Every year, thousands of Quebecers who have sustained physical injuries or mental trauma as the result of a road accident receive compensation from the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec. The SAAQ reviews each file carefully before granting compensation.
Sometimes, accident victims consider their compensation insufficient and feel wronged by the SAAQ’s decision. In such cases, they will want to contest the decision.
In this article, our SAAQ lawyers for road accident victims explain how to contest a decision made by Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec.
What is an application for review?
A decision rendered by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec may be reviewed if the claimant considers it unjust. The first decision rendered may not fully consider all of the accident’s negative effects on the victim’s life.
- Loss of income
• Physical and psychological impact
• Relapse or aggravation
• Medical expenses
In such cases, the victim should not hesitate to apply for review.
The types of SAAQ compensation that are subject to review
Victims of road accidents who are unable to return to work may receive income replacement payments every two weeks. If the compensation amount (the percentage of the victim’s net income paid by the SAAQ) is deemed insufficient, the victim can apply for review.
Compensation for non-monetary damage
Sometimes called “indemnity for a diminished quality of life”, this compensation is a lump-sum payment for the damage caused by a road accident that affects the victim’s quality of life. This type of compensation can also be contested.
Medical and travel expenses
The SAAQ reimburses road accident victims for medical and paramedical expenses as well as travel expenses incurred to receive medical care. When the amount allocated is insufficient, the victim should apply for review.
Care expenses or availability allowance
If a road accident victim requires assistance with daily tasks due to their physical or mental condition, the carer may receive an availability allowance. Again, if this type of compensation is inadequate and an application for review is made, it may be increased.
If a car accident causes the death of one of the individuals involved, their dependents and certain close relatives are entitled to a death benefit, which is paid in a lump sum. The amount paid and who is entitled to it can both be contested.
The deadline for contesting an SAAQ decision
The application for review must be submitted within 60 days of receiving the SAAQ’s decision. An application for review submitted after this deadline will need to include justification for the delay, and there is no guarantee that the review will be carried out.
Submitting the form and preparing the relevant documents
In order to contest a decision, you must fill out the application for review form and send it to the Société d’assurance automobile du Québec. The form can be accessed electronically on the SAAQ website or on paper at any SAAQ service centre.
When submitting the completed form, it’s a good idea to include documents that support the request for review. A serious file that contains opinions from medical professionals or other experts will carry more weight and have a better chance of being revised in the victim’s favour.
Processing the application and decision
Once the application for review and the required documents have been submitted to the SAAQ, a decision will be rendered within 90 days. However, this period may be extended in order to procure new documents that are pertinent to the review, such as documentation from a new medical exam.
The review officer assigned to the file will contact the applicant within 10 business days of receiving the request in order to get a better understanding of the situation.
After analyzing the information in the file, the review officer will render their decision and notify the applicant by mail.
If the review is unsuccessful
When a review is requested, the SAAQ’s decision may be upheld by the review board.
If the applicant still disagrees with the decision, they can contest it before the Administrative Tribunal of Québec. Once again, the applicant has 60 days to contest.
Increase your chance of a successful review with Bégin Avocats
That concludes our guide to contesting an SAAQ decision.
The rights conferred by the Automobile Insurance Act are complex, and navigating the application for review process can be tricky, with significant consequences if poorly managed. That’s why it’s best to contact a victim’s rights lawyer as soon as you receive a decision you consider unreasonable.
Our legal services give you the best chance of successfully contesting the SAAQ’s decision and obtaining justice for the victims. Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your situation.