The Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer to Process Your Tort Claim
Those injured in car accidents in Ontario have several options for pursuing compensation. An injured victim who was not at fault for the crash may file a tort claim in addition to applying for Accident Benefits (which are available to all victims, regardless of fault).
A tort claim – otherwise known as a lawsuit – allows an injured victim to sue an at-fault or partially at-fault driver for damages. These claims are much more complex than applying for Accident Benefits. This is why many victims hire injury lawyers to process these claims.
Tort Claims Demand Fast Action
An injured victim has to act fast after an accident. Ontario’s insurance laws dictate a person must notify his or her insurance company within seven days of the accident. Additionally, the victim has just 30 days from the date he or she receives the Application for Accident Benefits to file the application. Why does this matter? A victim cannot file a tort claim without first filing for Accident Benefits. Therefore, one must adhere to the tight deadlines imposed on Accident Benefits in order to qualify for a lawsuit.
An injury lawyer may have a keen understanding of all relevant deadlines and requirements. Lawyers can ensure a client adheres to the statutory guidelines when pursuing compensation.
Compensation Available in a Tort Claim
Many victims opt to pursue tort claims to address costs above and beyond what is covered under the standard Accident Benefits.
Some of the potential damages in a tort claim include:
- Pain and suffering – Victims who meet the statutory threshold may be eligible for additional compensation for pain and suffering in motor vehicle accident cases. This is available only when an accident results in permanent serious disfigurement or a permanent serious impairment to an important bodily function (such as physical or mental impairment) or death. An injury lawyer can build a case and present evidence that supports the assertion for pain and suffering and explain how much compensation will be available for these damages. Pain and suffering damages are not included in Accident Benefits.
- Health care – Accident Benefits typically only pay up to $50,000 in Medical and Therapeutic Benefits for a period of 10 years. If your injuries fall within the minor injury guideline, you will only receive $3,500 in treatment. A tort claim may be able to recover additional money above and beyond those limits, provided the victim meets the threshold.
- Lost income – Accident Benefits may provide up to $400 a week to address lost wages for a period of time. A tort claim may be able to recover anywhere 70 percent of your past loss of income and 100 percent of your future lost income, less what has been paid under Accident Benefits. Note that victims cannot claim lost wages accrued in the first seven days following the accident.
An injury lawyer may be able to help accident victims assess the potential value of a claim after conducting a case evaluation. Call to learn more about the benefits of hiring an injury lawyer to process a tort claim. We are available at 1-800-JUSTICE® or by completing this confidential online form. There is no cost unless we are able to recover compensation for you.