Tell us how we can help:

I have read the disclaimer

Frequently Asked Questions

You can find our most frequently asked questions here

These common FAQs are for general reference only. They are not intended to replace legal counsel. Rules and regulations can change at any time and without notice.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What if the insurer refuses to pay a benefit I have applied for?

    There are a number of dispute resolution processes, including mediation, court or binding arbitration and a court action.

    Your options and prospects of success should be discussed with a lawyer familiar with the options and practices relating to each one

  • What are the “Must Do's” if I've been in a motor vehicle accident?

    After an auto accident you should:
     

    1. Inform the police of the accident and record the attending officer's name and badge number.
    2. Record the names of any witnesses and all those directly or indirectly involved in the accident.
    3. Contact your family doctor.
    4. Contact your insurance company within 7 DAYS.
    5. Report your injury to your employer or school.
    6. Record the names of all attending health care professionals.
    7. Keep all receipts for related expenses including those incurred by family members helping the injured person.
    8. Keep a record of the victim's health problems.
    9. Check for health and injury coverage provided through your employer, credit card or other sources.

    Important "Don't' s" for you to keep in mind
     

    • Don't rely on non-professional advice from friends, co-workers or family members about your case.
    • Don't sign any document you don't understand and the purpose of which hasn't been carefully explained to you.
    • Don't rush into any settlement of your legal rights.
    • Don't accept an offer of settlement without reviewing it with a specialist.
    • Don't be afraid to ask questions (lots of them).
    • Don't assume the insurer is always right.
    • Don't miss the opportunity to become informed about the time limits and notice periods relating to your case.
    • Don't wait to get good advice.
  • What is a “limitation period”?

     

    It is a legal time limit that forces you to start a court proceeding within a specific period of time following the incident that caused your injury. Failure to do so is fatal to your right to recover compensation (damages).

    The specific limitation periods for different matters range from several years to merely a number of months.

    Critical periods relating to motor vehicle accidents are set out elsewhere in this guide and on our website. For other claims, we urge you to take the time to find out from a qualified source. Our experts would be more than happy to hear from you about the particulars of your situation and advise you accordingly.

  • What is a “legal action”?

    It is a specific series of steps starting with the filing of a prescribed document called a "statement of claim" in a court office. For purposes of a meeting a limitation period requirement, this is the minimumrequirement to preserve your claim.

    PLEASE NOTE: Written notices (described above), applications for various benefits, verbal communications or simple contact with a lawyer do NOT mean a legal action has been started. Don't assume your legal rights have been protected in this way until your lawyer has been retained to pursue your claim and advises you the necessary steps have been taken on your behalf.

  • What is a “notice period”?

     

    Somewhat similar to a limitation period, it is a period of time, usually shortly after the event causing the injury, within which the injured party must formally notify a particular party or entity of an intention to seek damages from them.

     

    The form of the notice usually specifies that it must be in writing and contain certain particulars such as the date and location of injury, contact particulars for the injured party and various other matters. It also must be delivered (or "served") on a specific party or entity. It is critical not only that the notice is delivered, but also that proper proof of delivery is obtained.

     

    Failure to provide a required notice can have the effect of limiting, reducing, and in extreme cases, eliminating the prospect of recovery. Because these notice requirements are often as short as several days after the event, timely appreciation of a notice requirement is crucial.

  • Can I recover damages no matter how I am injured?

    No. In the most general terms, someone other than the injured party must be responsible for causing the injury. This responsibility can arise in one of a number of ways:

    • An intentional act, such as a physical assault;
    • A failure to act, or omission, where the responsible party has a duty to act (i.e. peace officers, municipal officials, etc.);
    • Negligence; where a party fails to meet legally-required standards of care to avoid harm or injury.

    The assessment of whether or not a particular incident creates liability on the part of some other person or agency is one of the most technical aspects of personal injury practice. To paraphrase a common warning, "Don't try this yourself". Leave it to the experts. In particular, do not rely on the advice of friends, co-workers or other non-professionals.

    In the area of motor vehicle law, there are certain circumstances in which even an "at fault" driver may be entitled to certain payments (or "benefits") even if they are the sole cause of their own injuries. (Please refer to the section in this manual dealing with "Accident Benefits".)

  • How do I get accident benefits?

    You must file a formal application in the prescribed form with the Accident Benefits Insurer. The specific automobile insurer is the first of the following list that applies to you:

    • The insurer of the vehicle you own or are insured for;
    • The insurer of the vehicle in which you were travelling when injured;
    • The insurer of any other vehicle involved in the accident.
    • If there is no insurer described in 1), 2), or 3) (above), you must apply to the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund.

    There are important time limits that you must comply with in order to obtain Accident Benefits and maintain your continuing entitlements:

    You MUST provide notice to the accident benefits insurer within 7 day of the accident;

    You MUST complete and submit an application for accident benefits within 30 days of receipt from the insurer.

    As part of the application process, your treating health care professional and your employer must complete certain forms. In addition, you may be required to do some or all of the following:

    Furnish the insurer with information they need to determine entitlement to accident benefits, including hospital and family physician records;

    • Provide a health practitioner's disability certificate;
    • Provide a statutory declaration about the circumstances giving rise to your claim;
    • Attend an examination under oath to be questioned by an insurer's representative;
    • Attend for a medical examination on behalf of the insurer.

    Although insurers are within their rights in requiring the foregoing, it is highly advisable to have representation by capable legal counsel to ensure that you do not supply any more information than you are required to provide, that examinations and statements are taken fairly and recorded accurately and that you are protected against oppressive and intimidating behaviour. Be aware that anything provided by you to the insurer, intentionally or not, becomes part of the insurer's file and can have a negative impact on the resolution of your case.

