Canadians Resuming Travel to United States This Winter - What You Should Know In Case You Are Involved in a Car Accident
As travel restrictions ease up for Canadians travelling to the United States, it is expected that many Canadians will be heading south this winter. Florida remains a popular destination for Ontario residents, and every winter we are called on by individuals and other attorneys for advice regarding the right's of Ontario residents injured in car accidents while travelling in the United States. For our firm, the majority of these cases, involve Ontario residents that are involved a car crash while in sunny Florida.
Here are some important things you should know if you are injured due to a crash in the United States:
1. Your Ontario auto insurance provides coverage for your injuries. Many people think that only their vehicle property damage is covered by their Ontario policy. Actually, you have coverage for your injuries as well. Ontario Accident Benefits provide coverage for things such as medical and rehabilitation expenses. The coverage will depend on the nature and severity of injuries.
2. You will be asked to elect between Ontario first party benefits and those that are available in the jurisdiction where the crash occurred. Choose wisely, as the election is final. Get the advice of a lawyer that handles cross-border accidents to help you make an informed decision. Insurance adjusters are usually not helpful - they often want you to elect the lesser of the benefits so that they save money. Don't make the choice until you have talked to a lawyer.
3. If you are not at fault, you will most likely be entitled to bring an additional claim against the at-fault party for injuries you suffered as a result of the car crash. This claim is almost always covered by insurance.
4. Many US vehicles have insufficient insurance to pay the bodily injury claim. As such, you may need to consider an Ontario underinsured or uninsured motorist claim. A cross-border litigation lawyer can assist you in making this determination.
5. The law that applies to your injury claim for an accident in the United States, and the insurance that responds, is almost always a blend between Ontario and US law.
6. Our law firm has offices in Ontario and the United States and we are experts in cross-border motor vehicle accident cases. We are regularly called upon by attorneys in Canada and the United States to assist with these kinds of cases. We are available 24/7 - so call us anytime to request a Free Consultation.
We hope that you have a great time travelling between Ontario and the United States, and that you never need our services. If, however, you find yourself or a loved one in need of advice regarding a US accident, we are here for you. Call us anytime, or complete our online form to request a free consultation. We can be reached at 1-866-234-6093.
Andrew Iacobelli is an experienced personal injury lawyer who established Iacobelli Law Firm with offices located in Ontario, Canada and Florida, U.S.A. Andrew restricts his practice to the representation of personal injury victims in claims involving serious injuries and wrongful death in Canada and the United States. Andrew is the author of "Are You a Canadian Injured in the United States? Claim the Damages and Insurance Coverage the Right Way".
When a Canadian (Ontario) is involved in a motor vehicle accident in the United States, they still enjoy the benefits provided by Ontario auto insurance. As long as the Ontario resident has an auto insurance policy in Ontario or is otherwise covered under a valid Ontario auto policy, they will enjoy some important protections in the event that they are injured in a car or motorcycle accident while vvisiting the United States. These benefits or protections from the Ontario auto policy will be available even if the accident does not involve their Ontario plated motor vehicle. Whether a driver, passenger or even a pedestrian, an Ontario resident can get accident benefits from their Ontario auto policy.
Usually, the Ontario accident benefits available to accident victims are standardized for all Ontario accident victims. In the case of a car accident injury in the United States, however, the Ontario resident will have a unique option to Elect benefits. The right to elect accident benefits is an option that applies only in the case of an accident that occurs outside of the Province of Ontario. Specifically, Section 59 of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) provides that a person claiming benefits may receive either: Ontario Benefits, or Benefits available in the jurisdiction in which the accident occurred. This ability to choose benefits is an important consideration when Ontario residents are injured in a US accident. Essentially, the Ontario resident will be able to choose the benefits from the jurisdiction that provides the most needed benefits for the person injured.
How do you choose which benefits to elect?
Every jurisdiction has different benefits, so it is important to understand what is available in Ontario and what is available in the place where the accident occurred. Once you an understanding and appreciation of available benefits you can make an informed decision to protect yourself from the losses caused by the accident. Often, Ontario benefits are greater than those available in the United States, but not always. Get informed.
If I Elect Benefits from the United States, do I have to obtain treatment in the US?
The election of benefits has to do with the types of benefits available and the quantum, including the amount of money and how long the benefits are payable by the insurance company. This might include such things as medical and rehabilitation expenses, housekeeping expenses, attendant care, and wage loss replacement. if you elect the US State benefits, the treatment can still occur in Ontario and the claim will be paid by your Ontario insurance company.
Free Consultations with a Cross Border Injury Lawyer
If you were injured in an accident in the United States or if you are a lawyer with questions about Ontario benefits, call Andrew Iacobelli for a free consultation. Andrew Iacobelli is regularly consulted by injury victims and lawyers in Ontario and the United States with respect to legal questions pertaining to cross border accidents. We are happy to speak with you, and we welcome your calls.
