In Canada, we watch the court drama of our neighbours to the south and wonder if we are eligible for the same type of “court lottery” paydays.
The Canadian legal system is quite different from that of the States, and there is a cap, or upper limit, of what settlement you can receive for an injury due to a motor vehicle accident. Usually, higher settlements or awards for damages are reserved for those who have suffered serious injuries.
Having said that, most people who are injured in a motor vehicle accident are entitled to some compensation. In Ontario, regardless of who is at fault, you are usually eligible to receive standard automobile accident benefits.
The effects of a motor vehicle accident aren’t always immediately apparent, so any settlement or benefit offer should be carefully considered. Achieving a fair settlement can take time, but keep in mind there are also application deadlines or limitation periods that may apply.
Understanding the settlement process and what compensation you are entitled to can make you feel more confident when negotiating or accepting an offer from your insurance company.
Can I Get A Settlement For A Car Accident
In Ontario, if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of fault, standard accident benefits should be available to you. These benefits are meant to help you to cover costs related to your rehabilitation and replace lost wages. If you were not at fault in the accident, in some cases, you can also make a claim for your pain and suffering.
What kind of Settlement Should I Expect From A Car Accident
To understand what a typical settlement for an injury due to an auto accident might be, the first factor to consider is the severity of the injury. Many factors can affect your settlement, and often it is hard to tell right away how much your settlement will be.
What is a Typical Settlement for Auto Accident
In Ontario, there are three levels of no-fault accident benefits, and each has a different maximum amount available for medical and rehabilitative care:
- Minor Injury Guidelines (up to a maximum of $3,500)
- Non-catastrophic Injuries (up to a maximum of $65,000)
- Catastrophic Impairment (up to a maximum of $1,000,000)
As you can see, the level at which your injuries are classified can have a major impact on the accident benefits you receive.
Other Factors that may affect your Car Accident Settlement Payout
In addition to the amount for medical, rehabilitation, and attendant care benefits, depending on your circumstances, you may also receive:
- An income replacement benefit;
- A Non-earner benefit; or
- Caregiver benefits.
If you have purchased optional insurance, you may be eligible to receive more.
What about Compensation for Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident?
In the case of more severe injuries or the death of a loved one, it may be possible to file a court claim for pain and suffering.
The Supreme Court of Canada has placed a cap on the amount that can be awarded for pain and suffering (non-pecuniary damages). This maximum award changes periodically based on inflation but is generally in the range of $350,000.
Keep in mind the amount mentioned in the previous paragraph is the maximum. The amount actually awarded would depend on precedents. That means that based on similar previous cases, with similar injuries and circumstances, the court would determine what amount of compensation for pain and suffering it considers fair.
In addition, particularly in Ontario, determining if it is worthwhile to make a claim can be complicated. A claim has to reach a certain threshold before going forward. In addition, any amount awarded may be subject to a statutory deductible of approximately $38,000.
How Long Do Car Accident Settlements Take
You can expect that a car accident settlement will take at least one year, if not longer.
That doesn’t mean you will not receive auto accident benefits sooner, but it does take time for both sides to determine the full extent and effects of the injuries.
Factors such as the complexity of your case, the severity of your injuries, and the necessity to go to court can also play a role in how long it takes to settle your claim.
How Long Does the Insurance Claim Process Take?
First, a reminder that if you are in a car accident and someone is injured or there is damage over $2 000, it must be reported to the police within 24 hours.
The timeline for the claims process is as follows:
You should report the injury to your insurance company as soon as possible, as there is a requirement to inform the insurer of any injuries within 7 days of the accident or as soon as practical after that.
After you initially report a claim for accident benefits to your insurance company, they will provide you with an Accident Benefits Application Package. You will have 30 days to fill out and return this package. Remember to make and keep a copy for your records before returning your application.
Once the insurance company has reviewed your application, they will contact you about the benefits you are entitled to receive. If the insurer has questions, further requirements, or needs some missing information, they should notify you within 10 days.
If you have questions or concerns at any point during this process, you may want to obtain some legal advice.
Average Car Accident Settlements in Canada
If you have been searching for a car injury settlement average amount, and come up with multiple answers, there is a reason for that. The process varies from province to province and each case is slightly different.
If you are wondering about recent car accident settlements in Ontario specifically, you may have noticed that most law firm websites will simply list off recent settlements achieved by their clients. This is because settlements usually happen outside of court, often making settlement amounts non-public information. That is why an exact answer to this question is not easily available.
Again, each situation is different and what may apply in your friend or family’s case may not be relevant to you, so knowing the average is not very helpful. What you really need to know, is what type of settlement you can expect given your specific injuries and life circumstances.
How Are Car Accident Settlements Calculated
Looking for a car accident settlement calculator Ontario? Online calculators can give you a ballpark figure, but often miss details that can make a difference. Laws in Canada are designed to return you to the position you would have been in had the accident never occurred, which means that while the amount you might receive would be based on similar cases, any settlement would reflect your particular situation.
Have You Read this and Still Have Questions?
Many people think they only need a car accident lawyer if they want to sue, or are being taken to court. However, applying for benefits or negotiating a settlement can be challenging, especially at a time when you are dealing with your injuries and recovery. Having a lawyer on your side can help give you peace of mind. A personal injury lawyer can assist with your application for benefits or help to negotiate your settlement to ensure you receive the settlement you deserve.
If you’ve been in a car accident and are questioning if you have a case or if your settlement reflects what you may be entitled to, our personal injury lawyers would be happy to speak with you. To learn more about how we can help if you’ve had a car accident, call or contact us.