If you have not done so already, the first thing you need to do is inform your car insurance company that you were in an accident and file an accident benefits claim with your insurance company. Even though the other driver who hit you from behind caused the car accident, your car insurance company pays for your medical expenses under Ontario car accident law. This is known as Ontario's "no-fault" car insurance system. See Ontario Car Accident Law-Who Pays for Medical Bills?
Ontario car accident law provides that a driver injured in Kingston, Ottawa and other Ontario cities file an accident benefits claim with his/her own car insurance provider regardless of who caused the car accident. This may seem counterintuitive because you didn't cause the accident. Why would you file a claim with your own car insurance company to pay for your medical expenses when the accident was caused by another driver? Unfortunately, that is what the law requires injured drivers to do.
Step 1: Filing an Accident Benefits Claim to Pay Medical Bills
The benefits injured drivers in Kingston may receive from their car insurance companies after car accidents are governed by the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) under the Ontario Insurance Act. Your medical expenses would fall under the medical and rehabilitation care benefits coverage in your car insurance policy. Other benefits you may receive include:
- income replacement benefits,
- caregiver benefits, and
- reimbursement for housekeeping and home maintenance.
It is important that you notify your car insurance company of your rear-end accident within 7 days. After you notify the car insurance company or if you already have done so, you should receive an accident benefits application, which must be completed within 30 days of receipt.
Step 2: Filing a Lawsuit or Tort Action
Sometimes, the benefits injured drivers receive per the accident benefits claim may not be sufficient to compensate them financially. This is especially true in a serious car accident case that results in catastrophic injuries. In addition to filing an accident benefits claim, injured drivers may also file a tort action or lawsuit against negligent drivers and recover damages such as:
- medical and rehabilitation expenses not covered under SABS,
- other expenses, such as home maintenance expenses, not covered under SABS,
- pain and suffering,
- loss of enjoyment of life, and
- loss of income.
Therefore, depending on the facts of your case, your injuries, the extent of the medical treatment, etc., you may file a tort claim against the driver that hit you from behind.
It is important to note that in order to recover for pain and suffering in an auto accident lawsuit in Ontario, your injuries must constitute a serious, permanent impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function. This is known as the "threshold test." To learn more about the "threshold test," see Ontario Car Accident Injury Law - Determining a Serious, Permanent Injury.
Ontario car accident law is very confusing, and you may be overwhelmed and at a loss as to what to do. It is important that you talk to a car accident injury lawyer in Kingston to discuss your legal rights. Having the right lawyer can make all the difference in your potential tort claim.
Feel free to call us at 1-866-384-5886 to schedule a FREE consultation.