When I sue, who pays?

You have been involved in a car accident by no fault of your own. You are severely injured and your life has completely changed as a result of someone else negligence. As such you consult a personal injury lawyer like the ones at Burn Tucker Lachaîne, and a claim is started naming the individual who caused your injuries as the defendant. Although the person named in the lawsuit is the other driver (and sometimes the owner of the other vehicle), he or she is likely not the one who will pay when the lawsuit ends.

In Ontario, drivers are required by law to have a valid policy of insurance on their vehicle when driving. This insurance policy provides various protections including for when you are responsible for a collision in which someone is injured. As such, if the person responsible for the accident is properly insured, the insurance company will respond to the lawsuit and essentially take the individual’s place. If your claim is within the monetary limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, only the insurance company will pay. If however the damages you are claiming exceed the monetary limits of the insurance policy, the at-fault driver would be responsible to pay any amount over and above his limits.

What happens if your insurance policy has a higher monetary limit than the at-fault driver’s insurance? In that case, your personal injury lawyer would add your own insurance as a party to the lawsuit and your own insurance would cover whatever amount exceeds the at-fault driver’s insurance limits up to the monetary limits of the injured party’s own limits. For example, if the at-fault driver has a valid insurance policy with a monetary limit of $1 million and the injured party has a valid insurance policy with a monetary limit of $2 million, there would be in this case $2 million of insurance policy funds available to pay for the injured party’s damages.

What happens when the defendant is not properly insured? In this case your personal injury lawyer would add your own insurance policy and your entire monetary limits would be available to compensate you for your damages.

What happens if for example you are a pedestrian who does not have an insurance policy and the driver that caused your injuries does not have a valid policy of insurance or has left the scene of the accident and you cannot identify him or her? In that case, there is the Ontario Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund which will pay damages up to a maximum amount of $200,000. There is a specific process to go through to receive payment from the Fund.

There can be many parties involved in a lawsuit and it can become overwhelming. We at Burn Tucker Lachaîne can help put your mind at ease. Contact us today for a free consultation by visiting our website at www.burntucker.com and clicking on “Free Consultation” or calling one of our lawyers. We offer services in French and English. 

By Dani Grandmaitre of Burn Tucker Lachaîne Personal Injury Lawyers on March 31, 2017
Tags: Car Accidents, Free Consultation, Pedestrian accidents, Personal Injury, Serious Injury