Car Accident Lawsuits
What can I claim?
1. Damages for pain and suffering, and for loss of enjoyment of life;
2. Damages for loss of income and loss of earning capacity
3. Damages for housekeeping and home maintenance expenses
4. Health care expenses
5. Damages for the effect of the accident on your family
6. Frequently Asked Questions
1. Pain and Suffering
To recover an award for your pain and suffering in a car accident lawsuit, you must prove that you suffered a “permanent serious disfigurement” (such as scarring) or a “permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function”. This is sometimes called the “threshold”
For accidents that occurred after October 1, 2003, claims for pain and suffering are subject to a $30,000 deductible. For example, if your damages for pain and suffering are assessed at $50,000, you will recover $20,000 after the application of the deductible if you meet the threshold. This deductible does not apply if pain and suffering damages are assessed at $100,000 or more.
2. Loss of Income
From the first week after the accident until the time your case settles or reaches trial, you can claim 80% of your net income loss. You can claim 100% of your future gross income loss.
In most cases, you should also seek compensation for income loss from:
Employment disability insurance; or
Any private disability insurance; or
Your accident benefits insurer.
If the sources of income replacement are insufficient to pay for your actual income loss, a claim for the difference can be made against the party who caused the accident.
3. Housekeeping and Home Maintenance
If you are unable to maintain your home as you did before the accident, you can claim reimbursement for expenses you incur or for your loss of housekeeping and home maintenance capacity.
You should also seek reimbursement for housekeeping and home maintenance expenses from your accident benefits insurer and claim the difference.
4. Health Care Expenses
If your injury meets the threshold (see above) you can claim for past health care expenses that have not been paid by OHIP, disability insurance or your accident benefits insurer. You can also claim future health care expenses. If you are seriously injured, the claim for future health care expenses can be one of the most important parts of your claim.
5. Family Relationships
If you are injured or killed in a car accident, your spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters are entitled to recover the following:
actual expenses reasonably incurred for your benefit;
actual funeral expenses reasonably incurred;
a reasonable allowance for travel expenses actually incurred in visiting you during your treatment or recovery;
a reasonable allowance for loss of income or the value of nursing, housekeeping or other services for you; and,
an amount to compensate for the “loss of guidance, care and companionship” that the claimant might reasonably have expected to receive from you if the injury or death not occurred.
Claims for “loss of care guidance and companionship” arising out of car accidents occurring after October 1, 2003 are subject to a $15,000 deductible.
If the claim is assessed at more than $50,000, the $15,000 deductible does not apply.
6. Frequently Asked Questions About Motor Vehicle Lawsuits
What should I do if I’ve been injured in a car accident?
Seek medical attention.
Inform the police about the accident.
Write down the names, addresses, phone numbers and insurance details of involved parties and the names, addresses and phone numbers of the witnesses to the accident.
Notify the accident benefits insurance company within 7 days of your car accident.
Keep receipts for all expenses you incur as a result of the accident. Family members should also record dates and time spent caring for the injured person.
Check for other insurance coverage (i.e. through work, school or private plans).
7. What information will I need to bring when I meet with a lawyer?
The more information you are able to provide when you first meet with your lawyer the better. We have listed below some of the information and documents that will assist your lawyer. Do not worry if you do not have any or all of the items listed. Your lawyer will be able to obtain records for you:
Pink insurance declaration certificate;
Contact information for your insurance company;
Workplace insurance documents;
Police motor vehicle accident report;
Doctors' reports and records;
List of prescribed medication;
Detailed description of how accident happened;
List of treating physicians and specialists;
List of any and all "out-of-pocket" expenses;
Estimate of property damage to your vehicle; and
Any photographs of the scene.