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What to do for money after an accident if you’re so injured that you can’t work? (Ontario)

Many of our clients cannot return to work after serious accidents.

The form of accident is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if your accident was caused by bike, car, pedestrian knock down, boat, fall or otherwise.

It doesn’t matter if your injury is catastrophic, is a brain injury, spinal cord injury, ankle fracture, chronic pain, psychological injury or any of the above.

The purpose of this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post is to discuss and examine what you can do for money when you cannot return to work on account of your accident related impairments.

Firstly, it’s important to better understand how the Courts and how insurers quantify income loss claims. Many clients tell me that they’re high income earners, like having high, CEO style six figure salaries with benefits packages. Then, when we request their tax returns, they show little to no income. Go figure.

Courts require evidence of your income loss claim. The best evidence to prove income loss is what’s reported on your tax returns. In some cases, this is the only evidence that matters. In fact, if you should know that whatever you don’t report, you cannot claim. That means if you work at a cash business, and you deliberately conceal earned cash income on your tax returns without reporting it to revenue Canada, the Courts will not re-reimburse you for that income loss (save in exceptional circumstances).ankle.jpg

Basically, you cannot have the tax benefit and NOT report income in a cash business, and later seek to claim that money from an insurer as reportable income later on as your case develops. It doesn’t work that way. The law doesn’t let you suck and blow at the same time. In fact, the laws of physics don’t allow you to suck and blow at the same time. Go ahead. Try it.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to claim either an income replacement benefit ($400/week) or a non-earner benefit ($185/week). Those amounts sound very low. They are. You can opt for higher benefits if you paid more for your car insurance and adjusted your coverage accordingly. I would say that 99% of people don’t and opt for the standard coverage. The standard coverage only covers 80% of your net weekly income, to a maximum of $400/week. Again, we’re dealing with some pretty low figures here, but it’s better than nothing.

Car accident or not, you can still apply for Unemployment Insurance (Disability) provided that you’ve made enough contributions before time. But, if you weren’t declaring any income on your taxes, you likely weren’t paying in to the plan so you may not qualify.

You can apply for Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits. It’s amazing how many injured people I speak to who don’t realize that CPP isn’t just for old retirees. It’s also there in case you get seriously injured. If you’re injured enough, and meet CPP’s strict definition of disability, and you’ve made enough contributions to the plan, then you may qualify for CPP Disability benefits.

We tell all of our clients that CPP Benefits are better than any benefits you can get from a private insurer because CPP does not follow you around with surveillance in little white vans to make sure that you’re as disabled as you say you are. CPP also does not conduct cyber surveillance on you, creeping your Facebook, Twitter or Instagam accounts to keep tabs on the degree of your disability. There also aren’t any changes of definition to disability to CPP Insurance. This pails in comparison to any private LTD insurance policy which contain onerous exclusion clauses, along with changes to the definition of disability; which usually take place at the 2 year mark. Once you’ve been approved for CPP Disability Benefits, you’ve been approved. End of story.

To make ends meet and to help pay for rent, housing, medication or therapy, you can apply for Ontario Works, or under the Ontario Disability Support Program (OSDP). These are also excellent government resources for when the going gets tough.

One of the best insurance policies you can have should something go so wrong that you can’t work is a proper LTD policy tailored to your individual needs, goals and income. This is different than a group policy offered through work. Those are often cheap policies which contain more exclusions to ensure you don’t get approve for insurance than you’d like to know. These policies are also often skewed in favour of your employer along with the insurer and not geared towards you. At our law firm, we often see people with a false sense of security in thinking that they have iron clad policies. When we take a further look at the ins and outs of said policies, we quickly find out that the coverage was not as iron clad as they once thought.

One of the things you will see after a serious accident claim, is that the insurance company which you’re fighting against for benefits and compensation will hire a forensic accountant. What’s that? It’s basically a fancy accountant who is getting paid by the insurance company to determine and quantify your income loss. Be weary of their numbers. The accountants get paid lots of money to make the quantification. Any discrepancy will be ruled in favour of their employer, which is the insurer at the end of the day.

The accountants will tell you that they’re “independent“. But, how “independent” can they really be if the insurance company has not only picked they to do the job without consulting you, but is also paying their bill!?!?!

There are bridge loan companies out there who will loan you money contingent on the recover of your claim. Meaning, they will loan you some money depending on the severity of your injury, and the likelihood of success in your case. Beware of these companies. The interest charged on these loans is very high. They also charge lots of hidden fees which you never even considered. A management fee. A set up fee. An annual maintenance fee. An monthly lump sum surcharge on top of the high interest rates you’re being charged. The longer your case goes, the more money you will find yourself owing back to these companies such that the amount of interest owing exceeds the principal loan initially advanced to you. You may be left with ZERO after you’ve paid their bill.

At the end of the day, money will be tight following a serious accident. If you have to sell off some assets to make ends meet, then so be it. There is however light at the end of the tunnel. You will get the compensation which you deserve, but no amount of money can ever restore your health. There is no magic pill to cure a catastrophic injury from a serious accident. But with sufficient compensation for your injuries, it can help pay for treatment, care, assistive devices to restore dignity to your life.

If you continue to have any questions about what to do for money after a serious accident, feel free to call one of our lawyers toll free at 1-877-730-1777. We would be pleased to assist any way that we can.

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