Injured in Accident in USA and Insurance Company Asking You to Choose Benefits - What You Should Do
If you are an Ontario resident injured in a car accident while visiting the United States, you may be entitled to No Fault Insurance benefits. If you have an Ontario auto insurance policy, you may be asked by your Canadian insurance company to choose or elect between the no fault (Statutory Accident Benefits) available in Ontario and those available in the United States where the accident occurred.
It is important to note that No Fault or PIP benefits in the US are state specific. There are great differences between the benefits available in one state and another. While some US states offer generous No Fault PIP benefits, there are many that provide very little coverage. The choice between Ontario and US No Fault Benefits are made available to Ontario residents by virtue of Section 59 of the Ontario Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule. Typically, the Ontario insurance company will provide you with a summary or menu of benefits showing those in Ontario and the US State where your crash occurred. You will be asked to sign a form, and warned that your choice is final and cannot be changed later.
Your choice in benefits can have a major impact on the amount of funding for treatment, rehabilitation, and lost wages. This choice should not be taken lightly. If an insurance company asks you to choose between Ontario benefits and those of the United States, it is time to speak with a lawyer. Make sure you are informed and make the right choice.
Iacobelli Law Firm represents Ontario residents injured in the United States. We have expertise in this complex area of law, and we can help you understand what you may be giving up in Ontario when choosing benefits. Consultations are always free for prospective clients, so do not hesitate to get in touch with us.
Andrew Iacobelli is an experienced personal injury lawyer who established Iacobelli Law Firm with offices located in Ontario, Canada and Florida, U.S.A. Andrew restricts his practice to the representation of personal injury victims in claims involving serious injuries and wrongful death in Canada and the United States. Andrew is the author of "Are You a Canadian Injured in the United States? Claim the Damages and Insurance Coverage the Right Way".
When a Canadian (Ontario) is involved in a motor vehicle accident in the United States, they still enjoy the benefits provided by Ontario auto insurance. As long as the Ontario resident has an auto insurance policy in Ontario or is otherwise covered under a valid Ontario auto policy, they will enjoy some important protections in the event that they are injured in a car or motorcycle accident while vvisiting the United States. These benefits or protections from the Ontario auto policy will be available even if the accident does not involve their Ontario plated motor vehicle. Whether a driver, passenger or even a pedestrian, an Ontario resident can get accident benefits from their Ontario auto policy.
Usually, the Ontario accident benefits available to accident victims are standardized for all Ontario accident victims. In the case of a car accident injury in the United States, however, the Ontario resident will have a unique option to Elect benefits. The right to elect accident benefits is an option that applies only in the case of an accident that occurs outside of the Province of Ontario. Specifically, Section 59 of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) provides that a person claiming benefits may receive either: Ontario Benefits, or Benefits available in the jurisdiction in which the accident occurred. This ability to choose benefits is an important consideration when Ontario residents are injured in a US accident. Essentially, the Ontario resident will be able to choose the benefits from the jurisdiction that provides the most needed benefits for the person injured.
How do you choose which benefits to elect?
Every jurisdiction has different benefits, so it is important to understand what is available in Ontario and what is available in the place where the accident occurred. Once you an understanding and appreciation of available benefits you can make an informed decision to protect yourself from the losses caused by the accident. Often, Ontario benefits are greater than those available in the United States, but not always. Get informed.
If I Elect Benefits from the United States, do I have to obtain treatment in the US?
The election of benefits has to do with the types of benefits available and the quantum, including the amount of money and how long the benefits are payable by the insurance company. This might include such things as medical and rehabilitation expenses, housekeeping expenses, attendant care, and wage loss replacement. if you elect the US State benefits, the treatment can still occur in Ontario and the claim will be paid by your Ontario insurance company.
Free Consultations with a Cross Border Injury Lawyer
If you were injured in an accident in the United States or if you are a lawyer with questions about Ontario benefits, call Andrew Iacobelli for a free consultation. Andrew Iacobelli is regularly consulted by injury victims and lawyers in Ontario and the United States with respect to legal questions pertaining to cross border accidents. We are happy to speak with you, and we welcome your calls.
Andrew Iacobelli is an experienced personal injury lawyer who established Iacobelli Law Firm with offices located in Ontario, Canada as well as offices in Florida, U.S.A. Andrew restricts his practice to the representation of personal injury victims in claims involving serious injuries and wrongful death.
Injury Lawyer Discusses: Do I need an Ontario Car Accident Lawyer?
