No Fault Car Insurance and the Right To Sue

A serious one vehicle accident left two people with serious injuries recently in Southern Ontario. The two were passengers when the single truck accident occurred. The driver was headed southbound on Highway 6 on a Sunday morning when he lost control on an off ramp, crossing over the road and ending up in the ditch. The two passengers were taken to hospital with life threatening injuries.

While everyone naturally hopes for the best in a situation like this, reality is that oftentimes, the victims of such accidents are left with long term medical issues and disabilities. The driver has been charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle among other things.

But it’s No Fault…

It’s true that we have a no fault system of car insurance in Ontario. That simply means that regardless of the nature of the accident, you will turn to your own insurance company first to claim any accident benefits. What happens, though, in a case like this where someone is clearly at fault?

You do have the right to sue an at fault driver under certain circumstances. It depends on many factors, including:

  • You will have to meet the criteria for the so-called ‘threshold’ of disability as defined by legislation (section 267.5 of the Insurance Act).
  • You may be able to sue for things like general damages and pain and suffering, including claims for family members.
  • Some claims, such as for loss of income, medical and rehab expenses and other out-of-pocket expenses, will only be reimbursed above what the insurance company may have already covered (i.e. you can’t claim for what is already covered by insurance.)
  • You can only sue the driver/vehicle owner who is at fault – if the main issue was the curve in the road or inadequate signage on the part of the municipality, then the right to sue does not apply.
  • Even if, as in this case, police have laid charges that seem to imply fault, the criteria for a lawsuit is different. Police charges may or may not have a bearing on a determination of fault.

It gets complicated – and you need an expert in your corner.

We Focus On Car & Motor Vehicle Accidents

Petrillo Law has been providing competent, caring legal advice to car accident victims in Mississauga, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and across Ontario for over 20 years. We can evaluate a case to determine whether it meets the provincial threshold required to start a lawsuit as well as represent injured people who have been denied accident benefits by their own insurance company.

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