Endorsements to the Standard Automobile Policy add extra coverage for certain things. Alberta’s Family Protection endorsement, commonly referred to as the SEF 44, is the most valuable and important one.
This common insurance policy endorsement is an optional but highly recommended endorsement to any motor vehicle accident policy.
The mandatory legislated insurance coverage required by law under the SPF 1 Alberta Standard Automobile Insurance is $200,000. In many cases, that amount may not be sufficient to cover all personal injury and property claims arising from a not at fault or partially at fault accident in which you or your family members may have been involved.
If you or a family living in the household is injured in a motor vehicle accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, or involved in a hit and run, you can then access your own SEF 44 endorsement to cover any shortfall for your claims.
Most if not all brokers add the SEF 44 endorsement up to $1,000,000, or the limits of your Section A liability coverage, to insurance policies.
There is a provincial entity called the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (commonly called the Fund). This Fund covers injury claims only (not vehicle damage) the limit of coverage is $200,000. If you or a family member are involved in either a hit and run where the other driver is unidentified, or struck by a driver with only the statutory minimum $200,000 coverage, and the total injury claims exceed $200,000, then you can claim the shortfall from your SEF 44 Family Protection Endorsement.
However, consider a situation where an accident involves multiple serious injuries. It is important to note that if the at fault driver has $1,000,000 liability coverage, and you also have $1,000,000 coverage, then you cannot access your SEF 44. The policies don’t “stack”.
If an injured party does not have does not have their own insurance with an SEF endorsement, it is important to explore if there is SEF coverage from another source, including but not limited to the following:
There are other situations that may provide SEF 44 coverage so it is important to consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer at Braithwaite Boyle to explore other areas of recovery.
**Please note that this article is to only provide general information. It cannot be considered as legal advice. If you have any questions or concerns, or have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, please contact Braithwaite Boyle Injury Law at 780-451-9191 and one of our lawyers would be happy to assist you.
If you operate a motor vehicle in Alberta, you are legally required to carry motor vehicle insurance. The Standard Automobile Policy is governed by provincial legislation, and therefore the basic terms and conditions are the same for all policies.
The mandatory level of Section A coverage is $200,000. However, most people choose to increase that coverage to at least $1,000,000 or $2,00,000 to ensure they have enough coverage in the case of multiple claims from one incident, or very serious injuries to people in the other vehicle/s, where $200,000 may not be sufficient to cover all claims.
There are three sections of the policy:
ALBERTA'S MINOR INJURY CAP
In 2004, the Alberta government introduced a piece of legislation called the Alberta Minor Injury Regulation, which placed a cap on the compensation available to an individual who sustained minor injuries in a motor vehicle accident (the “Cap”). This bold move was taken in an attempt to balance the rights of injured victims, with the increasing costs of providing and purchasing insurance. In the years prior to the introduction of the Cap, insurance companies lobbied the government for a change, arguing that, as a result of an increase in personal injury claims and subsequently, a spike in their costs to settle these claims, they had no choice but to increase insurance premiums. The insurance companies promised the government that by limiting the money that goes to injured Albertans by putting a cap on payouts for “minor injuries”, that they could reduce their own costs and consequently, lower insurance premiums to the general public. This scheme proved successful, and the Cap was created.
The value of a personal injury claim is determined through a calculation of your heads of damages. There are several heads of damages which are classified as pecuniary or non-pecuniary damages. Special damages, also known as pecuniary damages, are monetary awards for specific losses such as economic losses, including repair costs, loss of income, loss of future income, loss of housekeeping, and medical and rehabilitation costs. General Damages, also known as non-pecuniary damages, are awards to compensate for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
1. General Damages
In 1978 the Supreme Court of Canada put a limit on the amount of general damages one can claim. Accounting for inflation, that current limit is $366,000.00, and is only awarded in those cases where some one has suffered catastrophic injuries. In 2004 the Alberta government implemented legislation that caps general damages for pain and suffering at $4000.00 for “minor injuries”. This amount is increased every year for inflation. The 2023 CAP in Alberta is $5,817.
HOW A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM WORKS
There are many steps involved in a personal injury claim and there are strict time lines that must be adhered to otherwise you may loose your right to recover damages. The following is a basic outline of the way a claim would proceed.
1. Initial Meeting
Meet with a lawyer to discuss your accident, your injuries, and their impact on your life. Assuming you are not at fault for the accident, you may proceed with a claim against the at fault driver. Investigation will begin to gather all of the necessary evidence to advance your claim, including the police report, medical records and employment information.
In Canada, as across most of the world, people love their social media. According to the Social Media Lab at Ryerson University, in 2017, approximately 94% of online Canadians are on at least one social platform (1) and the Canadian Internet Registration Authority reports that approximately 61% percent of Canadian's engage on social media every single day. (2)
Almost as dramatic as the growth that social media has seen over recent years is the changing ways that the average Canadian interacts with their social media accounts. Gone are the days of using social media for only posting pictures of your dog and your dinner (...well almost gone). Social media has now become one of the primary providers and drivers of our societal values, news, and culture. With four out of five Canadians reporting that they're keeping up to date with current events through social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. (3)
However, there is one major use of social media that most individuals are not aware of, the potential that your posts could be used against you in the litigation process.
