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In October of 2019, the Court of Appeal released its decision in Benson v. Belair Insurance Company Inc. This was two appeals heard together involving different parties and accidents but with a common issue.

Both cases involved Ontario residents who were operating off-road vehicles (an ATV and a dirt bike) outside of the Province of Ontario. Both individuals sustained catastrophic injuries as a result of an accident.

The question on the appeal was whether or not the definition of “automobile” as the term is defined under Ontario law would apply where the accidents occurred outside the Province of Ontario. Neither the ATV nor the dirt bike were required to be insured in B.C. or Georgia (the locations where the two accidents happened).

If the Off-Road Vehicles Act, which in Ontario requires ATV’s and dirt bikes to be insured, did not apply in these situations, neither Plaintiff would be entitled to access the Statutory Accident Benefits available in Ontario to an insured persons injured in an automobile accident.

The Court of Appeal held that Ontario Law governed these two situations. The Court of Appeal reasoned that this interpretation was consistent with the wording of the SABS which states that “insured persons” are named insured involved in accidents inside or outside Ontario with the insured automobile or another automobile. Coverage should not depend on the automobile being a listed vehicle under an auto policy.

If you have had an accident, outside of Ontario involving an off-road vehicle, please contact me to discuss whether you may be entitled to receive Statutory Accident Benefits.

Teena Belland

Associate – Personal Injury and Litigation Law Groups

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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