Motor Vehicle Accident
OWEN SOUND CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM LAWYERS
Motor vehicle claims are complex and not all claims can go forward. At Tamming Law in Owen Sound, Collingwood and Port Elgin we aim to simplify things.
THE TWO WALLETS, & SOURCES OF FUNDS
Unless you alone caused an accident, there are two sources of compensation for your injuries. First, the insurer of the at-fault person; second, accident benefits, payable by your own insurer.
THE FIRST SOURCE OF COMPENSATION: THE INSURER OF THE AT-FAULT PERSON
Where you are not to blame for the accident, we will start a lawsuit against the person who is responsible. His or her insurance company may either appoint a lawyer to defend its interests or may attempt to settle the matter just between our firm and their insurance adjuster.
You can sue for all types of compensation, including:
• pain and suffering (but see discussion of “threshold” and “deductible”, below)
• past and future loss of income or economic losses generally
• future health care costs
• housekeeping and home maintenance costs
Clearly, the more injured you are, the higher the compensation. We will endeavour to obtain the maximum compensation possible from the insurer for the defendant(s) in the shortest period of time.
THE SECOND SOURCE OF COMPENSATION: ACCIDENT BENEFITS
Your own insurance company is required to pay certain benefits to you as long as your injuries call for them. These include:
• certain medical and rehabilitation expenses (depending on the injury, these are subject to a cap of $3,500, $50,000 or $1,000,000)
• weekly loss of income benefits if you were working at the time of the accident, equal to 70 % of your gross income to a maximum of $400
• attendant care benefits
If you or the owner of your car don’t have insurance (if you were a pedestrian, for example), accident benefits will be paid by the insurer of your spouse, or of a parent on whom you were dependent.
We might not see eye to eye with the insurance company as to whether an expense is reasonable or whether you are able to return to work. We don’t have to accept whatever the insurance company says. There is a forum used to handle disputes outside of the court system known as the License Appeals Tribunal.
Sometimes clients get tired of the hassle with their own insurance company. Many times we negotiate a lump sum settlement of the accident benefits. In other words, you “sign off” of your rights to certain accident benefits in exchange for a one time lump sum settlement and the insurance company gets to close its file.
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LIMITATIONS: THE VERY NASTY BOULDER OF A “THRESHOLD” AND A “DEDUCTIBLE”
Years ago, Ontario decided to limit our right to sue others for car accidents. This was intended to reduce the number of lawsuits and to reduce car insurance premiums. Today, you cannot sue for pain and suffering at all unless your injuries are “permanent and serious in nature”. This means that if you have a very bad injury which heals fully within 6 months, you cannot obtain compensation for pain and suffering. It also means that if you are left with a long term injury of a mild nature (example: a sore neck that acts up from time to time), you cannot obtain pain and suffering compensation either.
But it gets worse. Even if you can prove that you have suffered a permanent and serious injury, in most cases, your pain and suffering must be reduced by approximately $40,000 — the dreaded deductible. If a court would assess your pain and suffering as $80,000, then at most you would receive $40,000 for pain and suffering. The deductible hurts. It does not apply to extremely serious injuries worth over $130,000* but it does apply to many cases.
As far as your economic losses are concerned, you may only sue for 80% of your net wages up to trial (and for 100% following trial). This is meant to encourage early settlements. However, if you have received any weekly accident benefits from your insurance company, these must be deducted. In other words, you cannot collect twice for the same loss.
For almost 30 years we have acted for many injured accident victims throughout Grey, Bruce and Simcoe counties. The claims are complex but we enjoy the challenge and, once again, we thank you for entrusting your claim to us. Please, call or email us anytime.