Andrew Iacobelli is an experienced personal injury lawyer who established Iacobelli Law Firm with offices located in Ontario, Canada as well as offices in Florida, U.S.A. Andrew restricts his practice to the representation of personal injury victims in claims involving serious injuries and wrongful death.
If a Canadian Is Injured in a Car Accident in the United States, Which Law Applies to Claims Commenced in Canada?
Ontario courts will apply the laws of the State where the accident occurred in determining the available remedies to the plaintiffs (lex loci), but the laws of Ontario would govern the quantification of such remedies (lex fori). A narrow exception to this rule may apply if it would be unjust for the plaintiffs to not have a remedy against the defendant according to the laws of the state where the accident occurred. If this is the case, the lex loci rule would not apply, and an Ontario court would apply the laws of Ontario to determine the available remedies to the plaintiffs as well as the quantification of same.
In Canada, case law generally establishes that substantive issues are governed by the law where the tort occurred or the lex loci, while procedural issues are governed by the law of the forum or the lex fori. This has been expounded in the case of Tolofson v. Jensen. The Supreme Court of Canada held that, generally, the substantive law of the State where the accident/tort occurred will be applied to the case even when the case is litigated in Ontario. However, the procedural rules of Ontario, where the case is proceeding, will govern all procedural steps.
According to the decision in Tolofson, remedies that are available to the plaintiff are not considered to be procedural rules; rather, they affect the existence, extent and enforceability of the rights or duties of the parties, and should thus be characterized as substantive. On the other hand, issues relating to the quantification of the remedies has been held to be procedural and, as such, are governed by the law of the forum in which the action is brought. With that being said, there is a narrow exception to the Tolofson rule. Namely, where the operation of the lex loci rule would result in an injustice, the courts have held that the appropriate law to apply is that which is most connected to the parties, not the lex loci delicti.
In Hanlan et al. v. Sernesky, one of the plaintiffs was injured as a result of a motorcycle accident in Minnesota. That plaintiff sued the driver of the motorcycle in which he was a passenger for damages arising from personal injury, while the other plaintiffs brought claims under Ontario’s Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3 (“Family Law Act”). The Court exercised its discretion to apply Ontario law rather than Minnesota law. In Justice Platana’s reasoning, he noted that there was a connection to this action in both Minnesota and Ontario. However, he found that the only real connection to Minnesota was that the accident took place there. Not only were the parties all residents of Ontario, but the defendant’s motorcycle was registered in Ontario and subject to a motor vehicle liability policy that was issued in Ontario. As a result of the Court concluding that the law of Ontario was to be applied, Ontario’s Family Law Act applied, and the plaintiff’s family was able to pursue compensation pursuant to Ontario’s Family Law Act. In Hanlan, it was held that, in the circumstances, the operation of the lex loci rule would cause an injustice and, as such, the appropriate law to apply was one that is most connected to the parties, not the lex loci delicti.
Sometimes cross-border accident claims will result in remedies both in Canada and the United States. This is particularly common in the case of a Canadian injured in a car or motorcycle accident while visiting the United States. Iacobelli Law Firm has experience with cross-border auto accident cases, and we can assist in determining whether your case will need to proceed in Canada or the United States or both. For a FREE CONSULTATION, call us to learn more about your rights following a cross-border accident.
Lawyer Andrew Iacobelli is admitted to practice law in Ontario, Florida and Michigan, and is called to the Federal District Courts in the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. Andrew has represented many Ontario residents that have been injured in auto and motorcycle accidents in the United States, including accidents in the States of Michigan, New York, Florida, Ohio, West Virginia, Texas, California, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Andrew Iacobelli is also regularly consulted by US attorneys with cross-border injury claims that require coordinating insurance claims in Ontario and the United States.
Canadians travel frequently to the United States to visit friends or family, for vacation and for work. When a Ontario resident is involved in a car accident while visiting the United States, they will often have access to Canadian and US insurance benefits. Quite often, when a Canadian is injured in a car accident in the USA, the claims for losses are primarily paid by a Canadian auto insurance policy.
Fortunately, auto insurance policies issued to drivers and automobile owners in Ontario, provide coverage throughout Canada and the United States. These policies include first-party accident benefits, as well as coverage for liability and underinsured and uninsured motorists.
With respect to the first-party benefits, an Ontario resident will have the option of electing benefits of either Ontario or the State where the accident occurred, in the case of a car accident in the United States. The election cannot be changed, so it is important to understand the difference between Ontario benefits and the place of the accident before making an election of benefits on your accident benefits claim.
