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WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS IF YOU’RE INJURED OUT-OF-PROVINCE?

Oct 21 2016

There are several factors that come into play when an out-of-province accident occurs. One of the most important factors to keep in mind is that how a claim is handled will most often depend on existing laws in the jurisdiction where the accident happened.

If, for example, you’re a BC driver going through Ontario when you are hit by another driver who is from Ontario, then local provincial motor vehicle laws will typically determine the eventual outcome of your claim, including how much you may be entitled to, if any, when it comes to damages. If, on the other hand, the other driver was from BC, then it’s possible that you might be able to apply to have your claims dealt with in BC courts although the claim may still need to proceed according to the laws where the accident occurred.

What if the other driver was from outside Canada, say the US or Europe? As a general rule, the same principal still applies, particularly in the US: the claim will usually be decided according to the laws of the jurisdiction where the accident occurred. Internationally, decisions are often dependent upon the availability of payouts and the willingness of both parties to agree to the application of jurisdictional laws. In a foreign country, depending on local laws, suing the other driver may not be an option.

What about third-party liability insurance coverage? This can also vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and from driver to driver. In the US, it’s not uncommon for drivers to have limited third-party liability coverage. (In some cases, there may not be any insurance at all.) Another option is UMP – Underinsured Motorist Protection. It’s available in both Canada and the US however, in some provinces and states, it is not applicable where motor vehicle accident claims have been banned by legislation. UMP also requires that you investigate all other insurance coverage options first, which can sometimes include suing the other party. UMP is typically viewed as a “last resort” when all other possible resources have proven to be inadequate or insufficient.

It’s also important to remember that while BC allows for up to two years for claims to be pursued without court proceedings (often referred to as the limitation period), other jurisdictions may not have similar legislation in place so it’s in your best interests to get this verified. Otherwise, you risk letting your claim lapse with no further recourse.

Sources: Mussio Goodman, Mackesy Smye, FindLaw, Simpson Thomas & Associates

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