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varying type car accidents

What constitutes an “Accident” under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule?

Every person who owns a car in Ontario is required to have a valid motor vehicle insurance policy.  All motor vehicle insurance policies in Ontario provide for Statutory Accident Benefits.  If you are involved in an “accident”, you are entitled to apply to receive accident benefits.  These benefits will provide financial assistance to you in order to obtain treatment, and, depending on the policy provisions, will cover loss of income.

When applying for accident benefits, it is important to understand the varying definitions of the term “accident”. If I were to ask you, “What is an accident?”, the answer may seem fairly self-explanatory.  Most people know, and believe, that an accident is a vehicle on vehicle collision or some other type of collision or incident while you are driving your car.  What most people don’t realize is that there are many different situations that can be classified as “accidents” for the purposes of obtaining accident benefits.  In many of these situations, the car in question is not being driven at the time the accident occurs.

The definition of “accident” under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule is any incident where the use or operation of an automobile directly causes an injury.  There is a large body of cases where the Courts have looked at the types of activities that fall within the definition of “accident”.  It has been held by the Courts that loading and unloading a vehicle is a “use or operation”.  In two of the most recent cases, the Courts have found that spilling hot coffee on yourself at a drive thru and tripping and hitting your head on a parked car are both “use and operation”. Therefore, both of these situations are deemed “accidents” under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule.

The Courts have been clear that there are many activities or incidents involving a car, beyond driving, that could fall under the definition of “accident”. The facts of each situation must be looked at individually.

If you have sustained injuries in any type of incident involving a car, and you require more information about whether you may be able to apply for Statutory Accident Benefits, please contact me directly.  I would be happy to review your situation and provide you with an opinion about whether your situation meets the definition of “accident”.

Teena Belland

Associate with the Personal Injury and Litigation Group

Disclaimer: This article is provided as an information resource. This article should not be relied upon to make decisions and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified legal professional. In all cases, contact your legal professional for advice on any matter referenced in this document before making decisions. Any use of this document does not constitute a lawyer-client relationship. Please note that this information is current only to the date of posting. The law is constantly changing and always evolving.

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