The OCF-10 Election Form is important for your car accident case in Ontario. By completing the OCF-10 Election Form, the injured accident victim is telling the insurance company which benefit they are choosing to receive.
Completing the OCF-10 Election Form incorrectly, or late; can hurt a car accident case and prejudice your right to claim and recovery accident benefits which you will need to help make you whole.
Without further a due, here are Goldfinger Injury Lawyers’ Top Tips on completing the OCF-10 Election Form.
- Get your hands on the OCF-10 Election Form itself. Your insurer will send you a copy of the form in the Accident Benefit Package which they are sending your way. But, this form is easily lost in the stack of other forms which the insurer is sending to you. Because the OCF-10 Election Form is only one page, it’s easy to lose compared to the OCF-1 Application for Accident Benefits, OCF-3 Disability Certificate and OCF-2 Employers Confirmation of Income Forms; which are all multi page forms. If you lost, and can’t find the OCF-10 Election Form in the Accident Benefits package being sent to you; the form is available on the Financial Services Commission of Ontario Website, readily accessible through your personal injury lawyer; or you can ask your insurance adjuster or insurance broker to send you copies of the form.
- Be careful which benefit you elect. Once you elect a benefit in a non catastrophic case, you have to stick with that benefit. There is no changing your mind, or flip flopping between benefits. You have to live with your choice and there’s no going back. This is why it’s a good idea to consult with a personal injury lawyer before electing a benefit and completing the OCF-10 Election Form. As matters stand today with all of the changes in the law, there are two standard benefits you can pick from unless you purchased optional benefits. The first is the Income Replacement Benefit which has a standard maximum of $400/week. This benefit can be higher if you purchased optional benefits. This benefit is best for pre-accident income earners (people who were working and who can show an income as reported on your tax returns or on pay stubs). If you were getting paid under the table, in cash and not reporting that cash income on your tax returns, you will have a hard time qualifying for the income replacement benefit because it’s difficult to prove that you were earning an income. The second standard benefit is the Non Earner Benefit. This applies to people who were unemployed or retried at the the time of the accident (non-earners). This will entitle you to a benefit of up to $185/week, for a maximum period of 2 years. That maximum period used to be much longer until the Ontario Government put a 2 year cap on it for no apparent reason other than to save insurance companies lots of money and to punish accident victims, but whose really paying attention to these cuts? Just the personal injury lawyers, and accident victims AFTER they’ve been involved in a serious car accident and it’s too late to voice their discontent or displeasure with the cuts.
- Don’t be late in submitting your OCF-10 Election Form. This is not a form you want to sit around on. Much like the OCF-1 Application for Accident Benefits, you have to submit the OCF-10 Election Form in a timely manner. Waiting a year post accident or over a month to submit the Election Form may prejudice your claim and ability to recovery accident benefits.
- The OCF-10 is just a piece of the larger accident benefit puzzle. Just a piece, but an important one at that! The OCF-10 is to be submitted concurrently with the OCF-1 Application for Accident Benefits, OCF-3 Disability Certificate, and OCF-2 Employer’s Confirmation of Income Form if electing the Non Earner Benefit. Submitting any one of these forms on their own in a vacuum will have little bearing on your personal injury case and you won’t get the results which you deserve. A completed OCF-10 Election Form means little without the OCF-1 Application For Accident Benefits being submitted or the OCF-3 Disability Certificate which tells the insurer from a medico-legal perspective if you meet the test for disability so that benefits can flow. The forms work in unison and are not meant to work on their own without any other forms or supporting data.
- Keep records! If you have yet to retain a personal injury lawyer, then it’s vital that you keep records of all of the forms and records you submit to the insurance company. It amazes our personal injury lawyers how many times self represented litigants have their forms eaten by the Canada Post Monster, or simply lost by the insurance company. It’s because the insurer knows that self represented litigants will have a hard time establishing when the documents they submitted were actually submitted and by what means. If the records don’t arrive, or the insurer says that they haven’t arrived, it opens the door for the insurer to deny or to entirely dismiss your accident benefit claim (which would present the insurer with a significant savings).
- Consult a personal injury lawyer. If you are reading this instalment of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog, this is likely your first time being involved in a serious car accident which requires that you take the time to make a claim for accident benefits. It costs nothing to speak with a personal injury lawyer. Representing accident victims is all we do. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of our wealth of knowledge, education, training and experience handling car accident claims and dealing with car insurance companies. Just because it’s your first time making a claim doesn’t mean that the insurance company is going to take it easy on you and give you a free pass. This is not a game. It’s your life and your well being It should be taken seriously and not taken to chance by inexperience or ineptitude. Not knowing the system or how the forms work isn’t an excuse at law.