in a car accident where you are not at fault, you are entitled to 2 claims: Accident Benefits (AB) and a Tort (lawsuit) claim.
Accident Benefits are a form of “no fault” benefits. This means that no matter who is at fault for the car accident, you will receive these benefits. Your Accident Benefits insurer is responsible for paying your lost wages, medical expenses, and some other costs such as attendant care, caregiver, and funeral benefits.
If the other driver was at fault for the car accident you may be able to sue for damages such as pain and suffering, any additional income loss, housekeeping and your future health care expenses.
To assess fault consider the following:
- Was the other driver charged?
- Was the other driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
- Was the other driver distracted?
Once you’ve assessed fault, consider the severity of your injuries. In order to receive compensation for pain and suffering you must sustain a “serious and permanent impairment” as per the Insurance Act. This means there isn’t much available for bumps, bruises, sprains and strains that quickly resolve.
If your Income Replacement Benefit from your Accident Benefits claim is not covering all your lost wages then you may be entitled to an income loss claim.
You are also entitled to a housekeeping claim if you have struggled with your housekeeping since the accident. For example, you may have significant back pain after a car accident. This back pain makes it difficult for your to wash the bathtub or scrub the floors. You can be compensated for this. You can also be compensated for any housekeeping services you have incurred since the car accident.
Last, if you exhaust most of your medical and rehabilitation benefits under your accident benefits claim then you are most likely entitled to a future health care expenses claim through your lawsuit. The amount of your future health care expenses claim depends on the doctors’ reports on this.
As you can see there is some overlap between an Accident Benefits claim and a Tort (lawsuit) claim. The overlap depends on the status of your AB claim and the benefits that are available. As an additional example, if you are deemed catastrophically impaired under your AB claim then your lawsuit claim may be compromised insofar as you have received payments for housekeeping under your AB claim. In other words, the AB and tort claim must be considered together in order to assess the value of your claim.