One of the most frequent questions that I hear from people that have recently been injured in a car accident, is "Do I need an Ontario car accident lawyer?" The answer depends on the circumstances of your accident and the nature of your injuries.
Although anyone can handle there own case without a lawyer, in most instances it is advisable to consult with an experienced lawyer, especially when trying to navigate complex areas of law, such as insurance claims. Also, injury victims who attempt to recover compensation on their own typically receive smaller settlements than those who obtain the services of experienced personal injury lawyers. By consulting with and retaining a personal injury lawyer immediately, you and your family can focus on your medical care and recovery. Your personal injury lawyer and his team will take care of investigating your claim and dealing with the insurance company in order to obtain a fair settlement for your claim.
One reason that some people are reluctant to hire a lawyer following an Ontario car accident, is because lawyers are expensive. Following a serious car accident in Ontario, you may be off work and facing financial hardship. The last thing you can afford is to pay a lawyer to help you with your Ontario car accident claim. Some personal injury lawyers, like our law firm, will take on your case on a contingency fee basis, so that you will not have to pay any legal bill until your case is settled. A contingency fee retainer in one in which the lawyer typically charges a percentage of the amount recovered from the insurance company. At our office, we don't charge any fees unless we are able to recover money for our clients. With such an arrangement, even the most vulnerable have access to justice.
Another common reason why some people may delay in speaking to an Ontario car accident lawyer is because they "trust" that the insurance company will be "fair." While most insurance adjusters and insurance representatives are polite, friendly and overall good people, they still have a job to do for their employer. Insurance companies are big businesses that seek to make profits. To make profits, they need to limit and minimize their exposure to claims, such as your car accident claim. Before you put your faith in the insurance company to do the right thing, it is probably a good idea to speak with an injury lawyer. Most of the time, we find that the insurance company has offered far less than the value of the claim. Knowledge is power, and you will be in a better position to recognize a fair settlement only if you know what compensation is available under your particular circumstances. We can help you make an informed decision.
Finally, and maybe the most important reason to speak with an Ontario car accident lawyer, there are time limits to filing claims for Ontario car accident injuries. You must file a claim before the time limit expires. Also, before these time limits expire, your Ontario personal injury lawyer will need to gather information and prepare documents to advance your claim. Delay can be harmful to your claim, and you may simply run out of time. When the time limits expire in your case, you may be barred from making any claim for money damages, no matter how strong your case was. If you contact a lawyer at the last possible moment, the lawyer may not be able to take on your case even if it has merit.
If you have questions about your Ontario car accident claim, call me and request and free consultation. We offer prospective clients a consultation that is absolutely free. There is no obligation to hire our law firm, and any information you share with us will remain confidential. To start your free case review, call us at 416-900-1070 or toll free at 1-866-234-6093 or complete our online contact form here.
Iacobelli Law Firm represents serious injury victims throughout the province of Ontario, and we can arrange to have a lawyer travel to your home or hospital if you are unable to come to us.
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When a resident of Ontario Canada has been injured while visiting the United States, they may be able to commence a claim in Ontario for compensation and benefits to which they are entitled. In addition to assiting you in obtaining accident benefits or disability insurance payments from your Canadian insurer, you may also be able to commence a tort claim in Ontario. In situations, where you must bring the action in the United States, Ontario personal injury lawyer Andrew Iacobelli can also coordinate with counsel in the United States to pursue your claims in the jurisdiction where the injury occurred.
If you are an Ontario resident, and were injured in a car accident in the United States, the at fault party may be uninsured or underinsured. Many States have lower minimun insurance requirements for drivers than Ontario. In those situations, you may be able to advance a claim in Ontario, Canada for the uninsured and underinsured benefits that form part of your Ontario motor vehicle insurance policy. These types of personal injury cases can be complex and you should not delay in consulting a Ontario personal injury lawyer to make sure your rights are fully protected.
Ontario lawyer, Andrew Iacobelli, obtained his Juris Doctor degree (cum laude) from Michigan State University and he is licensed to practice law in the province of Ontario and in the State of Michigan and State of Florida. Andrew is also admitted to practice in the United States Federal Courts for the Southern, Middle and Northern Districts of Florida, and the United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal. Before returning to Ontario, Andrew litigated serious personal injury, wrongful death, and insurance bad faith claims in the United States. Andrew has established a network of legal professionals in the United States with whom he is able to co-ordinate legal proceedings which must be conducted in the United States.