Having a motor vehicle accident is traumatic enough. But if you decide to seek compensation from the at-fault driver, beware that you don’t have a second collision – with Ontario’s statutory deductible.
In this province, you can claim a number of different kinds of compensation for a car accident, including pain and suffering, loss of income, out-of-pocket expenses and so on.
If we consider pain and suffering, for injured drivers and passengers to collect damages they have to meet a threshold test, determining whether there’s permanent disfigurement or permanent serious impairment of essential physical, mental or psychological functions.
But under the Ontario Insurance Act, a deductible may apply to the compensation you collect. Previously, if you were awarded damages for pain and suffering of more than $100,000, you pay no deductible. If your damages are $100, 000 or less, then a $30,000 deductible applies. As of August 1, 2015 the deductible is now $36,540 and it applies to matters where damages for pain and suffering is assessed at $121,799 or less.
So, for example, if you are awarded $90,000, you would get $53,460 after the deductible. Or if you won $40,000, then you would only receive $3,460. And if you were awarded less than $36,540, you would wind up with nothing and perhaps even owe money because of legal costs.
The other thing you should be aware of is that if you go to court the jury won’t be told about the deductible when making their decision. So they could award you a modest settlement of $25,000, not realizing that this leaves your pockets empty under Ontario law.
All motor vehicle accidents are different and require the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer so you can understand your rights and what to expect down the road.