Rights To Accident Benefits in Ontario | Diamond & Diamond
  • Monday, 15 July 2019

Understanding Your Rights To Accident Benefits In Ontario

#AskCoreySax

The automobile insurance you carry as a driver in Ontario provides benefits in the event you are injured in a crash. The Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, which is also referred to as the SABS, enables you to receive the medical care and treatment you need to recover from your injuries as well as other benefits, such as lost earnings. Changes to the Ontario Insurance Act in recent years could affect your rights to benefits, so it is important to understand how the SABS works.

What are your rights under the SABS after an accident?

The Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule pays benefits to anyone injured in a car accident without regard to who might have been at fault in causing the accident. Included among the benefits payable to someone injured in a collision are the following:

  • Medical treatment and rehabilitation for up to five years after an accident for injuries non-catastrophic injuries
  • Income replacement of up to 70% of earnings lost due to being unable to work up to a maximum of $400 a week. Additional coverage is available to increase the weekly payment to as much as $1,000 a week.
  • Non-earner benefit for up to two years to individuals who were not working and earning an income at the time of the accident. Non-earner benefits cannot begin during the first four weeks after the accident.
  • The spouse of a victim killed in a car accident may receive a death benefit of $25,000 and other dependents receive $10,000. There is also a funeral benefit of up to $6,000.

Individuals suffering a catastrophic impairment as currently defined under the SABS may receive up to $250 a week as a caregiver benefit for one dependent and an additional $50 a week for each additional dependent. Housekeeping and home maintenance benefits up to $100 a week are also available for individuals suffering a catastrophic impairment.

What is a catastrophic impairment?

The consequences of a serious physical injury suffered in an automobile accident could be severe enough to meet the SABS definition of catastrophic impairment making the accident victim eligible for benefits beyond what would otherwise be available. For instance, medical, rehabilitation and attendant care benefits available to someone suffering an injury that is non-catastrophic is capped at $65,000 unless the person had optional insurance coverage that could increase the cap to $130,000. The benefit cap for individuals with catastrophic impairment is $1 million unless the person purchased additional coverage raising the cap to a maximum of $2 million.

According to the definition contained in the Insurance Act, a catastrophic impairment based upon the presence of certain conditions, including:

  • Vision loss
  • Tetraplegia
  • Paraplegia
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Amputation or severe ambulatory mobility impairment
  • Impairment of the whole person of at least 55%
  • Impairment of the whole person of at least 55% caused by a combination of physical and mental or behavioural impairments

The definition and the tests used to determine whether a person has a catastrophic impairment are complex. Anyone suffering serious physical injuries should consult with a personal injury lawyer familiar with the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule who can provide legal advice and guidance.

Ontario personal injury lawyers

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims for compensation and SABS benefits on behalf of people injured in Ontario accidents. Their unsurpassed knowledge of the law and commitment to the people they represent makes them the right law firm to consult in order to ensure you or a loved one receive the benefits you deserve. Call the Diamond and Diamond 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit their website to speak to someone now. They have offices located throughout Ontario offering free consultations and case evaluations to injury victims and their families.

Faqs

How can I apply for SABS benefits?

How you apply for SABS benefits depends on the nature of your involvement in an auto-related accident. If it’s your car/truck/motorcycle that’s been involved in the accident, you apply for SABS benefits from your insurance provider. You should contact the insurer immediately after the accident to allow ample time to prepare for related complications, such as personal injury claims made by pedestrians or passengers. Your insurer then emails you forms that you fill out and send for processing. Your SABS will cater for income loss, healthcare costs, and a wide array of essential living expenses.

As a passenger or pedestrian involved in an auto accident, you apply for SABS benefits by immediately contacting a personal injury lawyer. The lawyer will require details of the negligent party, including name of the truck/car driver or motorcycle rider, number plates on the vehicle, name of the auto insurer, etc. This information enables the lawyer to file a personal injury claim in civil court and notify the defendant’s insurance provider of your SABS benefits claim.

How long do SABS benefits last?

SABS benefits are not issued in lump sum but are paid out every week for a set period, typically two years. For example, the Automobile Accident Benefits Service (AABS) has set a maximum of $400 on weekly SABS payments to replace the lost income of persons employed prior to an auto-related accident. These payments are stipulated to last for two years from the time of the first SABS disbursement.

Are kids eligible for SABS benefits?

Yes. However, this eligibility is only available through a parent or legal guardian, who makes a personal injury claim on behalf of a child involved in an auto-related accident. The subsequent weekly SABS disbursements cover an array of costs related to child’s injuries, including surgical expenses, prescription medication, rehabilitative physiotherapy, orthotic devices, i.e., wheelchairs, braces, clutches, home-based care, and more.

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