If you can’t work after a collision, the best sources of disability benefits is any disability plan that you have through your work.
If you have WCB coverage, you can apply for WCB benefits.
Ask your human resources manager or supervisor for the application forms, fill out your portions, have the medical forms filled out by your doctor, have your employer fill out their forms, and then submit the forms to your private disability benefit provider or the WCB.
Most private disability policies have an “initial coverage period” for short-term disability benefits, where you are paid if you cannot do your own current job. After about two years (depending on the policy), you transition to long-term disability where you are paid if you cannot do any job that is reasonably fit for you (The policy wording varies for each policy and has to be reviewed on a case by case basis.)
In addition to this, or if you do not have a private disability plan or WCB coverage, then the “Section B” policy of the vehicle you are in (or of the vehicle that hit you if you are a pedestrian or bicyclist, or on occasion, of your own vehicle) would pay disability benefits in the amount of up to $400 per week for up to 2 years. You have to obtain the “Section B” application forms from the “Section B” insurer, complete your portion, and have your employer and your health care provider complete their portions. After the forms are completed, submit the forms to the “Section B” insurer as soon as possible (usually within 10 days).
It is important that if you have any questions about “Section B” disability benefits, that you contact the Superintendent of Insurance Compliance Officer at 310-0000 and then (780) 427-8322. The compliance officer is happy to help you get “Section B” benefits, and can issue fines against an insurance company that is not paying when they should be paying.
A last resort option is if you cannot work and the “Section B” benefits are insufficient for you to live on, then you or your lawyer can ask the “Section A” insurance company for the at-fault driver for an Insurance Act section 581 advance. This is voluntary, although if you cannot pay for the cost of your necessities of life, a court application can be brought to compel the “Section A” insurer to provide an advance payment. This is rare, but does occur if the facts are there.
Give us a call at (403) 250-7100 and let us see if we can help you.
Article by Walter W. Kubitz, Q.C., a personal injury lawyer in Calgary, Alberta.