Can I seek compensation for medical expenses from my whiplash injury?
After a motor vehicle accident, it may take several days for some types of injuries, such as whiplash, to manifest and symptoms to appear. If you become aware that you suffered a whiplash injury in an accident in Ontario, you can still seek compensation for your injuries if you act quickly to protect your rights.
What is whiplash?
Whiplash is a general term encompassing neck sprains or strains. It is caused by a fast back-and-forth movement of the neck, such as in a car accident. It is a soft tissue injury, meaning that the injury is to the muscles of the neck, and the damage may not appear on an x-ray.
Whiplash can cause a stiff neck, dizziness, pain through the neck and shoulders, or other related symptoms. It can be a relatively minor injury that will heal with time, though in many cases there can be lasting damage to the neck that makes it difficult to perform daily activities.
Can I be compensated for whiplash injuries?
Ontario law provides for multiple types of damages in a motor vehicle accident to compensate you for whiplash injuries.
You may be compensated through:
- Private insurance coverage (STD and LTD coverage);
- Accident Benefits; and/or
- a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
How Compensation for Whiplash Works
Your private insurance can provide coverage for short term or even long term disability coverage paying for lost income. If your whiplash requires treatments not covered by OHIP, you may be able receive accident benefits from your auto insurance. Ontario law limits the amount of medical benefits that auto insurers must provide. For non-minor and non-catastrophic injuries or medical conditions caused by an accident, this amount is capped at $50,000.
Whiplash, however, may be considered a minor medical condition, and coverage for minor conditions is capped at $3,500. If complications from your whiplash cost more than $3,500, your Accident Benefits may not provide coverage for the excess. In some cases, though, you may be able to establish that your whiplash injuries are not minor and you may be able to recover more benefits.
Accident benefits will pay for treatments or care designed to help you reduce the effects of your disability, and may include transportation costs to get to and from rehabilitation sessions depending on your location. You will have to talk to your doctor to determine if your injury requires rehabilitation.
Finally, if your injury meets the ‘verbal threshold’ requirement, you may be able to sue for additional medical costs as well as pain and suffering damages. The verbal threshold, though, requires that the injury causes permanent and serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function.
Call the Preszler Injury Lawyers to Discuss Your Options
Accident Benefits allow you to recover additional benefits in addition to OHIP. This includes Income Replacement, Medical and Rehabilitation benefits, Attendant Care benefits and a Non-earner benefit. Talk to a lawyer so you can learn more about the benefits available and to which your whiplash injury may entitle you.
The lawyers at Preszler Injury Lawyers in Ontario can review your accident and advise you on your legal options. If you suffered whiplash in a motor vehicle accident, call 1-800-JUSTICE® or fill out our evaluation form today to schedule your consultation.