Car Accidents – What are my rights?

I’ve been involved in a car accident. What are my rights?

This article is intended to provide an overview of your rights; however, it is not a substitute for individualized legal advice. We urge you to contact us for a more detailed assessment of your potential claim.

The Insurance Act in Ontario provides for a partial no-fault scheme. You are entitled to accident benefits regardless of who is at fault for the accident. The accident benefits are primarily provided by your automobile insurer. The nature of your injury will determine the extent of your entitlement to accident benefits. In particular, you may be entitled to the following accident benefits:

* income replacement (if you were employed at the time of the accident)
* non-earner benefit (if you were not employed at the time of the accident)
* caregiver benefit (if you were the primary caregiver for a dependent at the time of the accident)
* medical and rehabilitation benefits
* attendant care benefit
* visitor expense benefit
* funeral and death benefit
* housekeeping or home maintenance expense benefit

You may be entitled to some of all of the above benefits. It is imperative that you contact your automobile insurer immediately after the accident to initiate the accident benefit claim. In fact, you must do so within seven (7) of the accident. Your automobile insurer will provide you with the accident benefit claim package. Please follow your automobile insurer’s directions in completing and submitting the claim package.

The other driver is at fault for the accident. Do I have a claim against him/her?

All drivers are subject to an obligation to take reasonable care to keep their vehicles under proper control and to obey the rules of the road. Additionally, drivers must take reasonable care to ensure that their vehicles are reasonably maintained. If another driver fails to discharge any of the above obligations he may be negligent. You, as the injured party, may have a right to bring a civil claim against this negligent driver. In such an action you would be entitled to claim monetary compensation for your “losses” arising from the other driver’s negligence. In particular, you may be able to advance a claim to recover:

* damages for pain and suffering
* loss of income
* past and future medical and/or care expenses

Civil claims are very complicated. The Insurance Act contains a number of limitations or restrictions on your right to recover such losses in a civil action. It is imperative that you consult with one of our experienced lawyers to have your claim wholly assessed as soon as possible following a motor vehicle accident. No claim may be advanced if more than two (2) years have passed since the date of the accident. If you have an injury which is serious enough to entitle you to compensation, we will ensure that your claim is advanced – you will not be charged any legal fees until we are successful in recovering damages for you.