When a person is injured, family members spring into action and rally around to help out in any way they can. Visiting a loved one in the hospital or at home following an accident is simply an automatic reaction for most of us. However, there are often costs associated with visiting our loved ones and, if the loved one was injured in a motor vehicle accident in Ontario, those costs are recoverable from the injured person’s auto insurance company. The Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule — (“SABS”) governs who may claim visitor expenses and the length of time that these claims will be considered.
The SABS state that expenses for visitors may be claimed by spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters of the injured person. Out-of-pocket expenses such as mileage, meals, parking, hotel accommodation, air fare, child care costs, in some cases, car rentals are the types of expenses to visitors that may be considered to be reasonable and necessary. Receipts must be appended to visitors’ claims when at all possible.
Visitor expenses are paid by the auto insurance company directly to the visitors upon request under a prescribed form called an Expense Claim Form. It is important to know that the reimbursement of these expenses is not deducted from the injured person’s allowable medical, rehabilitation or attendant care limits under the SABS; these costs are a direct expense to the insurance company. There is no limit to the amount of visitor expenses that may be claimed, however, they must be reasonable and necessary and in non-catastrophic claims are limited to the first two years following an accident.
Claiming visitor expenses is often overlooked by injured people and their loved ones. By making these claims for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses it provides much needed financial assistance to families and their injured loved ones.