According to the SAAQ’s 2020 Road Safety Record, Quebec traffic accidents resulted in 340 deaths, 1,165 serious injuries and 22,966 minor injuries. Of course, these numbers cannot capture the full impact of losing a family member, being left with a disability or having trouble performing everyday tasks.
In these cases, compensation is available. Victims can seek damages to cope with the aftermath and cover related expenses.
To obtain compensation after a car accident, it is important to know how the SAAQ works and, above all, to follow specific protocol. Me Bégin has been a lawyer for road accident victims since 1992. Below, he explains exactly how to claim and receive compensation.
Who compensates road accident victims in Quebec?
The Société d’Assurance Automobile du Québec (SAAQ) is responsible for compensating victims of road traffic accidents.
Several factors go into calculating these benefits, e.g. the severity of the injury, the age of the victim or the cost of care. For example, in 2020, the SAAQ could pay out a maximum lump sum of $256,383 for a victim in critical condition.
The SAAQ can also compensate victims and their families for other expenses, such as childcare, medical costs or funeral expenses. Compensation can even cover up to 90% of lost income (maximum $78,500).
Who is eligible for compensation?
To be eligible for SAAQ compensation, victims must meet certain criteria:
- Must reside in Quebec
- Must have suffered physical or mental injuries in a traffic accident
- The accident must have been caused by a road vehicle, e.g. car, truck, bus, etc.
The SAAQ can cover accidents that take place both in and outside Quebec.
However, the SAAQ does not cover accidents that involve off-road vehicles, like dirt bikes or motorcycles.
If the victim died as a result of the road accident, the victim’s family may also be entitled to compensation.
How to claim compensation after a traffic accident
The first thing you should do after a car accident is seek medical attention. Not only will you receive treatment, but the physician will also create a medical file that lists all accident-related symptoms and injuries. The SAAQ will then use this file to help evaluate your claim.
Next, you can submit your claim to the SAAQ and provide the following documents:
- Initial medical report
- Proof of accident, e.g. accident report
- Proof of accident-related expenses, e.g. bills and receipts
The SAAQ may request additional documents when processing your claim, including proof that you are no longer able to work following the accident.
Have you filed a claim with the SAAQ but are unsatisfied with their decision? You can contest their decision within 60 days. See our article on “How to Contest an SAAQ Decision” for more information.
Where can I file an SAAQ compensation claim?
Once you’ve compiled all the necessary documents, you can file a claim for compensation on the SAAQ website. You can also mail or fax the compensation form.
Types of compensation for traffic accidents
Victims of traffic accidents or their families are eligible for 4 types of SAAQ compensation:
- Income replacement
- Compensation for students
- Compensation for childcare expenses
- Compensation for after-effects
1. Income replacement
SAAQ can compensate for lost wages when a victim of a traffic accident is unable to return to work. The SAAQ calculates these benefits based on the victim’s job and their gross annual income.
Coverage is up to 90% of their annual income (max. $78,500). The duration of the benefits generally depends on the victim’s age.
2. Compensation for students
This type of compensation is paid to victims whose studies have been disrupted by a road accident. This compensation can amount to $20,108 per year. The SAAQ can cover the entire school year (primary or secondary) or the disrupted semester (post-secondary studies).
3. Compensation for childcare expenses
Car accident victims can apply for childcare compensation if they are responsible for the care of someone under 16-years-old or a disabled person, and the accident prevents their ability to provide this care.
The SAAQ issues this benefit weekly in amounts ranging from $462 to $630, depending on the number of dependents.
4. Compensation for after-effects
Victims can receive compensation if they are left with permanent physical, cosmetic or psychological effects from their accident.
The SAAQ bases the amount of compensation on the “Schedule of Permanent Functional and Esthetic Impairments” set forth in the Regulation respecting lump-sum compensation for non-pecuniary damage.
Bégin Avocat helps road accident victims get compensation
The SAAQ often renders decisions that seem unjust to victims. This can result in a double victimization: first by the road accident, then by the justice system.
If you are filing a SAAQ claim or contesting a SAAQ decision, contact a lawyer who specializes in defending the rights of accident victims. At Bégin Avocat, we will give you expert support and guidance every step of the way.
You can contact our law firm by phone at (514) 509 – 7852 or by filling out the form below.