Accident benefits are a contractual benefit owed to you by a car insurer after an accident. They are owed to you no matter whether you are at fault or not for a car accident. It is also the case that accident benefits extend past the date that you have settled a personal injury case, so long as contractual benefits are still owed. There are two main rules governing entitlement to accident benefits.
- Treatment is required for accident-related injuries and four years have not passed since the accident.
- $50,000 has not been spent on accident-related treatment.
The key phrase here is “accident related” because the insurance company will only pay for accident-related injuries.
At NOVA Injury Law, it’s often the case that our clients have settled their personal injury case at some point before the four-year anniversary of the car accident. Many of our clients were concerned about who will pay for their future care, pay weekly indemnity benefits, and mileage to medical appoints for accident-related injuries. We alleviate their concern by informing them that they will receive accident benefits after the settlement date of the injury claim. Remember, an injury claim release form does not give up your rights to accident benefits because those benefits are entirely separate from an injury claim, which is a claim based on negligence.
The separation between a car accident injury claim and the right to accident benefits is a critical to bear in mind, especially when future care costs are expected into the months and years to come. The accident benefits insurer will pay future care required within the first four years of the accident. You should anticipate that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will not want to pay for treatment. But what about treatment after four years, or if $50,000 has been spent? We suggest you speak to a lawyer right away if there is any realistic possibility that care will be needed beyond four years following a car accident.
Unlike an injury claim which is closed forever once settled, you are able to restart accident benefits so long as a medical doctor says that you need treatment for accident-related injuries. It is always open for the accident benefit insurer, however, to have their medical counsel review that information. To ensure that you continue to have access to accident benefits, it is crucial that you’re in regular communication with your family doctor or a walk-in clinic physician who can write referral letters for physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractor, acupuncture, or whatever other treatment modality you require.
If you are considering settling your injury claim, it is essential that you are confident that your future care costs will be fully covered from the injury claim settlement. You do not want to put yourself in a position where your injury claim has been spent on care costs and you are left without additional compensation to cover future treatment needed to improve your quality of life.
If you have any questions about a potential settlement or want to learn more about the interaction between a tort claim and accident benefits, please call NOVA Injury Law and arrange for a free consultation. Jeff Mitchell ([email protected]) offers free consultations where you will learn about your rights and various legal options as it relates to a tort claim for car accident injuries and accident benefits.
NOVA Injury Law is a Halifax based personal injury firm serving all of Atlantic Canada. The firm offers free legal information and resources to help the community better understand their rights after a car accident. To get more information call 902.442.8853.