Every pedestrian on the road has rights and included among these rights is getting compensation when they incur injuries in a car accident. Pedestrian accidents involving motor vehicles often occur in roadways, crosswalks, intersections, driveways and parking lots. Clearly, a pedestrian is extremely vulnerable when involved in some form of collision with an automobile and a high percentage of these accidents result in serious long-term injuries, catastrophic injuries and even death. According to regulations, catastrophic injuries are traumatic brain injuries, internal injuries, multiple fractures and spinal cord injuries.
If, as a pedestrian, you have been injured in an accident, you are entitled to compensation. You can claim this compensation by filing an accident benefits claim as well as through a tort claim, which means filing a lawsuit against the person responsible for the accident. Unlike other provinces, in Ontario, you can file an accident benefits claim and, at the same time, sue the driver at-fault for damages.
In Ontario, the responsibility for pedestrian safety is generally placed upon the motor vehicle drivers. In most cases, when they get involved in a pedestrian accident, a higher percentage of the presumption of being the negligent party will fall on the driver of the vehicle. This means that pedestrians may not face a lot of obstacles in claiming compensation. However, it also does not mean that it will be easy as both claims will entail specific requirements and have designated timeframes.
Accident Benefits Claim
You can file your accident benefits claim sometimes called no-fault claim from your own automobile insurance company. If you do not have your own vehicle insurance policy, you can claim compensation from the automobile insurance company of the driver at fault. In situation where none of the persons involved have automobile insurance policies, the claim can be filed at the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims (MVAC) Fund.
You will have a timeframe of seven days from date of the accident to inform the automobile insurance company of your intention to file a claim. The insurance company will send you a packet or what is called an accident package which contains forms that you need to completely fill in and file within 30 days from receipt. The insurance company is required to reply to your claim within 14 days upon receipt. If you cannot file your claim within the period prescribed, you must have a valid excuse for not doing so. Most often, what is considered a valid excuse is that you were still confined for treatment.
If you are covered by other health insurance policies such as those offered through your place of employment or through coverage from your spouse’s workplace policy, the accident benefits coverage will only pay for the balance or whatever is not covered by these other policies.
Benefits that you may be entitled to receive are income replacement benefits, non-earner benefits, caregiver benefits, attendant care benefits, expenses of visitors, medical and rehabilitation benefits not covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), and housekeeping and home maintenance benefits. Some of these benefits are mutually exclusive, in such cases you must choose the benefit that is most suited to your situation. If your application qualifies you for more than one benefit, the insurance company will inform you.
In some cases wherein you feel that the driver at-fault was grossly negligent, or the injuries incurred are catastrophic, you can opt to claim damages by filing a lawsuit. This is sometimes called an at-fault claim. You can claim damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of amenities, past and future loss of income, loss of household and handyperson capacity and future cost of care.
You have to inform the driver at-fault that you intend to file a lawsuit against him or her within 120 days from date of accident and the lawsuit must be filed within two years.
Read more about Injury Claims.
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