Can You Settle Accident Benefits?
It may be possible to settle a Statutory Accident Benefits claim following an Ontario collision. In most cases, you cannot enter into a full and final settlement within the first year, but after a year, a settlement may be possible. This requires both you and the insurance company to agree to a cash offer that you will receive instead of your regular payments for one or more of your benefits.
If your Statutory Accident Benefits carrier offers a settlement or you are wondering if this might be a good option for you, it is best to discuss your case with a lawyer. This may be especially important if you suffered long-term or catastrophic injuries.
Understanding Accident Benefits Settlements in Ontario
Statutory Accident Benefits are no-fault benefits that injured car accident victims receive following a collision. They include many types of benefits, and any of these benefits may be settled, although this is up to the discretion of the insurance company. This includes:
- Income replacement benefits
- Medical benefits
- Caregiver benefits
- Non-earner benefits
- Rehabilitation benefits
- Attendant care benefits
- Death and funeral benefits
You cannot force the insurer to agree to a settlement, and they cannot force you into it, either.
Considerations for What Is a Good Settlement for Your Injuries
There are a number of implications that will occur if you agree to a settlement, and you should consider them carefully before agreeing. Our team will help you understand each one. They include:
- You will give up the right to receive additional benefits, no matter if your related injuries worsen.
- You can no longer use the rights provided under the Insurance Act to dispute, appeal, or otherwise challenge the amount provided by the insurer.
- Your cash settlement may be your only form of compensation if you do not have a tort claim.
You will want to make sure that your settlement compensates you for your past and ongoing expenses that arose from the accident. You’ll also want to consider how much money is necessary to treat any future problems that are likely to arise from your injury before deciding to accept a settlement.
Getting More Money from a Car Accident Settlement Is Dependent on the Strength of Your Case
Whether you are pursuing compensation through an Accident Benefits settlement or pursuing a third-party liability claim, your ability to get money for your damages will depend on the facts of your case. Your injuries, the other driver’s negligence, and your shared liability can impact the amount of money you’re entitled to receive.
A representative of our law firm that handles accident cases in Ontario may be able to assess your options and determine if you may be able to pursue compensation based on negligence and liability.
Your lawyer may be able to answer your questions about if you qualify to pursue pain and suffering damages or other liability-based damages (like future loss of income or future medical expenses), or otherwise determine the most appropriate approach for recovering damages based on their evaluation of your case.
If you have questions about the role of liability in your claim and wonder how you can obtain more compensation over and above your accident benefits settlement, you may want to consider reaching out to an Ontario-area car accident lawyer before you agree to any settlement.
Qualifying to File Suit Following an Ontario Traffic Accident
If your insurance company determines the other driver was primarily liable for your accident, and you meet additional criteria, you may be able to pursue pain and suffering damages as well as additional compensation.
Ontario law only allows car accident victims to file a lawsuit for pain and suffering damages, or medical care costs, rehabilitation expenses, and other related costs when they meet or exceed the legally established threshold to do so. This may include:
- When an injured party passes away
- When the victim suffers a serious or permanent disfigurement or impairment of an important function
- When the victim suffers a permanent serious disfigurement
It may be difficult to know if your injuries meet or exceed this severity/threshold test. A car accident lawyer who handles these cases may be able to review your medical records and explain your eligibility.
Additional recoverable damages may include lost income over and above your no-fault award and more if you qualify. The threshold test does not apply to claims relating to lost income.
You Have a Limited Time for Filing a Claim or Lawsuit
There are strict deadlines for filing a claim and filing a lawsuit. Per the Limitations Act of 2002, S.O. 2002, Chapter 24, you may only have two years to take your case to file a lawsuit or in the accident benefits framework, two years to dispute the denial of a benefit.
This is why you should connect with a car accident lawyer quickly following your car accident. We recommend making the call if you have questions about your insurance claims, insurance settlements, liability, or related concerns.
Speak with a Team Member from Preszler Injury Lawyers About Your Car Accident Case Today
If you were the victim of an Ontario car accident and are curious if you should seek a settlement of your accident benefits or wonder if you qualify for more compensation than is available through your accident benefits, Preszler Injury Lawyers may be able to help you.
At Preszler Injury Lawyers, a member of our team may be able to review your case and assess your options today. Call 1-800-JUSTICE to learn more.