Car Accident Victims Face Tough Challenges with Car Insurance

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Car Accident Victims Face Tough Challenges with Car Insurance

You’re driving down the 401, minding your own business, signaling, checking your blind spots, keeping two cars’ distance behind the car in front of you, when suddenly the driver next to you loses control, swerves and crashes into you. Depending on the severity of the accident, your life may never be the same again. But one thing is for sure: it’s going to cost you. Unfortunately, you are one of the many car accident victims who have suffered emotionally, physically, and financially.

This June, Ontarians witnessed one of the most tragic car accidents in living memory, when three generations of family members and a student on the eve of her graduation died in a horrific car crash on Highway 400. Xhemile Vokshi, her daughter, Valbona, and granddaughter, Isabela, and student Maria Lipska were not only the ones who suffered that day. Family members and friends were left to mourn the loss, pick up the pieces and somehow find a way to move on.


Changes to Auto Insurance


On June 1, 2016, the Ontario government applied changes to car insurance benefits, in favour of the insurance companies. What you think you are paying for may now no longer apply or the coverage will have been significantly lowered. To get a full detailed list on the changes made recently to your car insurance policy, click here. These changes have taken effect no matter what your previous agreement was, so make sure that you understand your new rates and speak to your insurance company.


Understanding the repercussions of an accident may help you decide whether or not you need to adjust your insurance policy and if you should speak to a personal injury lawyer.


Initial Suffering


Even the slightest fender benders can cause physical pain and suffering. Whiplash is commonly associated with car accidents because of the sudden forwards and backwards motion of your neck when being struck. And even that small fender bender can cost you upwards of $2000 in damages. If you get hit and the driver’s insurance can cover the cost of repairs, this would be the best case scenario. But of course, worse accidents happen all the time. In 2014, an average of 93 people were injured or killed in a car accident every day in Ontario, according to a government statistic.



The Cost of Pain and Suffering


If you are a car accident victim, your suffering will not only be physical, although the physical suffering will be the most vital to overcome. All basic car insurance benefits cover medical expenses on a tiered basis, depending on the degree of your personal injury. If your personal injury is designated as non-catastrophic, your insurance benefit is capped at $65,000 for all medical, rehabilitation, and attendant care expenses. Prior to June first, these costs were separated at $50,00 for medical expenses and $36,000 for attendant care costs. If you’ve suffered greatly and you need long-term care, the new rates for catastrophic injuries are just $1,000,000 for medical, rehabilitation, and attendant care expenses, which is half the amount it used to be. If you need a lifetime of care, one million dollars is barely enough to cover the first few years of your life after the car accident. Optional benefits are obviously available, and because the minimum coverage now pays for even less expenses than they used to, insurance companies are profiting from the almost-necessary add-ons.


If your injuries prevent you from returning to work, you may suffer loss of wages if income replacement isn’t covered under your insurance policy. Your car will likely be undrivable, leaving you without means of transportation if, again, your insurance will not provide you with a temporary replacement. Unfortunately, not all of us live in areas where public transportation is easily accessible. If you live in rural Ontario and you suddenly find yourself without a car, that alone may prevent you from returning to work.


Financial Suffering


It’s easy to say, why not just pay for the extra coverage? But Ontario drivers already pay the highest insurance rates than anywhere in the country, and much much more than the Ontario average for those living in cities like Brampton, Vaughan, and Toronto. With the new changes being made this year to insurance benefits, extra coverage may quite simply be unaffordable.


If you are a car accident victim and you decide to sue the driver, it may be in your best interest to consult with a personal injury lawyer that you can trust and that will make sure to maximize your compensation. If you’re in the Greater Toronto Area, booking a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer at Sokoloff Lawyers may be the best decision you ever made. At no expense to you, you can find out if suing for damages is the best route to take.