Now that COVID restrictions have eased, many Canadians have resumed travelling to the United States for vacation and work. Unfortunately, sometimes car accidents can happen while travelling. Although we are most known for helping Canadians injured in Florida, we have actually worked with Ontario residents injured throughout the United States, not just Florida. By nature of the border with Michigan and New York, we see a lot of cases involving Canadians involved in car accidents in these neighboring states. We are proud that many of our cases come to us from US based personal injury attorneys. Many US attorneys involve us early in the the process to assist their injured clients with first-party not fault benefits, and the Under insured Motorist (UIM) claim. Often, we are consulted only after the under insured motorist carrier fails to respond to repeated demands.
With UM and UIM claims in particular, it is important to observe that Ontario auto insurance companies will routinely contest jurisdiction in a US court. We have seen Ontario insurance companies successfully defeat jurisdiction for the UIM claim when an Ontario resident attempts to include their Ontario auto insurer in an action against the at-fault party in the United States. The usual argument from the insurer is that the court lacks jurisdiction because the claim for the underinsured coverage sounds in contract law rather than tort law. As such, it is important for US counsel representing Canadians to pay attention to the statute of limitations on UIM and UM claims and ensure that those claims are preserved in the event that their client needs to bring an action in an Ontario court. The statute of limitations will start to run as soon as a demand is made for payment from the underinsured or uninsured coverage. Ontario auto insurance policies usually have generous underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage. It is common to see coverage in the amount of one million dollars or more. As such, if you are a Canadian injured in the United States, you should consider whether you will need to make a claim for underinsured motorist coverage.
Our Personal Injury lawyers are experienced in cross-border accidents. We offer a FREE Consultation so please feel free to call us at 1-866- 234-6093. We are available to take your call 24/7.
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".
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