It is mandatory for Ontario, Canada auto insurance policies to include no-fault benefits coverage. In Ontario, this is referred to as Statutory Accident Benefits. In the United States, this first-party coverage is sometimes referred to as PIP and/or Med-Pay. Ontario auto insurance policies provide coverage for medical expenses, attendant care and, in some circumstances, housekeeping expenses. Ontario's no-fault coverage is available when a Canadian resident is injured in a motor vehicle crash while in their home province, or while travelling abroad. This coverage is particularly important for Canadians injured while traveling in the United States, because of the high cost of US emergency medical care.
It is important to be aware that there are specific forms and notice requirements in order to obtain no-fault benefits from your Ontario auto insurance policy. If the accident occurred in the United States, you will have to elect between Ontario benefits and those available in the US State where the crash occurred. This is an extremely important decision, which should not be taken lightly. The choice is final, and can have major consequences. Many US states have modest standard no-fault benefits or none at all. Depending on the nature and severity of the injuries, Ontario's benefits can be as high as $1 million dollars for medical treatment and attendant care, in addition to income replacement benefits and housekeeping benefits. A more modest injury, would provide for $65,000 in medical and rehabilitation coverage in addition to income loss coverage. The point is, the facts of the particular situation are important and a lawyer should carefully consider benefits available under the laws of each jurisdiction before making an election.
In Ontario, Canada, there is no right to bring a civil lawsuit for disputes with the insurance company over no-fault accident benefits. Instead, these disputes are within the jurisdiction of a tribunal. This is an important distinction, particularly where the crash happened in the United States. That is, if you already have a lawyer in the State where the crash occurred, they will likely not be able to advance your no-fault case.
Finally, for Canadians injured in the United States, there is also available UM coverage in Ontario auto policies. This means, coverage for underinsured motorists that cause the accident. If you are a Canadian injured in a motor vehicle crash in the United States, then you need to be concerned about UM coverage. Most Ontario auto policies provide coverage of $1 million or more where you are injured due to the negligence of an underinsured driver. These claims are contractual in nature, and must be filed in Ontario for Ontario auto insurance policies. That means, you might have to have two lawsuits proceeding at the same time - one in the US State and the other in Ontario. There are deadlines to bringing a UM claim. If you have information that the at-fault driver is underinsured, call me or ask your US attorney to reach out. I have worked with attorneys accross the US to help Canadians obtain all of the compensation they are entitled to both in the US and in Canada.
Experienced Lawyer for Ontario and US Car Accident Claims
Andrew Iacobelli is an experienced personal injury lawyer who established Iacobelli Law Firm with offices located in Ontario, Canada and Florida, U.S.A. Andrew restricts his practice to the representation of personal injury victims in claims involving serious injuries and wrongful death in Canada and the United States. Andrew is the author of "Are You a Canadian Injured in the United States? Claim the Damages and Insurance Coverage the Right Way".
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Andrew Iacobelli is a lawyer, licensed to practice law in Florida, Michigan and Ontario. Andrew restricts his practice to the representation of individuals that have been seriously injured.