Compensating Victims When Accidents Cause Catastrophic Injuries - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Thursday, 14 February 2019

Compensating Victims When Accidents Cause Catastrophic Injuries

#AskSandraZisckind

Most roadway accidents in Ontario do not result in serious injuries or fatalities to the drivers or occupants of the vehicles involved in them, but not everyone is fortunate to walk away uninjured or with only minor injuries. Some injuries are so severe that victims never fully recover. Loss of limbs, paralysis and brain trauma are types of catastrophic injuries requiring extensive medical treatment and long-term care. Recent changes to the law in Ontario affect the compensation available for accident victims with catastrophic injuries.

Ontario Statutory Accident Benefits  

Every auto insurance policy issued in Ontario must provide compensation for vehicle occupants and pedestrians injured or killed in an auto accident according to the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule. Benefits include the following:

  • Loss of income
  • Expenses associated with medical care and treatment
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Expenses associated with retaining the services of an aide or attendant
  • Miscellaneous costs, including home repairs and housekeeping

Benefits are payable regardless of fault in causing the accident, but there are limits placed on the amount a person may recover through the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule depending upon the type of injury. Accident victims filing a Statutory Accident Benefits claim cannot recover compensation for pain and suffering as they can in a lawsuit filed by a lawyer.

Catastrophic injuries and Ontario Statutory Accident Benefits

Injuries and the benefits payable to victims under Ontario law are categorized as minor, non-catastrophic and catastrophic. The Insurance Act defines a minor injury as including sprains, strains, whiplash, abrasions, lacerations or contusions. Maximum benefits payable for a minor injury is limited to $3,500.

A person whose injuries are more severe than those falling within the definition of a minor injury, such as broken bones and concussions, are non-catastrophic injuries. The maximum benefit under the SABS is $65,000.

The law defines a catastrophic injury as one or more of the following conditions:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Blindness
  • Amputation or severe mobility impairment or use of an arm or leg
  • Paralysis
  • Injuries that in combination with each other cause 55 percent or more physical impairment of the whole person
  • Severe mental or behavioural impairment

Benefits available to someone with a catastrophic injury resulting from an auto accident have are capped at a maximum of $1,000,000 under the current law, which is a dramatic reduction from the prior law. Under the old law, Ontario accident victims with catastrophic injuries could receive a maximum benefit of $1,000,000 for medical and rehabilitation services and an additional $1,000,000 for attendant care.

A person suffering catastrophic injuries in a car accident probably needs the type of long-term and extensive care and services that would exhaust the limits of the Ontario Statutory Accident Benefits.

Ontario personal injury lawyers

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have years of experience handling claims for compensation on behalf of accident victims.  If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury, our lawyers can help to maximize the benefits you receive whether through a Statutory Accident Benefits claim or by suing the party whose negligence caused the accident. Call the Diamond and Diamond 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now. We have offices located throughout Ontario offering free consultations and case evaluations to injury victims and their families.

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