March 11, 2016Filed Under: Car Accidents

Auto Insurance in Ontario: Can I Sue?

Auto Insurance in Ontario: Can I Sue?

Have you been in a car accident? Do you need help understanding what compensation you may be entitled to? Do you want to learn more about Ontario’s ‘no-fault’ insurance system?

‘No-fault’ can sound misleading because there are both ‘no-fault’ and ‘at-fault’ insurance systems when it comes to car accidents in Ontario. ‘No-fault’ refers to your entitlement to claim ‘accident benefits’ from your own car insurance company (or the other driver’s if you do not have car insurance), regardless of who is at fault. Mandatory under the Insurance Act, these benefits provide immediate access to wage loss replacement, medical and rehabilitation treatment, and other benefits.

There can also be a second claim, called a ‘tort’ claim, against the at-fault driver for losses and damages above what is covered by accident benefits. Pain and suffering, lost income and other losses which aren’t covered by insurance may be claimed. However, to claim any of these you must successfully sue the at-fault driver. You can’t sue yourself (in Canada), so if you caused the accident you won’t be able to claim any damages in addition to your accident benefits.

Car racing along in traffic making it appear blurred.
Photo by Kamil Porembinski via CC BY-SA 2.0

Pain and suffering claims are complicated though, and in order to recover money for these you have to prove that your injuries are permanent, meaning they will never go away, and serious, meaning they significantly affect your ability to work or your ability to engage in your normal, everyday activities. Lastly, there is a $30,000.00 deductible. This means that, for example, if your damages for pain and suffering are worth $50,000.00 you only actually receive $20,000.00.

The good news is that you can recover your loss of income and out of pocket expenses even if your injuries are not permanent and serious, though there are restrictions. First, you cannot recover anything for the first 7 days after the accident. Second, you can only recover 70% of your income loss up to the date of trial. From the date of trial you can recover 100% of your loss. However, any money you receive for income loss from any other source is deducted. This includes money from private disability insurance and any money paid to you for accident benefits by your car insurance company.

As you can see, making sure you receive proper compensation for injuries you sustain in a car accident is a complex and involved process. Our team of lawyers is experienced in representing victims of motor vehicle accidents and can help you through the entire process. If you have any questions about this process or what to do if you’ve been injured in a car accident, please call us at 416-800-4378 or 416-533-7133.

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