WHEN A DRIVER HITS A PEDESTRIAN
Nobody wants to be involved in any kind of car accident, but a collision involving a vehicle and a pedestrian can be particularly traumatic, both for an injured pedestrian and for the driver involved. The consequences can be more dire than with an accident involving two vehicles, and the avenue to compensation for the victim is somewhat different than in a vehicle-vehicle accident.
Driving in general is an activity that carries notable risks. This is part of the reason why automobile insurance coverage is mandatory. Accidents occur frequently enough that, from a public policy standpoint, it is vital to ensure that victims of motor vehicle accidents can seek compensation for expenses that arise from being injured, including medical bills and income loss from time off work.
If you or a family member have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, figuring out who you can claim compensation from can be confusing. Below is an overview of the types of compensation a lawyer can help you claim and who you can commence a lawsuit against.
Cognitive functionalities refer to the way we think, analyze, perceive and process information. If someone suffers from a traumatic injury or impact to the head, some neurological abilities such as memory, concentration, reasoning and understanding can be lost permanently. Cognitive dysfunction is life-altering and can thus be extremely frustrating resulting in emotional outbursts or drug dependence and abuse.
The new cap for pain and suffering damages due to minor injuries incurred from an automobile accident in 2023 is $5,817. This is a 1.2 percent increase from the previous year, as per Alberta’s Minor Injury Regulations, which mandate that the cap is to increase each year in accordance with inflation. The cap on pain and suffering damages for minor injuries was originally set at $4,000 in 2004.
THE NEW CAP FOR PAIN & SUFFERING DAMAGES FOR MINOR INJURIES - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
In the context of minor injuries incurred from an automobile accident, $5,080 is the new maximum amount that can be claimed for non-pecuniary damages (pain and suffering) in Alberta, effective January 1, 2018. This cap was adjusted upwards by 1.2%, from $5,020 in 2017. The cap applies where the accident giving rise to the injuries occurred on or after January 1, 2018; the cap is not based on when a claim is actually filed with the courts.
The spinal cord is a critical component of the nervous system and is responsible for coordinating specific motor functions and providing sensory nerve information to the brain. The spinal cord extends from the back of your brain through to your lumbar vertebrae and sends nerve signals throughout the body.
SPINAL CORD INJURIES: LOOKING AT SHORT TERM AND LONG-TERM EFFECTS WITH A SPINAL CORD INJURY LAWYER IN ALBERTA
Whether you have been in a vehicle collision or a different kind of accident, a spinal cord injury may be a cause for considerable distress. First, you must manage the immediate effects of such damage to your body, which can be stressful enough. Then, you may also be forced to live with the long-term results of the physical trauma.
In many accident cases, contacting a lawyer is the best strategy possible. You should be aware that you have a limited amount of time to file a claim and pursue compensation for injury damages. The team members at Braithwaite Boyle have the experience to guide you through such a case and get you the compensation you deserve.
Slipped disk (also referred to as a herniated disk) injuries occur in your lumbar spine and sometimes also occur in your cervical spine. The bones in your spinal column are cushioned by these discs and are intended to absorb shocks from activities such as walking, lifting and twisting. Each disk is comprised of a soft inner portion and a tough outer portion.
SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION FROM SPINAL CORD INJURIES | SPINAL CORD INJURY LAWYER ALBERTA
In Canada, at least 1,500 new spinal cord injuries are reported every single year. Spinal cord injuries can be very traumatic for individuals and affect many aspects of their lives including the lives of their significant others.
If you ride your bicycle often, the consequences of being struck by a vehicle will likely cross your mind. If you are struck and need compensation, who would be found responsible?
When your child is in the care of a school, there are usually several precautions in place to ensure the safety of students. Sometimes accidents still happen, however, including playground injuries, sports injuries, slip and falls, school bus accidents, food reactions and more.
Spinal cord injuries can arise from a variety of causes, most of which are a traumatic blow to the spine. Even if an injury did not start out as a spinal cord injury, treatments for some conditions (e.g., back pain) can grow into a spinal cord injury easily.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, compensation is available to you to cover your losses. The amount and type of compensation available will depend partially on who was at fault for the accident.
The spinal cord is perhaps the most fundamental component of the body’s CNS (central nervous system). The spinal cord runs from roughly your waist all the way up to your brain. Brain signals run the length of your spinal cord in order to allow other body parts to function. A damaged spinal cord can interrupt or thwart these signals, causing difficulties in other parts of the body.
Accidents happen - car accidents, slips and falls, and tripping on hazardous objects are fairly routine events. Unfortunately, an accident, major or minor, can sometimes cause considerable consequences. Trauma to the head can happen easily and can result in complicated injuries to the brain.
WHAT IS A TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY?
Suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is something no one wants to imagine happening. Brain injuries can result in considerable residual deficits of brain function and can affect your cognitive abilities for a short or long time or permanently.
Serious injuries that cause lasting, and in some cases lifetime effects, not only impact the injured person, but spouses and other loved ones who become caregivers for the injured person. An injury to a loved one can dramatically change a person’s life.
In Alberta, distracted driving is a breach of Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act. Even if the driver’s performance did not appear affected, distracted driving can result in a $287 fine and three demerit points. The penalties alone do not ensure that the roads are safe from distracted driving, which evidently is outpacing impaired driving in Canada as a leading cause of injury and death.