What Happens If I can’t Work Following a Car Accident in Ontario?
One of the most terrifying aspects of being injured in a motor vehicle accident is the fear that you won’t be able to return to work and provide for yourself and your loved ones. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be off work for a few days, a few months or an even longer extended period of time. Who will pay the bills during this period of recovery?
In addition to any collateral benefits you may have access to (for e.g. a disability plan from your work), you may also be entitled to apply for Income Replacement Benefits (IRBs) under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule – Accidents on or after September 2, 2010.
This is the fourth installment in our series of discussions on No-Fault Benefits in Ontario and what the recent changes mean to Ontario motorists.
Who qualifies for Income Replacement Benefits?
In general, IRBs are available to personal injury victims who were employed at the time of the motor vehicle accident (including self-employed persons) and who, as a result of injuries sustained in the accident, “suffer a substantial inability to perform the essential tasks of their employment”. This is the definition that applies for the first two years following a car accident. After two years, the test changes and it becomes harder to qualify for IRBs. Specifically, the definition after two years is “a complete inability to engage in any employment or self-employment for which he or she is reasonably suited by education, training or experience.”
How much will I get?
Assuming you are eligible to receive IRBs, the amount you will receive depends on a number of factors, including your pre-accident income, any other income available to you and whether you have purchased Optional Benefits . Key points to be aware of include the following:
- No IRBs are payable in the first 7 days following an accident
- For accidents occurring after September 1, 2010, the amount of the weekly IRB is based on 70% of your gross pre-accident weekly income, subject to the maximum amounts outlined below
- Under the Standard Limits, the maximum weekly amount payable for the first two years following the accident is $400 per week
- Optional limits increase the maximum weekly amount to $600, $800 or $1,000 per week (must be purchased prior to date of the car accident)
How do I apply for IRBs?
In order to receive IRBs, you will need to submit a completed Application for Accident Benefits. In addition, your insurance company will likely require that some, or all, of the following forms be completed:
- An OCF-3 (Disability Certificate)
- An OCF-2 (Employer’s Confirmation Form)
- An OCF-10 (Election of Income Replacement, Non-Earner or Caregiver Benefit)
If you have been involved in a car accident and are unable to work, there is a good chance you may be able to receive IRBs. To ensure you are receiving all of the benefits you are entitled to as well as advice about filling out these forms and the impact of any choices you are required to make (i.e. choosing between Income Replacement, Non-Earner or Caregiver benefits), it is important to speak with someone knowledgeable in the area of Accident Benefits.
Our team of experienced Ontario personal injury lawyers have the expertise to ensure you are accessing all the benefits available to you and would be pleased to sit down with you for a free initial consultation.