If you file a claim against another
driver due to their negligence causing your accident, you're
effectively suing the other driver's insurance company. One of
the terms of any auto insurance contract is that the insurance
company handles the defence and pay-out of any lawsuit against the
driver after an accident up to the limits of the policy. This means
that if you file a personal injury claim against another driver
there will be money available from an insurance policy to pay out
any settlement or jury verdict.
Even if you win a case after
suffering a serious injury, there may still be a deductible that
reduces the compensation you will receive. In Ontario, as of 2015,
any compensation award under $121,799 for pain and suffering and
loss of enjoyment of life has a deductible of $36,540. This means
that if you are awarded $100,000 in damages, you will only receive
$63,460 – and these numbers will increase to account for
inflation every year starting in 2016.
Medical and rehabilitation
compensation for serious injuries – injuries that require
weeks or months of recovery – are limited by law to $50,000
in a claim for accident-benefits.
Compensation for "minor
injuries" are limited by law to $3,500 in a claim for
If you dispute your own insurance
company's handling of your claim, you can seek mediation before
going into a trial or hearing. Mediation regarding car insurance
disputes is handled by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario
(FSCO), who will appoint a mediator and attempt to find a
resolution. However, the mediator can only clarify and attempt to
bring both sides into agreement on an issue, and cannot make
legally binding decisions.
You can't directly sue your own
insurance company in court in most circumstances. Prior to 2015, it
was possible to sue car insurance providers directly after a
dispute and failed mediation. However, the law was changed so that
all disputes between a driver and their own insurance company must
first go through the Licence Appeal Tribunal. If after the tribunal
has made its ruling you still disagree, you can then appeal it in
If the other driver does not have
insurance, there may still compensation available, either from your
own policy or from the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund. This
latter coverage is not unconditional, however. You cannot receive
it if you were at fault for the accident, and after a payout the
government will pursue the uninsured driver for recovery of the
Your insurance company can find you
at fault, even when the police do not. The police and insurance
companies use different criteria to determine if somebody is at
fault after an accident. While many times the police and insurance
company may agree, there are many instances where they do not
You can always get a second opinion.
There are any number of reasons that you might want a second
opinion – you may feel that your lawyer has missed something
important, or been turned down when you're certain you have a
strong case. Not only are lawyers required to allow you to get a
second opinion, they are ethically obliged to facilitate the
transfer of files and your case if you decide to retain new legal
If you are a pedestrian or passenger,
you are still covered by insurance. The drivers are not the only
people injured in car accidents; passengers and pedestrians are
too. If you are a passenger, you are covered under the insurance of
your car's driver. If you are a pedestrian, on the other hand,
and the driver who hit you has no insurance, or you have no
recourse to any insurance after the collision, you are still
covered by the Ontario's insurance payer of last resort, the
Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund.
It's not often that our little blog intersects with such titanic struggles as the U.S. presidential race – and by using the term "titanic" I certainly don't mean to suggest that anything disastrous is in the future.
J.J. v. C.C., is an interesting case in which the court held that an automotive garage owes a duty to minor children to secure the vehicles on the premises by locking the cars and safely storing the car keys...
In Irwin v. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, 2015 ABCA 396, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that the "ABVMA" failed to afford procedural fairness to a veterinarian undergoing an incapacity assessment.
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