Legal glossary

We’ve prepared the legal glossary to help you understand that terms that impact your case. Learn more about benefits, requirements, deductibles, tort law and litigation so you can help advocate for your case.

Compensation threshold

Ontario law has a specific way to measure the severity of your car accident and recovery. To receive compensation for your pain and suffering, your accident must have caused, in the words of the law: “permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function.”

Deductibles

In Ontario, the government’s insurance laws strip away part of the injured person’s compensation for their pain and suffering  - this is called a “deductible.” 

Unless a victim’s claim is more than $129,395.49, they do not receive the full value of their claims for pain and suffering and the loss of enjoyment of life.

Every year, the amount of the deductible for this type of case increases. Before 2015, the deductible amount was $30,000. From January 1st to December 31st, 2019, $38,818.97 will be deducted from these types of cases. For example:

  • An accident victim is awarded $50,000 for pain and suffering, but they only receive $11,181.03, since $50,000 - $38,818.97 = $11,181.03
  • If a victim is awarded $35,000 for pain and suffering, they would not receive any compensation, since this amount is lower than the $38,818.97 deductible. In fact, they would likely have to pay the insurance company to cover their legal fees.

In Ontario, court juries are not told about the deductible amount when they determine a personal injury case.

You should ask your insurance broker if buying insurance to reduce the amount of your statutory deductible is right for you.

Economic loss

When another person or party causes your injury, they are responsible for any economic loss you may suffer, whether from job loss or healthcare costs. The law says that you must be able to return to the same financial position you would have been in, had the accident never happened.

Family law claims

An innocent injured person’s immediate family can pursue compensation under the Family Law Act Claims, which could address:

  • loss of guidance, care and companionship
  • cost of nursing, housekeeping and other services the family member has performed or will need to perform on behalf of the injured person
  • loss of income as a result of the accident
  • reasonable expenses incurred on behalf of the insured person

These damages are also subject to Ontario’s statutory deductible, which is adjusted annually for inflation.

Income-replacement benefits

Income-replacement benefits accomodate for any loss of income for individuals who are unable to work for a significant period of time due to physical or psychological injuries from an accident. Individuals who apply for this benefit are likely to receive 70% of their gross income. When this benefit is approved, individuals are granted a maximum of $400 granted per week.

To be approved for this benefit, individuals are required to have their insurer fill out a Disability Certificate (OCF-3) from a medical representative stating the cause of a person’s injury, the duration of its effects, and the length of time that rehabilitative treatment is needed for. An Employer’s Confirmation Form (OCF-2) might also be required, and it must be filled out by your employer.

Litigation

Litigation is the term used to describe actions taken between two opposing parties to defend a legal right. Oftentimes litigation is only handled between the parties involved, but in harsher circumstances, may be settled by a judge or jury in court.

Pain and suffering

‘Pain and suffering,’ is also known as ‘general damages.’ It is a claim for financial compensation to address your pain and suffering, and your loss of enjoyment of your life.

Several factors determine the amount of these claims. Some important factors are:

  • The type and severity of your physical, psychological and/or mental injuries
  • If you need surgery
  • If there was a significant impact on your family, work, day-to-day, social, and recreational activities

If you want to file a claim against the party responsible for your pain and suffering, your injuries must meet the threshold. 

Permanent and serious injuries

An injury or impairment is labelled “serious” when it interferes majorly with any of the following:

  • Employment – you cannot continue your usual work despite making a reasonable effort
  • Training – you cannot continue training for a new career
  • Daily life – you cannot participate in your usual activities, such as personal care, hobbies, and relationships.

For your serious injury to be considered “permanent” it must continue after your accident and professionals must not expect that it improve substantially in the future.

Proving permanent and serious injuries

It can be difficult to prove that you have suffered permanent and serious injuries. Defendants will try to play down your injuries as not severe, or that your injuries were from before the accident.

Your testimony about your condition matters, as well as witnesses’ evidence, who will share how your injuries impacted your life. Usually this is not enough to prove that you have met the threshold.

Some of the best ways to show that your injuries meet the threshold are with your doctor’s records, and with evidence from medical expert witnesses that have assessed your condition. Our knowledgeable personal injury lawyers with experience in threshold claims will help identify the right experts, which makes a big difference.

Personal Injury

Personal injury is a legal term used to describe any individual who is affected physically, mentally, or psychologically as a result of an accident or harmful interaction with a public property.

Personal Injury Lawyer

A personal injury lawyer is a lawyer who offers legal services and advice to those who claim to have a personal injury as a result of an accident or harmful interaction with a public property.

Proving permanent and serious injuries

It can be difficult to prove that you have suffered permanent and serious injuries. Defendants will try to play down your injuries as not severe, or that your injuries were from before the accident.

Your testimony about your condition matters, as well as witnesses’ evidence, who will share how your injuries impacted your life. Usually this is not enough to prove that you have met the threshold.

Some of the best ways to show that your injuries meet the threshold are with your doctor’s records, and with evidence from medical expert witnesses that have assessed your condition. Our knowledgeable personal injury lawyers with experience in threshold claims will help identify the right experts, which makes a big difference.

Special damages

Special damages compensate you for various expenses resulting from an accident, including:

  • lost employment income in the past and/or future
  • housekeeping and home maintenance expenses in the past and/or future
  • medical or rehabilitation expenses that are not covered by OHIP, and are denied by your insurance company
  • out-of-pocket expenses due the accident

Statutory accident benefits (SABs)

Statutory accident benefits compensate for services that accident victims need to in order to complete everyday tasks they are no longer able to do on their own following a serious accident. This type of benefit is offered up to 5 years after the date of an accident.

To be approved for this benefit, individuals are required to have their insurer fill out a Disability Certificate (OCF-3) from a medical representative stating the cause of a person’s injury, the duration of its effects, and the length of time that rehabilitative treatment is needed for.

There may be secondary benefits associated with this type of benefit, such as housekeeping, child care, lost education benefits, etc.

Tort Law

Tort law is a set of laws that aid individuals who have suffered as a result of the unwarranted acts of another. It implies that people are legally responsible for the consequences of their actions if resulting in bodily harm, whether intentional or accidental.

Tort claims 

This involves filing a civil lawsuit against the driver or other party responsible for the car accident. To be able to pursue a tort claim, you must either be considered not at fault or only partially at fault for the car accident.