Most US states also have lower minimum insurance requirements for their drivers and vehicles. As such, many Canadians from Ontario will also need to consider advancing an Underinsured or, sometimes, Uninsured motorist claim. These claims must be commenced in the Province of Ontario, even though the accident occurred in the United States. Canadian courts have recognized that Ontario residents injured in an accident in the United States have a direct right to commence the Underinsured or Uninsured claim independently of any claim they might also have against the at-fault driver in the United States. See, Somersall v. Friedman, 2002 SCC 59 (CanLII),  3 S.C.R. 109; Johnson v. Wunderlich (1986), 57 O.R. (2d) 600, 1986 CanLII 2618 (ON CA), 1986 CanLII 2618 (C.A.); Forsythe v. Westfall, 2015 ONCA 810.
It is important for Ontario residents to realize that they may need an Ontario car accident injury lawyer, even if they have hired a personal injury lawyer in the United States. Although the U.S. lawyer will be able to advance the claims against the at-fault driver in the United States, they will not likely be familiar with the first-party claims for accident benefits, and underinsured motorists benefits.
Iacobelli Law Firm regularly represents Canadians in their insurance claims following a car accident in the United States. Lawyer Andrew Iacobelli has experience in Ontario and the United States, and is licensed in Ontario, Michigan and Florida, and is a member of trial lawyer organizations in Canada and the United States. We have relationship and a network with many lawyers throughout the United States, giving us the ability to assist Ontario residents with representation in Ontario, and we can also introduce you to lawyers in the U.S. to advance any part of the claim that must be commenced in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred.
If you are a Canadian (Ontario) resident and have been injured in a car accident in the United States, we may be able to assist. We provide FREE CONSULTATION with no obligation to prospective clients. The Consultation is Free, Confidential and without any obligation on your part. Call us any time, day or night, to learn more about your rights or to request a free consultation with a lawyer by calling 1-866-234-6093 or completing our contact form here.
Ontario Canadian Resident Injured in Car Accident in the United States: Insurance Company Asking Me to Choose Between Ontario Accident Benefits and United States
Ontario residents and Canadians travel to the United States frequently for vacations and business. Unfortunately, accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. Many Canadians and Ontario residents are injured each year in car accidents and motorcycle accidents in the United States. A serious car accident is always a stressful and difficult event, and it is even more difficult when a Canadian or Ontario resident is involved in a serious car accident while in the United States.
If you are a Canadian injured in a car accident in the United States, you could be facing expensive medical bills for treatment. Although your Ontario automobile insurance provides benefits for medical and rehabilitation expenses, there are limits to the coverage available. In addition, there are many forms that need to be completed and submitted to your auto insurance company. In addition, your Ontario insurance company will ask you to make a choice between Ontario Statutory Accident Benefits and the benefits that would be available under the State law for the jurisdiction where the accident occurred. If you are an Ontario resident with serious injuries due to an accident in the United States, your choice can have major consequences to the amount of insurance coverage available to you. It is important to have an experienced Ontario personal injury lawyer explain the benefits available under Ontario law before making your selection.
Cross-border claims involving Canadians injured in United States car accidents can be complex.
If you are an Ontario resident, and were injured in a car accident in the United States, there is a chance that the at fault party may be uninsured or underinsured. That is, the other driver's insurance limits may not be sufficient to pay for your claim. Many States have lower minimun insurance requirements for drivers than Ontario. In those situations, you may be able to advance a claim in Ontario, Canada for the uninsured and underinsured benefits that form part of your Ontario motor vehicle insurance policy.
Cross border personal injury cases can be complex and you should not delay in consulting a Ontario personal injury lawyer to make sure your rights are fully protected. Ontario injury lawyer, Andrew Iacobelli, obtained his law degree (cum laude) from Michigan State University and he is licensed to practice law in the province of Ontario and in the State of Michigan and State of Florida. Andrew is also admitted to practice in the United States Federal Courts, and the United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal. Before returning to Ontario, Andrew litigated serious personal injury, wrongful death, and insurance bad faith claims in the United States. Andrew has established a network of legal professionals in the United States with whom he is able to co-ordinate legal proceedings which must be conducted in the United States.
Lawyer Referrals and Affiliations for Canadians Injured in the United States
In personal injury cases where the legal proceedings must be commenced in the United States, our personal injury law firm can refer you to personal injury lawyers in the United States. We have relationships with some of the leading personal injury law firms in the United States. Iacobelli Law Firm will also be able to co-counsel in order to coordinate efforts in Canada.
If you are unsure whether your claim needs to proceed in Ontario or the United States, contact Iacobelli Law Firm to speak with a personal injury lawyer. To request a free consultation with a lawyer call us at 416-900-1070 or 1-866-234-6093 or fill out our contact form here.
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