Does Ontario have no-fault auto insurance? The answer is yes.
If you or a loved one have been in a car accident and you are looking for a personal injury lawyer or would like to know what benefits are available to you, keep on reading.
In Canada, no-fault auto insurance means that anyone impacted or injured by a vehicle, such as a car or a motorcycle, is automatically eligible for no-fault accident benefits. In Ontario, specifically, there are no exceptions to the rule: even pedestrians and cyclists who are in any way injured in a collision by a vehicle are entitled to such benefits.
The question that most people seem to ask is, ‘how does non-fault insurance benefit me?’ To explain briefly, Canada’s no-fault accident benefit system was designed to ensure that persons injured by vehicles can qualify for benefits providing a minimum layer of protection when you are not at fault for a collision you’ve been involved in.
The system is Ontario’s response to long-winded insurance battles back in the ‘80s. Before the no-fault insurance system was put in place, two vehicles involved in an accident would have to determine who was at fault. Then, the at-fault party’s insurance company would have to provide coverage for an injured non-fault party.
Of course, even under the no-fault system, the extent of the benefits will vary depending on the person’s injuries. So it’s safe to say that having no-fault auto insurance in place is a good thing because it gives everyone a fair chance of getting basic benefits quickly in the event of an accident. However, there are certain key considerations to keep in mind.
In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into what having a no-fault insurance system in Ontario means.
What is No-Fault Insurance and How Does it Work in Ontario?
What does no-fault insurance mean, exactly? Ontario has a no-fault car insurance system in place, and the term seems to cause a lot of confusion. First off, it doesn’t mean that no one is held ‘at fault’ in the event of a car accident.
Technically, in a no-fault insurance system, whenever a person is injured in a car accident, they have to deal with their own insurance company, regardless of fault. This means that, unlike in other systems (e.g. British Columbia), you do not have to go after the driver at fault for compensation. You are entitled to benefits under your own insurance policy.
Is no-fault insurance required by law? Yes. The no-fault system is a legal mandate indicating that insurance companies need to provide timely compensation for all policies, within reason.
Under Ontario law, insurance companies still have to assign a certain percentage of the fault to each driver involved.
There are Fault Determination Rules to help guide these percentages, and they are written under the Insurance Act as Regulation 668. These rules help insurers gauge accident claims fairly.
When it comes to passengers involved in a car accident, each passenger with a car insurance policy is advised to approach their own insurance company to claim for benefits. For passengers or pedestrians who do not have their own car insurance, the driver’s insurance company may be responsible to provide coverage for their benefits.
Do insurance rates go up after a no-fault accident in Ontario? Technically, depending on the percentage of fault allotted to each driver’s insurance company, insurance premiums may either go up or stay as-is. For example, if your insurance company determines that you are at fault for an accident, then you’ll need to pay the collision deductible.
Insurance premiums go up depending on the percentage of fault, especially for drivers who have been at fault multiple times. For drivers that are deemed to be not at fault, insurance rates would typically not increase.
How Does an Insurance Company Determine ‘Fault’?
How does fault insurance work? As we’ve discussed briefly, ‘no-fault’ does not literally mean that no driver is held at fault. As such, insurance companies will still investigate fault after a car accident to determine who was responsible for the collision and to what extent. In some cases, both parties are responsible to a certain degree, hence the system of assigning percentages under Canadian Fault Determination Rules.
Under the Insurance Act, there are examples of common types of collisions to help insurance companies determine how fault is assigned in certain scenarios. A driver may then be assigned zero to 100 percent fault in an accident. However, regardless of fault, benefits will be paid for all parties involved.
It’s just that for the at-fault driver, their insurance premium will be adjusted, and they will have to pay the collision deductible.
What Everyone Needs to Know About At-Fault Accident Insurance Increases in Ontario
Here’s the deal: In Ontario, insurance rates are largely based on your driving record and experience. As such, if you’re mostly a safe driver, chances are high that you’ll get good rates.
On the contrary, if you’re found to be at-fault for a car accident, it will be reflected on your driving record and will drive your insurance premium up.
Ontario’s no-fault insurance system guarantees that whether you’re at fault or not, you can rest assured that you won’t face issues while filing a claim with your insurer. This makes recovery easier for everyone injured and eliminates the tedious back-and-forth between insurers refusing to pay the no-fault driver’s benefits.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s always best to consult with a personal injury lawyer first so they can best guide you on the next steps. An experienced lawyer will help ensure that you are able to get your medical bills and other expenses covered and you’re on a pathway to a quick recovery.
Our personal injury lawyers at AvaGio Law are highly competent and experienced and can help guide you through the process while fighting for the best compensation you may be entitled to. If you’d like to schedule a consultation, feel free to get in touch with us.