There are two ways to get your medical expenses paid after a car crash and before you sue the at fault driver.
If you have a health plan through your or your spouse’s work, then obtain the application forms, fill out your form, have your doctor fill out the medical form, and submit the forms to the health plan provider. Ask for a copy of the benefits booklet and read it so that you know what you can claim, as nobody will tell you unless you ask. If you have it, a private health plan is the best source of money to pay for medical expenses.
If you have WCB coverage for the crash, then the WCB pays for your medical expenses.
If you were a passenger, or if you were a pedestrian struck by a vehicle, then (in non-WCB cases) you can access the “Section B” No-Fault Benefits coverage of the relevant vehicle’s insurance policy. This policy is written in archaic language and is difficult to understand. We highly recommend that if you have any questions on what you are entitled to, or about who pays what, that you call the Alberta Government Superintendent of Insurance Compliance Officer at 310-0000 and then (780) 427-8322. The compliance officer is happy to help you and can issue fines against an insurance company that is not paying what they are supposed to pay.
Section B Benefits should cover your medical expenses incurred within two years of the crash up to a maximum of $50,000, subject to some exclusions and monetary limits. This is a complex insurance policy, and you may need the assistance of the compliance officer to figure it out.
If you cannot pay for your necessities of life and your treatment costs, then you or your lawyer can ask the at fault driver’s insurance company for an Insurance Act section 581 advance. This is voluntary, although on the right facts, a court application can be brought to compel the at fault driver’s insurer to provide an advance payment.
For any medical expenses that are not paid up front from these sources, and if you sue the at fault driver before the limitation period to sue runs out, then at the end of the law suit the insurer for the at fault driver will reimburse you for any reasonably incurred medical expenses that you prove are caused by the crash.
It is important to track your expenses, and to track which expenses or portions of expenses have been reimbursed to you and by whom, so that you can claim the unpaid expenses from the at fault insurer at the end of the lawsuit.
If there are no private benefits or if two years have passed since the crash, then an application can be made to the Motor Vehicle Accident Claim Fund for a loan for treatment costs. This is difficult to get, but is made on occasion.
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.