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Who Can Claim Accident Benefits?

In Ontario, if you are hurt (physically or psychologically) as a result of a car accident, you may qualify for accident benefits. This means that if you were hurt as a pedestrian, on a motorcycle, or as a passenger in a single-vehicle crash, you can apply for benefits. If your child or another family member was hurt, in some cases they may be able to apply for benefits. Even if you were injured outside of Ontario, you may be able to claim accident benefits.

This article briefly outlines who may be entitled to claim accident benefits. This article does not provide a comprehensive list of who is/is not entitled. Each case depends on the facts and unique circumstances which may entitle one person and not another. You should contact a qualified car accident lawyer from Murray Ralston. We can give you a complete assessment of your case and the accident benefits to which you may be entitled.

Who Can Claim Accident Benefits?

While each benefit provides a specific eligibility test, generally, you must:

  • be an insured person;
  • who sustained or suffered an impairment (psychological or physical, including pain);
  • as a result of an accident involving the use or operation of an automobile.

If you were driving your vehicle when hit by another person, you're likely ‘an insured person’ under your own insurance. Even if you do not have your own insurance, you may still qualify for accident benefits. If, for example, you are a named driver under another person’s policy, you are a dependant of your insured parent, you were a pedestrian hit by an insured driver, or you were a passenger in someone else’s car or truck.

A person may still qualify for accident benefits even if not directly involved in a collision. If that person suffers psychological or mental injury as a result of an accident that results in physical injury to certain other persons, they may also claim accident benefits. For example, if your child is injured and you have to take time off work, or need counselling, you may be able to claim accident benefits.

What if I wasn't driving a car?

An automobile does not just mean a car, truck, or van. A passenger bus or motorcycle would also qualify as an automobile. Off-road and recreational vehicles are tricky and may qualify depending when, how and where they are being used. In some cases, a golf cart may be an automobile while in others it will not. The question really depends on the circumstances.

Likewise, whether you were involved in an ‘accident’ also depends on the circumstances. You do not have to be a driver or a passenger in a car to quality. For example, a person injured in a parking lot after slipping on ice on the way to his car may be eligible. If you were injured when hooking your trailer onto the back of your vehicle for a camping trip, you may qualify.

If you suspect you may be ‘insured’ or involved in an ‘accident’ you may wish to seek legal advice.

* The information above is not intended to be legal advice. Each situation is different and the information provided above may not provide you with all law applicable to your facts. To ensure you are properly protected under the law applicable to your facts, please contact Murray Ralston Law for a free consultation.