If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you are entitled to basic benefits regardless of who is at fault for the accident. That’s right, even if you are at fault, you can still claim benefits.
To drive a vehicle that you own on public roadways, you are required by law to have automobile insurance. The coverages, benefits, and how you buy insurance is different across the provinces of Canada.
In Alberta, basic insurance provides coverage for two things:
You can also buy coverage for damage to your vehicle (collision or comprehensive coverages) that are caused by accidents where you are at fault.
How you receive compensation for injury or property damage from an accident that is not your fault depends on what province you live in, or where the accident happened.
Articles about compensation in Provinces are coming very soon.
Accident Benefits help you recover as quickly as possible from your injuries. They exist so that you can receive treatments and other benefits before the insurance company determines fault. They also make sure that your injuries do not get worse during this process.
The Automobile Accident Insurance Benefits Regulation (AAIBR) handles accident benefits in Alberta. If you have been involved in a car accident in Alberta, you may be entitled to benefits provided by the AAIBR, such as:
There are also benefits for coverage when an uninsured or underinsured motorist is at-fault, or for out-of-province motorists.
It is important to note that these Accident Benefits are above and beyond health care insurance or benefits that you may already have through an employer or private provider. You must use up any of your health care insurance benefits before you can claim Accident Benefits.
As of the time of this article, Medical Payments have a maximum coverage of $50,000 per person. These limits (and sub-limits) change from time to time, and cover reasonable costs within two years of the accident, including:
Sometimes your injuries can restrict you from reasonably carrying out the duties of your employment. If so, you will be paid a benefit of either $600 per week or 80% of your gross weekly earnings—whichever is less
This benefit can be active for a maximum of 104 weeks (two years) from the date of the accident.
To qualify for this coverage, you must have been employed at the date of your accident. Your injuries also must prevent you from performing any and every duty of your employment within 60 days of your accident.
In the case that you are over 18 and not employed at the time of the accident, and completely unable to perform household duties, you can receive $200 per week for up to 104 weeks.
In both scenarios, it is important to remember that the benefits end when you are once again reasonably able to continue carrying out employment or household duties. This is regardless of the two-year limitation period. For example, if you can continue your duties after 26 weeks, the benefits end after 26 weeks.
If there is a death in the accident, you are entitled for up to $6150 in funeral services per deceased person. $500 is available to the family for grief counselling.
Death benefits can range from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on age and family status, as shown below:
There can be added fees paid if the deceased was the head of the household. Also, certain complexities are possible in more complex family situations.
If there are two or more dependent relatives, the payout is increased by 20% for each survivor other than the first. If there is a spouse/adult interdependent partner or a dependent relative survivor, the benefit is increased by $15,000 and by a further $4,000 for each remaining survivor.
If you are injured by an uninsured or unknown driver, you may be paid for the value of your claim up to a maximum of $200,000 by the Alberta Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program (MVAC).
You may have been in an accident while visiting another province. If so, the same rules apply in all other tort-based provinces.
If your accident took place in Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, or Saskatchewan (no-fault systems), your insurer must pay benefits as defined in that province.
Automobile insurance generally extends to others that you have allowed to drive your vehicle. This does not apply if a business or person uses the vehicle to do service work (e.g. a mechanic) or to store/park the vehicle (e.g. a valet).
Other drivers who live with you need to be listed on your policy, even if they do not regularly drive the vehicle.
Your automobile insurance will also not cover you if you are using your vehicle as:
This is unless that policy is explicitly designed to cover these activities. We suggest that you speak with your broker before doing such activities.
Your coverages under your policy also do not apply if you are engaging in any illegal activities, including:
If you engage in these activities and cause damages to another party, your Third-Party Liability coverage still applies. Your insurer may seek to recover their costs from you, as your policy is then considered invalid.
Alberta uses a tort-based system. This means that if you have injuries due to another person’s actions, you can take them to court. A judge will review all of the evidence and make a ruling.
Generally, you have two years from the date of the accident to enter a claim in court. Before that time, you can work with the insurance company of the other party to try and come to a settlement.
Note that some Provinces use non-tort based systems for automobile insurance claims. You can read more about Tort vs. Non-Tort system in Canada here.
In either case, you can ask for compensation for your damages that are above and beyond your Accident Benefits coverage. If you are unsure about how much you can recover, we’re here to help! Our Personal Injury calculator can help you better understand the value of your claim.
Use the PainWorth app today!
In practice, most claims don’t end up in front of a judge. That’s a good thing because it takes an average of 5 years in Canada to argue a personal injury case in front of a judge. Read more about how long it takes to settle your claim here.