Learning the Regulations on Your Auto Accident Settlement

By Sokoloff Lawyers
Learning the Regulations on Your Auto Accident Settlement

There’s a reason that legal textbooks are more likely to be mistaken for phonebooks than student literature. The law is massive and unwieldy, with different rules and regulations for increasingly minute scenarios. As a macrocosm, the law is no less complex than one of its microcosmic fractals, automobile insurance law. To the untrained, an auto accident settlement is a cosmos of dates, figures, benefits, and payments. Luckily, Toronto personal injury lawyers have experience in insurance law and can guide you through the crucial information you need to know about your auto accident settlement.


Compulsory Minimum Third-party Liability


In any car accident, there is a degree of liability. Sometimes the liability is wholly on one driver, sometimes it is split between two or more. Deciding this liability is often the crux of an auto accident settlement. Every automobile insurance policy in Ontario, by law, has third-party liability clauses, hence the “compulsory minimum”. The minimum third-party liability in Ontario is $200,000, and if this includes personal injury and property damage, the property damage may only account for five per cent of the sum.


Medical Benefits


Medical benefits vary depending on the class of injury (as defined in the Insurance Act): minor injuries are limited to $3,500 per person, non-catastrophic injuries to $100,000, and catastrophic injuries to $1,000,000.


Income Benefits


If you were employed at the time of your motor vehicle accident, the income replacement benefit will provide you with 80 per cent of your net income gains, capped at $400 per week and at a minimum of $185 per week. The maximum timeframe for this benefit is 104 weeks (i.e. two years from the car accident injury) although catastrophic injuries involving permanent disabilities may extend this limit.


Do I Have the Right to Sue?


In a pure no-fault automobile insurance system, neither party ever has the right to sue, since the system is designed to fully compensate for any and all injuries. Ontario’s no-fault system is modified, however, to allow for lawsuits under certain circumstances:

  • Non-pecuniary Losses
    • These types of losses compensate for non-monetary damage, such as pain and suffering. You can only file a suit for pain and suffering if your injuries meet the verbal threshold in the Insurance Act, which means suffering “permanent and serious” disfigurement and/or impairment of physical, mental, or psychological function.
  • Pecuniary Losses
    • As you may have guessed, pecuniary losses are losses than can be directly assigned to money. You are always allowed to file an auto accident settlement for these economic losses: the only limit is that you cannot sue for more than 80 per cent of net income loss before trial—you may sue for 100 per cent of (projected) income loss after trial. This is all independent of any income replacement benefits.

If you’re confused by your auto accident settlement, contact a Toronto personal injury lawyer and book your free consultation as soon as possible. Time is of the essence in your case, and a good motor vehicle lawyer can secure you the compensation you deserve.