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INJURED AND NOT ABLE TO RETURN TO WORK? THERE ARE OPTIONS.

Oct 21 2016

Ask anyone who’s ever been involved in a car accident and they’ll most likely tell you it was alternately frustrating, disheartening and possibly even life-changing for them. Even the smallest of fender benders can cause stress and upheaval. Taking care of a claim means investing a lot of time, energy and effort.

But what happens if you’re seriously injured in an accident? If this is the case, not only do you still have to deal with all the paperwork and third-party insurers, but you now have an additional layer of stress and worry to contend with. You have questions for which there may not be immediate answers. How long will you be off work? How will you pay your bills? What about your medical coverage?

When it comes to financial options there are a few that exist.

  • Start with your car insurance policy’s Income Replacement Benefits (IRBs). Keep in mind this won’t replace 100 percent of your income, only a portion of it.
  • You may be entitled to short- or long-term disability benefits through your employer. (Check with your HR department as they will be able to provide you with more information here. They can also get you started on the necessary paperwork.)
  • It also doesn’t hurt to ask your employer if you can use up remaining sick time, at least for the first week to two weeks. Some employers also offer the option of partially covering wages with a repayment agreement in the event of a debilitating injury.
  • If you’ve been paying into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), you may be eligible to receive benefits. You might also be entitled to receive benefits from Canada Employment Insurance.
  • If you’ve exhausted all other options, you can try the provincial employment assistance program.
  • If you have no private insurance, ICBC offers no-fault total disability benefits for which you may be eligible.
  • In the event of a claims settlement, remember that some programs do require that funds previously paid out be reimbursed and these can often be negotiated to your advantage.

You may also want to consider discussing personal injury claim options with a professional legal representative, especially if your injuries prevent you from either returning to your previous place of employment or not returning to work at all, since this has serious financial implications for you and your family.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will want to make sure you are able to access the care and assistance you need during recovery and beyond. They will also focus on two important areas of potential compensation: past loss of income and loss of future earning potential (sometimes referred to as loss of capacity or loss of a capital asset). Proving past loss of income is usually fairly straightforward and usually involves producing a statement of employment. Proving future loss of earning potential can be more difficult and is almost always contentious when dealing with ICBC because there is more uncertainty and unpredictability associated with this area.

How a personal injury claim is resolved is dependant on several factors including the scope of your injuries, what your treatment plan may look like, what level of disability you may be left with, what your income and employment details were prior to your accident and the potential length of time you may need before you can return to work.

A qualified personal injury lawyer with extensive knowledge of personal injury claims is best-qualified to assess all aspects of the case and take into account not only your current situation but also what impact the accident will have on you – and your family – going forward.

Sources: Campisi LLP, Zvulony & Co. P.C., Campbell Burton & McMullan LLP

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