If you have been injured in a car or motorcycle accident, your biggest concern is getting your life back on track – in both a medical and financial sense. A serious accident resulting in broken bones, a spinal cord injury or a head injury can mean months or even years of medical and rehabilitation treatment. In those instances, a consultation with a personal injury lawyer is an essential step in protecting your rights and ensuring you are accessing all the benefits and services available to you. As well, an experienced personal injury lawyer will ensure all the important deadlines are met.
With more minor accidents, the extent of your injuries may not be immediately obvious and consequently you may not think of consulting a personal injury lawyer right away. In those cases, it is very important to be aware that there are numerous deadlines and limitation periods which affect your ability to claim benefits and/or bring a civil action. A few important timelines include:
- Notice to your own Insurance Company that you intend to make a claim for Accident Benefits – 7 days from the date of the accident
- Completion of the Application for Accident Benefits – 30 days from the date of the accident
- Suing your own Insurance Company for Accident Benefits – within 2 years of the denial of any benefit
- Suing the at fault driver – within 2 years of the date of the accident
What if there isn’t enough Insurance
Another very important deadline arises in circumstances where the insurance held by the at fault driver is not sufficient to cover the damages the injured parties have suffered. For example if your personal injury damages total $300,000 and the other driver only has $200,000 in coverage. In those cases, an injured party has the ability to sue their own Insurance Company for the difference, provided they have purchased OPCF 44 – Family Protection Endorsement . But what if you don’t find out about how much insurance the other driver has until 3 years after the accident? How soon after the accident must you sue your own Insurance Company?
The Ontario Court of Appeal recently considered this issue in its decision Roque v. Pilot Insurance Company. The bottom line is that regardless of when you find out how much insurance the other driver has, you must sue your own Insurance Company under the OPCF-44 within two years of the date you knew or ought to have known that the quantum of your claims exceeded $200,000. This case underscores the importance of speaking with a lawyer who has experience dealing with these underinsured provisions.
Steps to Protect your Personal Injury Claim
An experienced personal injury lawyer will understand the importance of determining the limits and availability of the other driver’s insurance policy early on in the process to ensure that the proper steps are taken to protect your rights. Ferguson Barristers has a team of lawyers with extensive experience, including two Civil Litigation Specialists. If you have been injured in a car or motorcycle accident, contact us at 1-800-563-6348 to arrange a free initial consultation.