Under Ontario law, if you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be able to file a tort claim for recovery of damages your insurance provider doesn’t cover. But before initiating a tort claim, you should know which steps to take and when. Here are some tips for filing a motor vehicle accident tort claim.
WHAT A TORT CLAIM DOES
A tort claim is a lawsuit to recover costs for damages or injuries brought about by a negligent act. Tort claims may cover personal injuries, including physical, emotional or psychological harm, as well as property damage and financial injuries.
Tort claims may cover items not covered under an insurer’s accident benefits coverage. Considerations covered under a tort claim include:
Pain and suffering
Loss of past and future income, loss of competitive advantage, promotion and opportunity, reduction of working career
Medical and caregiver expenses
Loss of housekeeping and home maintenance
Loss of income beyond the amounts covered by the insurer
CLAIM ACCIDENT BENEFITS FIRST
Before filing a tort claim in Ontario, you must first file an accident benefits claim with your insurance company, regardless of who is at fault. If you’re not insured, you can submit a claim to the other driver’s insurance company.
REQUIREMENTS FOR A TORT CLAIM
In some cases, your damages and injuries may exceed insurance coverage, as the full extent may not be immediately detectable, and over time your costs will mount. In Ontario, if you can establish your injuries exceed an established “threshold,” you may move forward with a tort claim.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE
In most cases, you must make a tort claim within two years of the accident date. More urgently, you have 120 days after your accident to serve notice to the defendant driver, outlining the details of your claim. If the action includes a municipal, county, or provincial road authority, you may have only 10 days after the accident to serve notice.
TAKE THE CORRECT STEPS
A legal professional can help you get the most from your accident benefits claim and determine whether you have cause to move ahead with a tort claim. If your insurance claim is denied or is lower than you feel is reasonable, you’ll want someone in your corner to help you take the right action.