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Who pays to have my car fixed after an accident in Ontario?

Many people may be under the impression that they will be fully reimbursed for any damage caused to their car because of an accident, regardless of who is at fault.  After all, don’t we have no-fault insurance in Ontario?  Unfortunately, the answer isn’t that straightforward and indeed, a finding of fault in an accident may leave a driver with a portion of the repair bill to pay.

The OAP1

In Ontario, every insured driver has the same standard Owner’s Policy called the OAP1.  This policy sets out the general terms about when, and how much, your insurance company will pay for property damage to your car.  Essentially, the amount of money you will receive when you are involved in an accident with another insured car in Ontario will depend on three things: who is at fault, your deductible and whether or not you have purchased optional coverages.

The Deductible – Direct Compensation

Assuming the other driver is entirely at fault for the accident, your own insurance company will pay for the cost of the damage to your car minus any deductible under the Direct Compensation section of the policy.  At the time you purchase your automobile insurance, this deductible is set at either $500, $300 or $0.  This deductible will be noted  on your Certificate of Automobile Insurance.  You are not entitled to sue the at-fault driver to recover this deductible – even when they are 100% at fault for the accident!

Fault – Direct Compensation

In many cases, the accident will be partly the fault of each driver.  In those circumstances, the insurance companies will use specified Fault Determination Rules to determine each driver’s percentage of responsibility.  Once that percentage has been determined, the insurance company will pay you the amount of property damage the other driver would have been responsible for (less any deductible).  So, for example, if you were 50% at fault for the accident, your insurance company will pay for half of the property damage (minus 50% of the deductible).  In those cases, unless you have purchased optional coverages, you will be responsible for the remaining damage cost.

If you are 100% responsible for the accident, you will not receive any money to pay for the damage to your car under the Direct Compensation section of the policy.

Optional Loss or Damage Coverages

There are 4 different types of additional coverages, two of which are relevant to our discussion when you as the driver are partially or entirely at fault for an accident.  These are Collision and All Perils coverage and they too are subject to a deductible which is determined when the policy is purchased and will be set out on your Certificate of Automobile Insurance.

In general terms, either of these optional coverages (together with the Direct Compensation coverage) means that you will receive the cost of the damage to your car minus any deductibles (which have been adjusted by the relevant percentage of fault).

Experts in Car Accident Cases

As the above discussion illustrates, car accident litigation is not always as straightforward as one might think.   That is why it is so important for car accident victims to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.  As Ontario’s Injury Lawyers, Ferguson Barristers has the knowledge to ensure your rights are being protected and that all possible avenues for recovery are being advanced.  Contact us today toll free at 1-800-563-6348 or online for a free initial consultation.

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