What Are Section ‘B' Benefits?

WG
Watson Goepel LLP

Contributor

Founded in 1984, Watson Goepel LLP is a full-service, mid-sized law firm based in Vancouver B.C. With a focus on Business, Family, Indigenous, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, and Personal Injury Law, our membership in Lawyers Associated Worldwide (LAW) provides us with a truly global reach.
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you have the right to claim benefits from your insurer no matter who is at fault for the accident.
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If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you have the right to claim benefits from your insurer no matter who is at fault for the accident.

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you have the right to claim benefits from your insurer no matter who is at fault for the accident. This means even if you are responsible for the accident, you are still eligible. Using these benefits will not cause your insurance rates to go up. These benefits are called no-fault or Section B benefits. In Alberta, all drivers are required by law to have basic automobile insurance which provides these benefits.

Who is covered under Section B benefits?

Section B benefits cover any occupant of the insured vehicle at the time of the accident. They also cover any pedestrians and cyclists struck by an insured vehicle.

Starting a claim for Section B benefits

Any person who intends to make a claim for Section B benefits must notify their insurer within 30 days of the accident. If giving notice within 30 days is not reasonable, it must be done as soon as practicable after that. Notice can be given directly by the person entitled to make a claim, or by their agent (or lawyer). Within 90 days, you must also fill out Form AB-1: Notice of Loss and Proof of Claim found on the Government of Alberta website under insurance forms. Your lawyer can assist in completing this process with you.

Medical Benefits under Section B

Your Section B benefits grant you access to treatment for your injuries arising from the accident. These benefits begin on the day of the accident and last for 2 years. These benefits cover all reasonable expenses for necessary treatment, to a limit of $50,000 per person.The benefits include the following:

  • medical bills;
  • surgical bills;
  • hospital bills;
  • dental work;
  • chiropractic care (limited to $1,000 per person);
  • psychological care;
  • physiotherapy;
  • occupational therapy;
  • massage therapy (limited to $350 per person); and
  • acupuncture (limited to $350 per person).

It is important to note that Section B benefits are treated as "excess benefits" and do not cover portions of expenses that are recoverable under any insurance you may have. You will have to exhaust any other coverage first.

Disability Benefits

If you were employed at the time of the accident and are left unable to work as a result of your accident-related injuries at any time in the 60 days following the accident, you may also be eligible for Section B disability benefits. The benefits do not start until 7 days after the accident and expire 2 years following the accident. Disability benefits cover 80% of your average gross weekly earnings up to a maximum of $600 per week.

In order to be eligible for disability benefits under Section B, you must have been at least 18 years old at the time of the accident and employed for paid work in any 6 months during the 12 months leading up to the accident. The accident must also have caused you to be wholly and continuously incapacitated from working. This means that you are unable to complete all tasks required at work, every day.

If you were unemployed at the time of the accident and you are left unable to perform any of your household tasks, you are still eligible to receive $200 per week for up to two years.

You are also required to see a doctor to certify your disability prior to receiving any disability benefits. It is important that you see a doctor as soon as possible following your accident to treat any injuries you may have.

Special Damages

Expenses not reimbursed or approved, or incurred more than two years following the accident, may be claimed as special damages at the conclusion of your case.

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