In the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident, emotions run high, and the last thing on your mind might be adhering to strict reporting deadlines. However, the timing of reporting an accident is one of the most critical factors of a successful claim.
In Ontario, Statutory Accident Benefit claims provide compensation, regardless of who is at fault for the accident, if you are injured as a result of the accident. The compensation includes access to certain benefits such as medical and rehabilitation, income replacement, attendant care, as well as many others.
To have access to these benefits, there is a legal obligation to report the accident within a specific period of time.
Section 32(1) of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule provides that a claimant must notify their insurance provider immediately within seven days of the accident if they intend to apply for one or more of the benefits.
Once the insurance provider has been put on notice, the claimant must then submit an application for benefits within 30 days of receiving the application forms.
In Ontario, the Limitations Act prescribes a basic two year limitation to pursue a civil action against the at-fault third-party driver of the accident, from the date of the accident.
However, while there is a basic two-year limitation, the injured claimant must provide written notice, within 120 days after the accident, to the at-fault third-party driver of their intention to pursue a civil action.
Understanding the challenges that arise when strict filing timelines are missed is crucial.
Failing to notify the insurance provider and applying for Accident Benefits within the specified timeframe can jeopardize your claim entitlement or even worse, result in disentitlement to the benefits.
While the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule allows a claimant to provide a reasonable explanation for the delay in applying for Accident Benefits, you should not take the risk. This is because your reasonable explanation may not be deemed reasonable, or the insurance provider may question the legitimacy of your claim.
Failure to report the accident within the strict timelines can have adverse effects on your claim. Examples of an adverse effect could mean a denial of a medical or rehabilitation benefit, which could leave you struggling to cover medical bills or expenses related to your accident injuries. Or the insurance provider may become very skeptical about how the accident transpired and the injuries you sustained. These skepticisms can lead to challenges when seeking compensation and/or entitlement to one or more of your benefits.
For civil actions, while notifying the at-fault third-party driver of your intention to pursue a claim against them is not a hard limitation under the Limitations Act, this could still significantly impact your claim.
However, if you fail to issue a claim within the 2 year limitation, you will become statute barred. This means you lose out on all your legal rights to take action against the at-fault third-party driver of the accident.
The strict deadlines associated with filing personal injury claims emphasizes the urgency of taking action.
Prompt reporting not only satisfies legal requirements but also establishes a clear connection between the accident, your injuries and your claim to benefits. It strengthens the foundation of your personal injury claims and helps avoid scepticisms arising during the claims process.
As Ontario personal injury lawyers, we emphasize the importance of acting promptly to protect your legal rights and ensure a smoother claims process. By initially meeting the legislative filing deadlines, you not only strengthen your case but also pave the way for a more straightforward path to recovery.
However, if you have concerns about missed deadlines, it is never too late to consult with a personal injury lawyer to understand your legal rights.
Contact Gosai Law immediately following a motor vehicle accident so we can help navigate you to a successful personal injury claim. Fill out the form on our Contact Us page or call (905) 595-2225 for a free consultation.