Ontario motorists may have noticed another change in the level of their accident benefits coverage starting June 1, 2016. These recent changes have come about after the Ontario Legislature filed Bill 251/15 to amend the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (also known as â€śSABSâ€ť).
Legislation in Ontario makes these SABS accident benefits a required component of the insurance policies of all Ontario motorists. When an owner, operator or occupant of a vehicle is injured in an automobile accident, they typically will turn to their own automobile insurer for these SABS benefits to assist with their rehabilitation and economic losses. Now with the legislated changes affecting these accident benefits as of June 1, 2016, many of the rehabilitation needs and economic losses of accident victims may not be covered by their own standard automobile insurance policies.
These reductions to the standard SABS accident benefits coverages will impact those that have been catastrophically injured in car accidents as well as those that have suffered other non-catastrophic injuries and minor injuries. Some of these reductions are as follows:
- Instead of a separate limit of $1,000,000 for attendant care benefits plus an additional limit of $1,000,000 for medical and rehabilitation benefits, catastrophically injured claimants will now have just a combined limit of $1,000,000 for both attendant care benefits and medical and rehabilitation benefits from their own automobile insurer.
- Instead of a separate limit of $36,000 for attendant care benefits and an additional limit of $50,000 for medical and rehabilitation benefits, those with non-catastrophic and non-minor injuries will now have just a combined limit of $65,000 for both attendant care benefits and medical and rehabilitation benefits from their own automobile insurer. These benefits may now only be available for 5 years instead of 10 years.
- Weekly Non-Earner benefits for those that have suffered a complete inability to carry out a normal life were previously payable for up to the entire life of the injured claimant but now these benefits are only payable for up to two years from the injured claimantâ€™s own insurer.
What can you do?
- If you do not wish to lose all of the SABS benefits coverage you had as â€śstandardâ€ť benefits prior to June 1, 2016 you should contact your insurance broker right away and pay for the “optional” increased accident benefits coverage.
- If you have unfortunately been in a collision after June 1, 2016 but before June 1, 2017 and you also unfortunately did not increase your SABS benefits coverage through your insurance broker before your accident, check your policy to see if it has not yet been renewed because your accident benefits coverage that you had prior to June 1, 2016 may still be in place.
- If you have unfortunately been in a accident after June 1, 2016 and you no longer have that increased accident benefits coverage from your own automobile insurer that you had prior to June 1, 2016, you may be able to recover compensation to replace those accident benefits lost by commencing a lawsuit against a driver that caused the collision.
As the legislature once again reduces the standard automobile accident benefits coverage for Ontario motorists, lawsuits to recover fair and reasonable compensation from the insurance of at-fault drivers will become more crucial for accident victims to obtain the fair compensation and care they deserve and to restore their dignity.