The Difference Between Benefits And Damages In A Personal Injury Case Involving A Car Accident.

Accident benefits are what we call the awards you get from your accident benefits insurer.

Those are the benefits that are available after a motor vehicle accident to an injured party on a no-fault basis. On the other hand, damages are the amounts that a person is awarded in a lawsuit or a claim against the responsible party. Damages are awarded to someone who is not at fault and whose injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence. To receive damages, you must prove that someone else was at fault. It can be a long and difficult process and could involve a trial.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the police have to lay charges, but it would be helpful to your case if the responsible driver is charged. It is also helpful if there is a police report which indicates that the police have investigated the accident and made a determination of who was at fault, even if they have not laid charges. Today, very few accidents of a minor nature are subject to police investigation, so when people call us immediately after an accident, we always tell them that if there has not been a police investigation, they should go to an accident reporting center and fill out a self reporting form to ensure that there is at least a record of the collision. Otherwise, if there is no record of the collision, they won’t know who to sue if there are problems later on because they won’t know the name of the party that struck their vehicle or their insurance particulars. Even more important, if there is no record of the collision, the other party involved can deny that a collision took place.

If a court decides that a person who is injured was partly at fault, then their damage award is reduced by the amount of their contributory negligence. For instance, someone crosses the road not in a crosswalk, and is struck by a vehicle. If it is found that they walked out from between two parked cars so the oncoming motorist did not have a chance to see them, they can probably get penalized for up to 50 per cent contributory negligence, which means that their award is reduced by 50 per cent.


If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with Personal injury law issues in the Brampton, Ontario Region, contact BFolkes Legal Professional Corporation.

This article is taken from a April 28, 2008 interview with Ron Folkes, LL.B., Personal Injury Lawyer with Brampton Personal Injury Lawyer in Brampton, a Personal Injury Law Firm.

Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.