Personal Injury

Guide to out-of-province auto insurance coverage

By Rob Lamberti, Contributor

An Ontario motorist injured in a collision outside of the province can sue for damages, says Ottawa personal injury lawyer David Hollingsworth.

“If it’s someone else’s fault and you are hurt and have losses, you can sue in Ontario,” Hollingsworth, principal of Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers, tells

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) clarified liability and out-of-province coverage in a landmark 2012 decision concerning a holiday trip to Cuba. The SCC found there was a real and substantial connection and ruled the suit in this instance was within Ontario jurisdiction.

In a 7-0 ruling, the SCC said that “Jurisdiction must be established primarily on the basis of objective factors that connect the legal situation or the subject matter of the litigation with the forum. Abstract concerns for order, efficiency or fairness in the system are no substitute for connecting factors that give rise to a ‘real and substantial’ connection for the purposes of the law of conflicts.”

The court found that, in a tort, the required “presumptive connecting factors that, prima facie, entitle a court to assume jurisdiction over a dispute” include the defendant living or residing in the province; the defendant carrying on business in the province; the tort was committed in the province; and a contract connected with the dispute was made in the province.

Most vehicle insurance policies have provisions for out-of-province coverage for motorists or someone considered to be an insured person, reports the Toronto Star. The no-fault provisions of the policy have a fixed list of benefits, which include income replacement, medical and rehabilitation benefits, attendant care benefits, and death and funeral benefits, the article states, noting there are other reimbursements possible, including home and housekeeping expenses.

There is uninsured coverage as well — an insured Ontario motorist is protected up to the limits provided in no-fault if they are involved with another motorist who is not insured, the Star reports.

The Family Protection Endorsement is included in most policies — but check to make sure — and offers coverage for family members injured in a collision, says Hollingsworth.

Seeking legal advice would be helpful to navigate the legal maze in determining jurisdictions, as each case is unique, he says. For example, it may be a good idea for an Ontario resident involved in an accident in Quebec to reach out to an Ontario lawyer, Hollingsworth says.

“Depending on the case, the amount of financial benefits may be higher than if you were to file it through the Ontario insurance regime,” he says.

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