Authored by Brian Tsui
In Ontario, anyone who is injured in a motor vehicle accident can potentially claim benefits pursuant to the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (“SABS”). To learn more about Accident Benefit Claims, please refer to a previous blog entry that explains Accident Benefits claims in detail.
As a driver or passenger involved in a motor vehicle accident, you are generally covered by accident benefits. What this means is that regardless of fault, the drivers or passengers involved in the motor vehicle accident are eligible to receive benefits that will cover medical expenses, income loss, and additional expenses related to the motor vehicle crash. Moreover, it is important to note that having a loved one physically injured in a motor vehicle accident can be a traumatic experience for immediate family members as well. Witnessing the aftermath or continually caring for the injured individual can lead to emotional distress, anxiety, or depression, necessitating psychological support or counseling. The Ontario statutory accident benefits provides coverage to a spouse or dependent "that suffers psychological or mental injury as a result of an accident in or outside Ontario results in a physical injury to his or her spouse, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, dependant or spouse's dependant."
In the case of Naomi Kellerman-Bernard v. Unica Insurance Inc., 2022 ONLAT, the child of Naomi Kellerman-Benard (“Naomi”) was involved in a motor vehicle accident. In this case, it was universally accepted by all parties that Naomi met the definition of an “insured person” under the SABS, even though as a mother, she wasn't physically present when her child was involved in a motor vehicle accident. Furthermore, because Naomi was deemed to be an “insured” person, she was eligible to claim accident benefits for the psychological and mental injuries she sustained as a result of her child’s accident.
In summary, immediate family members experiencing psychological or mental distress due to a physical injury sustained by a close relative in a motor vehicle accident may be eligible for accident benefits for psychological treatment or counseling.
However, given the unique nature of each case, eligibility will vary case by case. In the ever-evolving landscape of personal injury law, understanding one’s rights and entitlements can be critical, especially during traumatic events involving motor vehicle accidents.
For more information about Accident Benefit claims and eligibility, contact the personal injury lawyers at Iacobelli Law Firm for a complimentary consultation.
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