Auto accidents are among Ontario’s top causes of injuries, ranging from minor to fatal ones. Most of these injuries cause temporary to permanent damage to the victim’s life, depending on their severity. To ensure that every auto accident injury victim is protected and cared for, i.e., from treatment and rehabilitation to replacement of lost income and other injury-related expenses, Ontario has established strict regulations under the Ontario Insurance Act.
In this blog, we explore the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS), one of the most important inclusions in automobile coverage per the Ontario Insurance Act. To find out what SABS is and why it’s essential for persons injured in automobile accidents, dive into this article.
What is Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule?
The statutory Accidents Benefits Schedule, also known as SABS, is a regulation included in every motor vehicle insurance policy in Ontario.
It is a mandatory form of no-fault insurance that provides certain accident benefits to anyone injured in an auto accident, regardless of who is at fault. It covers the driver, passengers, motorcyclists, pedestrians and any other individual who might be injured by an insured motor vehicle.
Since statutory accident benefits are mandatory even in a basic motor vehicle liability policy, persons injured in automobile accidents can file a claim and obtain much-needed financial relief from resulting expenses and losses. These include all the medical costs not covered by OHIP, lost income, caregiver costs and more.
The provisions under SABS are many and are regularly amended. As such, accident victims should consult an experienced auto accident lawyer to guide them through the provisions and determine whether they have a claim.
Types of Benefits Covered Through SABS
Statutory Accident Benefits aim to provide financial compensation to persons harmed in vehicle accidents without focusing on liability. But given that one can incur significant health and financial damages from an accident, what exactly is covered under SABS? Well, let’s take a look.
1. Medical, Rehabilitation, and Attendant Care Benefits
After an accident, your well-being should always come first through proper treatment and rehabilitation. Through SABS, accident victims can be eligible to receive medical and rehabilitation benefits to cover their treatment and recovery journey, including surgery, medication, medical equipment (hearing aids, wheelchair, prosthetics, and more), physiotherapy, physiological therapy and more.
Attendant care benefits are also available, but only for persons that suffer non-catastrophic or catastrophic injuries, i.e., it’s not available for minor injuries. These benefits cover long-term aid required by persons with significant injuries.
Currently, the medical, rehabilitation and attendant care benefits are combined as follows:
- Catastrophic injuries – up to $1,000,000
- Non-catastrophic injuries – up to $65,000
The medical and rehabilitation benefits for minor injuries are up to $3,500.
You can purchase optional additional coverage to increase rehabilitation and medical benefits payout as follows:
- Catastrophic injuries – increase to $2,000,000
- Non-catastrophic injuries – increase to $130,000
Remember that most insurance companies try to downplay your injury to make the lowest payout possible for their bottom line. It’s important to work with a qualified SABS lawyer in Toronto to ensure you get the medical, rehabilitation and attendant care benefits you deserve.
(Check FAQs for minor, catastrophic and non-catastrophic injury definitions)
2. Income Replacement, Non-Earner and Caregiver Benefits
Injuries sustained in an accident can interfere with one’s capacity to earn a living. If you worked before the accident, you might be entitled to income replacement benefits, which cover part of your lost income. To qualify for income replacement, one must show that the injury causes a substantial inability to perform your prior employment duties.
Income replacement benefits provided are 70% of your gross income, capped at $400 per week. After two years, these benefits are only provided if the injury hinders you from undertaking any suitable employment based on your skills.
If an injury makes it impossible to resume a normal lifestyle and you’re ineligible to receive income replacement benefits, are a student or are a recent unemployed graduate, you may qualify for non-earner benefits. This benefit is up to $185 per week.
Caregiver benefits are meant for injured persons who can no longer care for a dependant. The benefits are meant for hiring a caregiver to care for your dependants, such as children or aging parents. Caregiver benefits are generally given to persons who suffered catastrophic injuries, but one can also get the benefits if at an additional cost under optional benefits. The benefits are up to $250 per week for the first dependant plus $50 for every additional dependant.
3. Death and Funeral Expenses
If the worst happens and you or your loved one dies due to a car accident, death benefits and funeral expenses may be provided in lump sum as follows:
- $25,000 payable to your spouse
- $10,000 to each dependent
- Up to $6,000 for funeral expenses
One can choose to increase the death and funeral benefits at an additional cost to:
- $50,000 payable to your spouse
- $20,000 to each dependent
- Up to $8,000 in funeral costs
4. Other Expenses
Depending on your situation, SABS can also provide additional benefits. Some of these include:
- Expenses for visitors
- Examination costs
- Lost educational expenses
- Damages to personal belongings, including medical devices
- Housekeeping and home maintenance costs
Applying for Statutory Accident Benefits
Now that you know the different types of compensation you may obtain through SABS, the next step is applying for the benefits you may be eligible for through your insurance policy or the insured automobile involved in the accident.
First, you must notify the involved insurance company within seven days after the accident that you wish to apply for accident benefits. After notifying the insurance company, they might provide you with documents to complete your application for accident benefits. Completing all the necessary paperwork accurately and ensuring you provide all the supporting medical documents within the given time limits goes a long way to obtaining maximum compensation.
Having a lawyer from the beginning of the process ensures that you don’t make any mistakes that delay or lead to a lower compensation than you may be entitled to. Contact Bergel Magence personal injury lawyers for expert legal advice and guidance through the accident benefits application process.
Speak To An Experienced Toronto Lawyer About Statutory Accident Benefits
Injured in a motor vehicle accident? Wondering if you qualify for statutory accident benefits? Don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer in Ontario for guidance and representation as you seek compensation. Our legal team will help you determine the benefits you’re entitled to and fight for you.
Call us today at 416-665-2000 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our SABS lawyers.
Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule FAQs
Who Applies For Sabs Benefits?
SABS benefits apply if you sustain an injury due to a car accident, regardless of fault. They are meant for individuals injured in an auto accident by an insured person, including pedestrians, drivers, passengers and bicyclists.
Who Pays for Statutory Accident Benefits?
Your automobile insurance provider usually pays the statutory accident benefits. If you were an occupant or pedestrian injured by an insured vehicle, you can apply for SABS benefits through that vehicle’s insurance policy.
What is The Accident Benefits Chart?
The Accident benefits chart is a chart provided by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario outlining the benefits and compensation limits available through SABS. Click here to view the benefits.
What Is a Minor Injury?
According to SABS, minor injuries include sprains, strains, whiplash injuries, abrasions, contusions, and other small injuries. Such injuries are easier to treat and recover from.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
A catastrophic injury is an injury that causes permanent damage to an accident victim and significantly impacts their ability to function. This includes paralysis, permanent brain damage, paraplegia, loss of vision and tetraplegia.
What Is Non-Catastrophic Impairment?
Non-catastrophic impairment is any injury that cannot be defined as minor or catastrophic.