You might think that people who are suing over a slip and fall are cheating the system and trying to make a ton of money for something they shouldn’t have sued for.
The reality that many do not know is that the final payment doesn’t fully belong to the plaintiff. Instead, there are a lot of players that come and collect after a victim has been awarded. In fact, the money that is left over is barely enough to cover their new bills that their injuries now require.
This blog illustrates some of the many hands that come looking for payment after a civil case has been settled and you may be shocked by who comes knocking.
Since becoming a law clerk many people ask me what people “get” in personal injury cases. I am always hesitant to give figures as they are very misleading, but people want to know the bottom line- how much do you get for a broken leg, how much for broken ribs and how much for stitches?
Unfortunately, that answer is never that easy.
Awards and settlements are not determined based on injury alone. Many factors are included to quantify the damages, including pain and suffering, loss of income, loss of competitive edge if you are no longer able to perform in the same capacity as you once did, future care cost, and so on.
All of the above, and more play a role in what you may receive; however, what many people do not understand is that money is not free and clear. Yes, the tax man will want always want a portion, but did you know that others will have their hands out for payment or repayment from your award?
In Ontario, most assume we have free health care, well, we do, and we don’t. In the event, you are injured in a slip and fall, or a myriad of other ways OHIP retains their right of subrogation in any civil suit. In other words, whatever OHIP has paid to treat the injuries related to your civil suit such as laboratory costs, imaging costs, doctor and nurses’ fees, operating room cost etc. will be tallied for both past and estimated for the future. OHIP will then seek to be repaid for those costs which will be payable by you, the plaintiff, from any court award or settlement monies.
You want to plan to be prepared to cut some of your final payment in repayment of lost wages in the event, you lose time from work and collect short term (STD) or long-term disability (LTD) through a workplace. The bulk of civil cases that settle or are court awarded contain a portion for lost wages. STD and LTD, in the majority of cases, also have a right to a subrogation claim, and will exercise that right.
While you were away from work healing from your accident, did you also happen to collect benefits from Employment Insurance (EI), Ontario Works (OW), or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)? If so, be prepared to repay monies our of your final award or settlement.
Finally, you’ll need to pay your legal bill out of your awarded money, which consists of not only lawyer and clerk fees but reimbursement for court fees, expert reports, process server costs etc.
And now- you have reached the bottom line of your award, which to the majority of plaintiffs doesn’t come close to what they have lost. Civil suits are not typically the win fall that TV and others present them to be. To most, they are a means to finance ongoing treatment, which is often times out of reach without legal assistance and not a get rich quick scheme that many pain personal injury to be.
In closing- what is the average settlement or award after an injury? Not enough to make it worth the cost of an injury or the life changes that come as a result!
Contact Millars Law today for a FREE Consultation! Choose Millars when you Can’t Afford to Lose. Contact us today at (519) 657-1LAW or Info@millarslaw.com
By: Shari Lamore