Income Replacement vs. Non-Earner Benefits for Ontario Car Accident Victims
If you were injured in a car accident, regardless of who was at-fault, you might be entitled to coverage through your insurance provider. The different types of mandatory automobile insurance included in all Ontario policies are outlined in the province’s Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS).
Ontario’s SABS includes coverage for income replacement benefits if you are unable to return to work following your accident. Income replacement does not actually provide 100% of your pre-accident wages. Rather, the SABS directs the insurer to pay a benefit of up to 70% of your prior gross weekly income, subject to a maximum benefit of $400 per week for the first 104 weeks (2 years) of your disability. You may also be eligible for benefits past 104 weeks under certain circumstances.
But what happens if you were unemployed or not working prior to your accident? In that scenario, you may receive what are known as non-earner benefits. This type of benefit applies when an accident victim “suffers a complete inability to carry on a normal life,” according to the SABS. If eligible, the victim is entitled to a fixed benefit of $185 per week for the first 104 weeks of disability, with the potential for a higher benefit amount after that time.
Making an Election
Unfortunately, you cannot receive both the income replacement and non-earner benefits. The SABS regulations require you to make an election and choose between the two forms of available coverage, if you are somehow eligible for both.
Your insurance company is required to notify you within 10 days of receiving your application that an election is necessary. You then have 30 days from the date you receive that notice to inform the insurance company of your decision. Your election is considered “final” under the regulations, so you cannot change your mind and switch to the other benefit if you are unhappy with your choice.
Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers
Many people find insurance forms confusing. If you have questions or concerns about whether your insurance company is treating you fairly following a car accident, contact Preszler Injury Lawyers by calling 1-800-JUSTICE.
Our Ontario car accident lawyers have experience helping clients determine the amount of accident benefits and other forms of compensation to which they might be entitled. To learn more, take advantage of a free initial consultation by calling Preszler Injury Lawyers today.