I lost my job after being injured in a car accident. What now?

If you have lost your job following a car accident, you may find the financial uncertainty extremely difficult to cope with. Regardless of whether you are the primary breadwinner, you are likely worried about how you will survive the loss of income and afford the extra expenses incurred because of your injury.

Here are some of the ways you may be able to be compensated for your losses:

  • Insurance benefits. By law in Ontario, all auto insurance provides something known as “Statutory Accident Benefits Coverages” or SABS. Benefits through SABS include income replacement for wages lost, medical and rehabilitation expenses, and compensation for various other expenses. You should file for insurance benefits immediately after your accident to begin receiving financial help as soon as possible.
  • Legal action against the other driver. If the other driver was at fault or driving negligently, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit to try to recover lost earnings or costs incurred as a result of the injury. The money awarded to you in a successful lawsuit is known as “damages”. There are two main types of damages: pecuniary (relating to economic losses) or non-pecuniary (relating to pain and suffering). Generally, you have two years from the time of the injury to file a lawsuit.
  • Legal action against your employer. If you have been disabled by your injury and your employer refuses to accommodate you, you may be able to argue that there has been a Human Rights Code violation. This may also be the case if your position was filled by another employee while you were on medical leave, and you’ve been told there is no position available for you to return to. You must apply for your rights to be upheld within one year of the rights violation taking place.

Dealing with less-than-forthcoming insurance companies, uncooperative employers and Ontario’s complex legal system can be overwhelming, and you may not be sure you are being offered everything you are entitled to.  It is not always necessary to file a lawsuit; in fact, most disputes of this nature are settled out of court. Optimal results can often be obtained simply by having a personal injury lawyer advocate and negotiate on your behalf.