A predictable, stable income is the cornerstone of any household. When that source of income is jeopardized by a serious injury incurred in, say, a motor vehicle accident, it is absolutely critical to a family’s stability that the victim receives the income replacement benefits they are entitled to under the Province’s no-fault regime. Obtaining those benefits for immediate and long-term relief requires significant legal expertise and an acute understanding of the injured individual’s employment and training background.

Before a person seeks compensation from an at-fault party, they are required to apply for disability benefits through their employer or any short term or long term disability policy they may have access to. In most cases, the next step will be to apply for income replacement benefits from their No-Fault insurer.

Under the Statutory Accident Benefit Schedule (“SABS”), an injured person may be entitled to Income Replacement Benefits. During the first 104 weeks following the accident, the person must establish “a substantial inability to perform the essential tasks” of their job; after 104 weeks, the person must establish that their injuries prevent them from performing “any occupation they are reasonably suited” to perform by their “education, training or experience.”

Some changes have recently been made to the SABS. The Income Replacement Benefits, as of September 2010, now include 70 per cent of a person’s gross income, or up to $400 per week, while they previously allotted 80 per cent of a person’s net income, with the same weekly maximum.

Income Replacement Benefits were implemented to help an injured person in the short term. But it is not uncommon for a person’s impairment to linger beyond that brief period (104 weeks, or two years). In such cases, the insurance company will try to cast doubt on the individual’s ability to return to work or to transition to a similar job. Even in the short term, the person will be expected to pursue other sources of income or financial resources.

With the help of a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer, an injured person will be well protected and their interests well looked after. An experienced lawyer will support that person’s efforts to return to a normal life as soon as possible, but more importantly, they will ensure that person is not intimidated into returning to work too early, which may jeopardize their long-term recovery.