Are At-Fault Drivers Eligible for Insurance Payouts in Ontario?
An at-fault driver in a car accident still may recover compensation in the form of Statutory Accident Benefits. However, while Ontario follows a no-fault accident system, there are some financial consequences to being found completely or partially to blame for an automotive accident.
Recovering Payment under Ontario’s Insurance Laws
Ontario’s Insurance Act established the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) as a means to standardize coverage. Under the SABS, a driver may recover Accident Benefits, regardless of his or her fault.
Available insurance compensation may include:
- Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits;
- Attendant Care Benefits;
- Caregiver Benefits (optional benefit or if catastrophically impaired);
- Income Replacement Benefits;
- Housekeeping Benefits; (optional benefit or if catastrophically impaired)
- out-of-pocket expenses; and
Available coverage varies with the classification of accident injuries and the terms of your policy. For instance, if you purchased additional coverage, you may have more money available via Accident Benefits. For instance, you could receive an increased Income Replacement Benefit (from up to $400 to $600, $800 or even $1000 per week.
While you may have access to Accident Benefits even if you are partially to blame for an accident, you can be barred from certain payouts if you are in violation of the law at the time of the accident. For instance, you may not recover Income Replacement Benefits if you were driving without a valid license.
Other examples of behavior that would bar specific recovery include:
- driving another person’s vehicle without his or her consent;
- driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- refusing to submit to a breath test; and
- having knowingly provided false information in the course of obtaining automotive insurance.
You have the right to appeal a denial of Accident Benefits.
How an At-Fault Accident Can Affect You and Your Coverage
Insurance companies determine who was at fault for an accident based on “fault determination rules.” These rules include common collision types and how an insurance company should assign fault in such cases.
There are long-term, financial consequences to being found partially or completely at fault for an accident. A “fault accident” on your driving record can mean an increase in your insurance premiums.
How Fault Affects Filing a Negligence Lawsuit
Ontario’s insurance laws provide accident victims the right to pursue financial compensation from an at-fault driver. This means you may file a tort claim – otherwise known as a lawsuit – against the driver responsible for your accident. However, this means you also may be sued by another driver or passenger if you were partially or completely at fault for an accident.
Bear in mind, another driver may file a lawsuit against you even if you were not at fault for the accident. Evidence is crucial to your case, no matter if you are the plaintiff or the defendant. Such evidence – and witness testimony – may be used to support your version of events and minimize your liability for the accident.
Take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about liability and your right to insurance payouts during a free case consultation with a personal injury lawyer. Call 1-800-JUSTICE® to schedule your evaluation.