The aftermath of a car accident can be both physically and mentally taxing. Added financial burden can further strain the road to recovery.
Needless to say, stressing out about car insurance is the last thing you want on your mind after a serious accident.
Of course, we understand that the specificities of car insurance can bring forth many question marks. Many people are unsure of how to navigate a motor vehicle-related claim, and what to expect based on their situation and personal injury case.
As such, we want to talk about how your personal injury case may impact your car insurance.
It’s important to know that every claim is different, and that the steps you take are dependent on the circumstances around the accident. Generally, insurance premiums will almost always increase for the at-fault party.
Motor vehicle accidents typically have two components; a tort component and an accident benefits component.
The accident benefits regime is no-fault. Regardless of whether you are at-fault or not, you can access benefits through your own insurer. If you are at-fault and bring a claim to your own insurance company for accident benefits, you’ll likely see a premium increase and will probably have to pay a deductible. If you are at-fault and the other driver involved in the accident sues you, you will also likely see a premium increase.
If you are not at-fault and decide to commence an accident benefits claim, you will likely not see a premium increase.
Of course, every case is unique; while this is a good rule of thumb, there are exceptions. And don’t forget, you might see premium increases due to other factors the following year that are unrelated to the accident.
In a nutshell: if you have been in a motor vehicle accident and you are wondering whether or not your insurance premiums will increase, you need to first establish whether or not you were at-fault for the accident.
You may be wondering if it’s worthwhile to pursue accident benefits if you are at-fault, and the answer to this question is generally, yes.
If you are severely injured following an accident and are unable to return to work or navigate your everyday life, it’s definitely important to consider pursuing an accident benefits claim. Accident benefits provide you with access to income replacement benefits, medical treatment, attendant care, and several other types of aid. If your injuries are significant enough, it would most likely cost more to pay for medical rehabilitation out of pocket than a premium increase. For this reason, we typically recommend pursuing accident benefits even if you are at-fault – the pros outweigh the cons.
In some cases, you may have access to something called “accident forgiveness.” Ask your insurance company: If you qualify for this feature, you could get reprieve on accident-related premium increases.
So how do we know who is at-fault?
The accident benefits regime establishes fault through a system called the Fault Determination Rules.
For the purpose of tort claims, determining fault is a fact-based exercise.
If you are 100% at-fault for the accident, you may not have a viable tort claim. However, you may still commence an accident benefits claim through your own insurance company.
You can only commence a personal injury claim under the tort regime if you are not 100% at-fault for the accident. You may still commence a tort claim if you are partly at-fault, in which case you would be apportioned a percentage of fault. If this is the case, your premiums may increase.
So if you are free of fault, or only partially at-fault, you can pursue a tort claim against the other driver.
A car accident can occur in a multitude of ways. Because insurance premium spikes are tied to the question of fault, it’s important to know when a driver may be found at-fault.
Below are a few common situations where you will likely be found at-fault:
At Gosai Law, we understand that every case is different.
Oftentimes, clients will come to us after getting a denial from their insurance company.
If you believe you have been unfairly denied treatment, we can help you.
If you have been injured in a car accident, and are considering a tort claim, we are here.
If you have questions about your case or wish to get a better sense of the options available to you, get in touch.
We have the skills and experience to understand your case; we know how to navigate the system in order to get the treatment you require to recover and get back to your everyday life.