Ontario Residents Injured in the United States by Underinsured Motorists - Threshold and Deductible Do Not Apply
Ontario residents that are injured in car accidents while visiting the United States, often find that the at-fault driver did not have adequate auto insurance coverage. Fortunately, insured Ontario drivers will usually have a claim for underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage from their own auto insurance policy. This coverage allows an Ontario resident to recover their losses, even where the at-fault driver did not have adequate insurance. The coverage is available no matter if the accident occurs in Canada or while in the United States.
The interesting point here, is that Ontario residents injured in the US often have greater rights than if injured while home in Ontario. Anyone that is injured in an auto accident while in Ontario, will usually be subject to Ontario insurance laws that unfairly protect big insurance company profits at the expense of accident victims. The victim's claim is reduced by nearly $40,000 - a savings to the insurance company - known as the deductible. There is also a threshold that extinguishes many meritorious claims.
In the case of an Ontario resident that is injured in the United States, however, these harsh Ontario laws do not apply. Although the claims will be advanced in Ontario, the law on liability is that of the jurisdiction where the accident occurred. Ontario insurance companies will still be entitled to the protections of Ontario law on damages. In this case, however, the case law in Ontario is well established that the threshold and deductible are liability laws rather than damages laws. As such, Ontario residents injured in a car accident that occurs outside of Ontario will usually have greater rights to fair and adequate recovery than those injured in Ontario. Why? Because Ontario law on liability will not apply and the victim will have the benefit of the law of the province or state where the accident occurred. Although it is possible that the law in the other jurisdiction is also unfair to victims, in our experience with many claims on behalf of Ontario residents injured in the United States, we have never encountered any US State that has laws that disadvantage auto accident victims to the extent of those in Ontario. What does this mean for you if you are injured in the United States by a driver with little or no insurance? Well, provided you are covered under a valid Ontario auto insurance policy, you are probably going to be better off in terms of rights to financial recovery because the accident occurred outside of Ontario.
If you are a Canadian injured in an accident while travelling to the United States, you probably have questions about whether you have claims in Canada as well as the US. You should get the advice of an experienced lawyer before making any decisions. Lawyer Andrew Iacobelli is admitted to practice law in Ontario, Florida and Michigan, and 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. We are also regularly consulted by US attorneys with cross-border injury claims that require coordinating insurance claims in Ontario and the United States. We are happy to review your case, and help you determine the best course of action to maximize your claim recovery. Lawyer Andrew Iacobelli is a admitted to practice law in Ontario, Michigan and Florida and has offices in Ontario and Florida. For a Free Consultation, and to learn more about your rights, call us at your convenience at 416-900-1070 or complete our online contact form here.