Vehicle & Recreational
“My car was hit by another vehicle. Why am I being sued?”
You were stopped at a red light when the car behind you slams into you. The rules of the road, as governed by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s Fault Determination Rules, state that when two vehicles are travelling in the same direction and one vehicle is struck from the rear, like yours was in this situation, the driver of the other vehicle is a 100% at fault.
This means that your insurance company considers you 100% not-at-fault and the claim will not impact your driving or insurance record. Seems fairly straightforward right?
Now fast forward 7 months when you return home to find a letter waiting for you. It’s a statement of claim from the other driver. You read the letter and are shocked to discover that the other driver is suing you. This may seem like a joke but unfortunately it isn’t. Advocate has clients who have experienced this very situation.
The other driver has sought out legal counsel and is suing you. It will be a relief for you to learn that in most instances like this, the insurance company will provide defence coverage, hire a solicitor, and look after this on your behalf. While the statement of claim will likely be dismissed or thrown out by the court if you were indeed not-at-fault for the accident, it does require that legal steps be taken to protect you.
“It’s very upsetting for a client to receive a statement of claim against them but it is especially upsetting when they were not-at-fault for the accident,” says Linda Bradley, Advocate Insurance Group’s Personal Recovery Co-ordinator. “I’m here to offer assistance to our clients and I work with the insurance company to get the client’s defence process started. Unfortunately, because these are formal, legal situations they can take months to get resolved. It gives me pleasure to help clients in these situations so they don’t have to deal with this on their own.”
While this situation isn’t common, there are “innocent” drivers who are being named in statement of claims when the other driver, who was at-fault for the accident, has injuries. The injured party (the plaintiff) has 2 years from the date of the loss to issue a statement of claim and in these instances the plaintiff’s counsel often names all parties.
Were you aware that some defence costs are covered under your auto policy? We encourage you to learn more about your automobile policy. There are many options that you can consider when it comes to coverages, limits of protection and deductibles. It’s important to make educated decisions and prepare a policy that is customized for your specific needs.
Looking for a broker who will take the time to discuss things with you and answer your questions? Our team of professional, licensed brokers are here to serve you.
We’re here to help… Let’s get started!