  • What is “no fault” automobile insurance?

    In Ontario, there is a legislated system in place that seriously limits your rights to sue and recover damages for injuries sustained as a result of a motor vehicle accident, even if you were not an "at fault" driver. At the same time, this system makes available a set of mandatory benefits ("Accident Benefits") that insurers must pay to injured parties, including "at fault" operators, passengers in vehicles and injured pedestrians. The nature of these benefits is described in greater detail elsewhere in this manual.

    The process of recovering damages and benefits through insurers is anything but simple. The formal application, required documentation and supporting materials can overwhelm even seasoned legal professionals who are not familiar with this area.

  • What is a “personal injury”?

    Here is a list of some of the more common examples of what are described as personal injuries:

    • Motor vehicle accidents.
    • Brain injuries.
    • Spinal cord injuries.
    • Disability benefits.
    • Wrongful death.
    • Injury from defective products.
    • Slip and fall accidents on municipal or private property.
    • Insurance benefit claims.
    • Catastrophic injuries.
    • Assault.

    This is not a comprehensive list. For example, dog bites arising from an improperly-controlled pets, a landlord's failure to maintain property and improper repair of a motor vehicle are just several other examples that may result in a claim.

  • What do I have to bring to the initial consultation with a lawyer at Pace Law Firm?

     

    Please bring the following documents to your free consultation:

    • Social Insurance Card
    • Health Card
    • Pink insurance declaration certificate
    • Driver's license
    • Contact information for your insurance company
    • If you have any of these documents, please bring a copy
    • Workplace insurance documents
    • Police motor vehicle accident report
    • Doctors' reports
    • X-Ray results
    • List of prescribed medication
    • Detailed description of how accident happened
    • List of treating physicians and specialists
    • Pay stubs
    • A list of any and all out-of-pocket expenses
    • Estimate of property damage
    • Any photographs of the scene
  • How long will my case take?

    This will vary depending on the nature of the injuries sustained at the time of the motor vehicle accident. Injuries which are routine and uncomplicated will usually be settled more expeditiously than those of a more complex nature requiring long periods of recovery and treatment. In cases such as these, more time will be required to provide the best legal representation in order to grant you compensation befitting the severity of your injuries. Motor vehicle accidents occurring on October 1, 2003 and after, are subject to new Insurance Act Regulations which prohibit settlements of accident benefit claims within one year. The extensive knowledge and experience of our lawyers, combined with your free consultation, will allow us to form an opinion as to the duration of the case and possible outcome.

  • My injury involves friend / neighbour / relative. I do not like the idea of suing them. Is it going to make it worse for them if I do?

    Unless you have sustained serious injuries or disfigurement of a permanent nature, you do not need to claim beyond the "no fault" scheme. You do not personally sue your friend / neighbour / relative. In Ontario, when a person has a valid policy of automobile insurance at the time of the motor vehicle accident, his or her insurance company will appoint defence counsel on his or her behalf. The insurance company pays when a settlement is reached between the parties. Again, it is important to contact a lawyer familiar with the insurance industry soon after the accident to receive compensation. Responsibility for the settlement of your case will rest with your lawyer in order that your relationship with the other party may continue undisturbed.

  • Will my insurance premium increase if I make an accident benefit claim?

    Effective October 1, 2003, the law is clear that your insurer should not increase your premiums if YOU make an accident benefit claim. If in doubt, please contact a lawyer who can act on your behalf regarding this issue.

  • Does "no fault" mean I can't sue?

    No. The concept of "no fault" insurance can be very confusing to someone who has sustained injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident. "No fault" benefits apply to anyone who has been injured in an accident. These benefits are, by law, included in every automobile insurance policy available in Ontario. An injured party can obtain this compensation according to strict guidelines known as the "Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule". In order to claim these benefits, it is important to enlist the services of a legal professional to guide you through the process and protect your rights. In addition, if you have sustained a serious permanent impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function as a result of the accident, you may be able to sue the other driver. You should speak to a Pace Law Firm personal injury lawyer about your right to sue.

  • The insurance company terminated my benefits. What should I do?

    Contact a lawyer at once. He or she will fully investigate your entitlement to compensation with your insurance company. You will also be requested to attend appointments with certain health care professionals to ascertain your entitlement to benefits.

  • The insurance company has called. What should I do?

    By consulting a lawyer in the area of personal injury, you will be informed of the different options available to you such as income replacement benefits and short-term disability. Your legal representative will negotiate with your insurance company to provide you with the best possible coverage for your particular needs.

    Consider contacting a lawyer with expertise in personal injury who can advise you of the benefits you are entitled to receive through your insurance company. You could be at a great disadvantage by dealing solely with an insurance adjuster. Insurance adjusters are limited in their ability to assist you. As employees of insurance companies, they may not necessarily point out or protect your rights to privacy, compensation, treatment and other important issues affecting you in the short term and in the future. It is therefore in your best interest to enlist the services of a personal injury lawyer to ensure that you receive your full entitlement to compensation. Your lawyer will also provide significant guidance and preparation in establishing your claim.

  • I cannot return to work as a result of my accident. What should I do?

    By consulting a lawyer in the area of personal injury, you will be informed of the different options available to you such as income replacement benefits and short-term disability. Your legal representative will negotiate with your insurance company to provide you with the best possible coverage for your particular needs.

  • I thought I was OK after my accident, but now I am in pain. What should I do?

    While it is best to contact a lawyer soon after suffering an injury, the law generally stipulates a limitation of two years to sue, following the date of the loss. However, the best-case scenario would be to promptly engage the services of a personal injury law firm in order to examine and assess all the facts of the case and advise you of your rights to compensation.