I never thought it would happen to me, but it did. When a careless driver crashed into me, I was left seriously injured and unable to work. I need money to cover my cost of living and medical expenses.
What are my options?
Our team at Robinson LLP, consisting of personal injury lawyers in Edmonton, can help you recover proper compensation. Below are a few options to help start with covering the cost of your medical expenses:
Section B – these are the “no-fault” benefits that you as an injured person get through the insurance company for the car you were driving or riding in at the time of the accident. You can access these benefits no matter who is at fault. If you are hit as a pedestrian, they come from the insurance company for the car that hit you. Section B benefits cover all reasonable medical expenses from the injury for two years after the accident, up to a maximum of $50,000 (although chiropractic, massage therapy and acupuncture are capped much lower).
If you were employed at the time of the accident, or worked for at least half a year before the accident, Section B will also pay an income benefit as long as you can’t do all the duties of your job. Unfortunately, income replacement will only be paid to a maximum of $400 per week for up to two years. If you weren’t employed, but are totally disabled and can’t do your housekeeping, you can still receive $135 a week for up to 26 weeks.
Disability insurance – these are insurance plans, often bought by an individual or provided through a group insurance plan (like your employer or union). They can cover medical expenses and income loss when you are injured and unable to work. The terms, benefits and durations vary based on the plan, but generally, the benefits can be for short-term or long-term disabilities.
(1) Short-term Disability (STD) – STD benefits cover a higher percentage of your regular income, but don’t last long (for example, often between 15-26 weeks). Coverage typically starts when sick leave runs out at work.
(2) Long-term Disability (LTD) – these are similar to STD benefits and kick in when they run out. LTD benefits replace a lower percentage of regular income, but unsurprisingly they last a considerably longer time. It is often more difficult to access LTD as the requirement is frequently that you be disabled from performing ANY occupation, not just your old occupation. Policies differ and coverage is based on the wording of your individual policy.
Employment Insurance (EI) – if you are temporarily unable to work because of your injuries, you might be eligible for EI sickness benefits. The amount you get varies from person to person, but it is often 55% of your regular weekly earnings. These benefits are very short term, lasting for a maximum of 15 weeks.
Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH)– this is for very serious situations. If you are permanently disabled from your injuries, cannot earn a living (and there is no training or treatment available to help you work), and you meet other financial criteria, then you may be eligible for AISH. It covers several things, including a living allowance of up to $1,588 per month, a child benefit, and various other health benefits, including prescriptions and dental services.
Canada Pension Plan (CPP) – this is another option for serious disabilities. If you are under 65 years old, have sufficiently contributed to the CPP, and are seriously disabled for a long time (so that you cannot work at any job regularly), you can apply for a monthly CPP benefit. The amount increases based on what you have already contributed to the CPP, up to a set monthly limit. If you have dependent children, they may also be able to receive a CPP benefit. These limits are adjusted yearly.
Advances – if you are currently litigating an injury claim with an insurance company, your lawyer may request an advance payment from the settlement proceeds. In some, limited, situations, these payments are provided.
To access any benefits available prior to settling your claim (and…obviously…also to help advance your claim as a whole), make sure you have the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer in Edmonton. Call or email us at Robinson LLP and we can help!
-by Mark Moore, Student-at-Law