After car accidents in Kingston, Ottawa or Whitby, Ontario, injured drivers or passengers can make two types of claims: 1. a claim with their own car insurance companies and 2. a tort claim or a lawsuit against the drivers that caused the accidents. These options are not mutually exclusive. In other words, you can pursue both options at the same time. Often, the reason for pursuing both options is because the benefits the injured drivers and passengers receive from their car insurance companies are not enough to compensate them for their medical expenses or lost wages. In addition, the benefits drivers/passengers receive from their car insurance companies do not cover pain and suffering.
Making a Claim Under Your Own Car Insurance Policy
When injured drivers make a claim under their own car insurance policies, they are placed in different injury category groups depending on their injuries. There are three classes of injury defined by Ontario’s Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS):
- minor injury,
- non-minor injury, and
- catastrophic injury.
Minor Injury Group
If injured drivers are placed in the minor injury group, their injuries are defined by the Minor Injury Guideline (MIG) and the SABS. Minor injuries typically include cuts, bruises, whiplashes, sprains, etc. Further, the maximum amount injured drivers can receive for medical and rehabilitation benefits is $3,500.
Non-minor injuries include all injuries between MIG and catastrophic injuries. An example of a non-minor injury is a fractured leg or major knee injury which requires surgery. For injuries in this category, a driver can receive up to $50,000 of benefits.
If injured drivers sustain catastrophic injuries, they can receive up to $1,000,000 for their injuries. Catastrophic injuries include:
- amputated limbs,
- spinal cord injuries, or
- serious brain injuries.
Optional Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits
All of the above category limits are the coverage amounts in a “standard” Ontario auto policy. Ontario drivers have the option to purchase additional medical and rehabilitation benefits for an extra cost. For non-minor injuries, drivers can purchase extra benefits with a limit between $100,000 and $1,100,000. For catastrophic injuries, drivers may bump the limit up to $2,000,000.
However, if injured drivers are placed in the minor injury group, the benefits they receive are still capped at $3,500, regardless of whether they paid for additional benefits.
Many Ontario drivers are placed in the MIG by their insurance companies after an accident, and some of the drivers probably should not be placed in this category, such as someone with a pre-existing medical condition. Drivers should seek the assistance of a car accident lawyer in Kingston and Ottawa to help pull them out of the MIG.
If you were placed in the MIG by your auto insurance company and feel that you have non-minor injuries, call the car accident injury lawyers at Bergeron Clifford. They will go over your case with you, review all relevant records and conduct a thorough investigation to help you through this difficult and confusing process. Call today to schedule a FREE consultation. 1-866-384-5886.