Using accident benefits to access medical cannabis treatment

By Steven Arie Glowinsky | March 15, 2019

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident,  you may be entitled to up to $65,000 in medical benefits for up to five years if you have sustained injuries deemed by the insurer to fall outside the Minor Injury Guideline.

Typically, individuals use these funds to pay for psychologists, physiotherapies, massage therapists, chiropractors, and other supports to aid in their medical recovery. What insurers are starting to turn their minds to, however, is that these funds can also be spent covering the cost for medicinal cannabis. 

Cannabis is now being used by individuals suffering from chronic pain, epilepsy, depression, arthritis, cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep disorders, and many other disabilities.

Consumption methods have come a long way beyond smoking. Vaporization, infused edibles, juicing, topical and sublingual forms each have advantages and disadvantages based on the individual and the condition being treated.

Ontario-based motor vehicle accident victims can apply for medical cannabis using their own insurer’s accident benefits (governed by the Statutory Accidents Benefits Schedule). This involves a bureaucratic system of submitting Treatment Plans and supporting documents.

Claimants must prove the medical need is reasonable and necessary and this requires the endorsement of a medical treatment provider.  It is helpful if family doctors and/or long-standing medical treatment providers support new forms of treatment as this will have significant influence on the courts and the insurers. Physician involvement is also important if there are preexisting disorders or injuries that could be dangerous when combined with cannabis.

A personal injury lawyer is good resource for people who need help submitting their request to the insurer, or to contest denials to fund this form of treatment.  Many lawyers can also help facilitate an introduction to a physician with expertise in this area.

Steven Arie Glowinsky is a personal injury lawyer at Pace Law Firm. One of his fastest growing areas of practice are pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicle drivers who suffered serious injuries as a result of an accident and are looking to access medical cannabis as part of their accident benefits. Steven can be reached at sglowinsky@pacelawfirm.com or (416) 734-0431.