I was a Passenger in a Car Accident in Ontario – now what?

Injury Lawyers Since 1984

I was a Passenger in a Car Accident in Ontario – now what?

 

If you are a passenger that was involved in a car accident in Ontario, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. Passengers should consult with an experienced Ontario personal injury lawyer, such as the lawyers at Boland Romaine LLP, soon after the car accident in order to learn what types of compensation they can recover.

For over 40 years, Boland Romaine has recovered millions in compensation for passengers involved in Ontario car accidents who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and concussions, fractures and orthopaedic injures, chronic pain, soft-tissue injuries, or psychiatric and psychological injuries.

What compensation can passengers claim?

Passengers struck by a vehicle in a car accident are entitled to the same rights of compensation as drivers.

A passenger can claim accident benefits. Accident benefits provide all passengers of vehicles with access to medical and rehabilitation benefits, income replacement benefits or non-earner benefits, and attendant care benefits, along with other benefits depending on the severity of the passenger’s injuries. Click here to learn more about what accident benefits you can receive.

Accident benefits are available to all passengers hurt in Ontario car accidents, regardless of how the car accident occurred. Passengers of vehicles normally claim accident benefits through the passenger’s auto insurance company through their auto insurance policy. A passenger can still access accident benefits even if the passenger does not have auto insurance. To learn how, please read below.

A passenger in a vehicle involved in a car accident may also commence a civil tort action in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Passengers may have claims against the driver of their vehicle, another driver involved in the car accident, or, in some cases, the municipality responsible for designing and maintaining the roadway. Unlike a claim for accident benefits, a passenger must be able to prove that the car accident resulting in their injuries was the result of the negligence of others, either the driver of the passenger’s vehicle or the driver of any of the other vehicles involved in the car accident. Click here to learn more about what compensation you may be entitled to by with starting a civil tort claim.

What if the passenger doesn’t have insurance?

A passenger of a vehicle involved in an Ontario car accident can still claim accident benefits and commence a tort action even if he or she does not have auto insurance. Although accident benefits generally function in the manner that an individual, such as a passenger, files a claim with his or her own auto insurance company, the Ontario accident benefits scheme is designed such that every person hurt in a car accident has access to accident benefits.

Which auto insurance policy an uninsured passenger can access is decided based out of a priority scheme under the Ontario Insurance Act. Generally, a passenger hurt in a car accident that does not have his or her own auto insurance would file a claim with the auto insurance company that covers the driver of the passenger’s vehicle. If that driver is uninsured, and the car accident involved multiple vehicles, the passenger may file a claim against the auto insurance company that insured the drivers of any other vehicles involved in the car accident. As a very last resort, a passenger can file claim against the Ontario Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund – a government-funded insurer of last resort against which a passenger can claim accident benefits if none of the drivers involved in the accident were insured.

Whether the passenger has automobile insurance of his or her own does not affect their rights to file a civil tort claim against either the driver of the passenger’s vehicle, or any other drivers involved in the car accident.

Does a passenger need to speak with the insurance company?

It depends. A passenger will need to report a claim to his or her auto insurance company in order to claim accident benefits. The accident benefits insurer will appoint an adjuster whose job it is to assess the passengers claim and make critical decisions about what benefits the passenger is entitled to. If the passenger does not retain an Ontario personal injury lawyer, the passenger will inevitably be speaking with the claims adjuster on a regular basis. Although being respectful and cordial, the accident benefits claims adjuster is always looking out for the best interests of the insurance company.

For this reason, passengers should consult with one of the personal injury lawyers at Boland Romaine LLP before speaking with the insurance company. If the passenger retains a personal injury lawyer, the lawyer can deal directly with the insurance company on behalf of the passenger, thereby limiting the circumstances under which the passenger would need to further speak with the insurance company.

If the passenger commences a civil tort claim against another driver, the insurance company of the other driver may also appoint an adjuster or claims examiner whose job will be to limit the amount of compensation paid out to the passenger. Although rare, the claims examiner or adjuster may contact the passenger before retaining a defence lawyer, if the passenger has yet to retain an Ontario personal injury lawyer and formally issued his or her civil tort claim in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. In such circumstances, the passenger is under no obligation to speak with the insurance company for the driver of the vehicle against whom he or she commences a tort claim. You should consult with an Ontario personal injury lawyer immediately if a claims examiner or adjuster from the insurance company of the driver involved in the car accident contacts you so that you can be informed of your rights.

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