Every automobile insurance policy in Ottawa and across Ontario contains mandatory Accident Benefits coverage. This includes weekly Income Replacement Benefits and Non-Earner Benefits. This also includes Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits to help you recover from any accident-related injuries. Generally, you are entitled to recover Accident Benefits, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
But what if you are being charged with a criminal offence in association with the accident? For example, what if you were an intoxicated driver at the time of the collision? This may have an effect on the benefits you receive.
What is a “criminal offence”?
According to the Ontario Statutory Accident Benefits legislation, your benefits may be affected if at the time of the collision you were
- engaged in an activity for which you are convicted of a criminal offence; or
- were a passenger in a vehicle that was being used in connection with an act for which you are convicted of a criminal offence.
This may include the following:
- operating a vehicle while impaired;
- operating a vehicle while the concentration of alcohol or drugs in your blood is over the legal limit;
- failing to comply with an officer’s demand for a breath sample or bodily substance sample, physical coordination test or evaluation; or
- any other criminal offence, whether or not the offence is related to the operation of an automobile.
Will my Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits be affected?
No. You are entitled to your Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits regardless.
Will my weekly benefits, such as my Income Replacement Benefits or Non-Earner Benefits, be affected?
Yes. If you are convicted of a criminal offence in relation to the collision, your insurer is not required to pay you any Income Replacement Benefits or Non-Earner Benefits.
What if you are being charged for a criminal offence, but are fighting the charge? If you are charged with a criminal offence but are not yet convicted, the insurer will put your benefits aside and will hold these amounts in trust for you until the final disposition of your criminal case. If you are ultimately found guilty of the offence, your insurer will get to keep the withheld amounts. However, if you are found not guilty, you will be paid these benefits.
Will any other benefits be affected?
Yes. In addition to your weekly benefits listed above, the following other benefits will be affected:
- Lost educational expenses;
- Expenses of visitors; and
- Housekeeping and home maintenance expenses, which are available to people with catastrophic impairments.
If you or someone you know has been in a motor vehicle collision in Ottawa, Ontario or the surrounding area, and are looking for assistance with either a lawsuit or your Accident Benefits, contact the lawyers at SG Injury Law: