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How does auto insurance work if I have been in a car accident?

By: Kalen Brady

Drivers in Ontario are required to have auto insurance. However, many drivers do not have a full understanding of auto insurance because it is a complicated system full of legal terminology. This blog will explain some basic concepts to help you understand auto insurance in Ontario.

No Fault Insurance

Most people have heard the term “no fault insurance” but not everyone knows what it means. Basically, no fault insurance in Ontario means that a person seeking compensation for injuries or damages must get certain types of compensation from their own insurer. That person may still be able to claim against another driver/owner but must first turn to their own insurer for certain coverages (e.g. accident benefits).

This means that an injured person has immediate access to certain benefits from his or her own insurance but in exchange is restricted in his or her right to get compensation for those losses from another driver.

Why Does My Own Insurer Pay Me When It Wasn’t My Fault?

This is a political decision that the government and other decision-makers made. There is a belief by some decision-makers that a no fault system assists to keep auto premiums low.

What Does My Insurer Cover?

There are many things that are covered under your auto insurance policy including property damage, uninsured driver coverage, underinsured driver coverage, and accident benefits. Accident benefits are usually the topic that my clients have the most questions about. I will write about the other kinds of coverage in another blog.

Accident benefits include coverage for things like medical treatment, medical assessments, income loss, help with care giving, and help with housekeeping. A lawyer can help you to figure out if you qualify for any of these benefits.

These accident benefits are paid to you by your own auto insurer (no fault insurance). If you are trying to get compensation for injuries from another driver, the amount you receive will be taken off what the other driver could otherwise have to pay you.

Can I Still Sue Another Driver?

If the other driver is partially or completely at fault for the accident, you can still sue that driver for your injuries and other losses in addition to the accident benefits paid by your insurance. The government has put laws in place which restrict an injured person’s ability to sue for injuries and accident related losses; I will write about these restrictions in another blog.

Lawsuits against an at fault driver may ask for compensation for pain and suffering, income loss, out of pocket expenses, and the costs associated with future care, future treatment, and housekeeping. These are common components of a lawsuit but there are others which may apply to a specific accident. A lawyer will work with an injured person to figure out all of the damages, injuries, and losses and will ask for compensation for these things for the client.

The ability to get compensation from another driver usually depends upon the extent of the injuries and the impact those injuries have on the injured person’s ability to work, live, and enjoy his or her life.

A car accident is a terrible event for anyone to go through. The accident will often impact all parts of a person’s life as well as the lives of his or her family. While this blog has given a brief description of the auto insurance system in Ontario, each accident is unique and must be analyzed on a case by case basis. Our lawyers are able to assist you in figuring out what to do if you have been injured in a car accident. Contact a member of our Personal Injury team for a consultation about your accident.

Please note that any knowledge gained from information here cannot be used as legal advice unless under legal retainer from PDC. See our Terms of Service for more information