Ontario: Overview Of The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund

Article by Gabriel Lessard

A person injured in a motor vehicle collision in Ontario can submit a claim for accident benefits, Ontario’s system of no-fault insurance, and, if the collision is someone else’s fault, can sue the other driver for negligence (a tort claim). In both circumstances, the injured victim will primarily be dealing with insurance companies who are obligated to respond to the claims on behalf of their policyholders.

Sometimes it can be confusing to know whose insurance company is responsible for responding to an injured person’s accident benefits claim or tort claim. In Ontario, all licensed vehicles require insurance, so the majority of car accident victims will have some source of insurance either from their own insurance company or the other driver’s.

Typically, an injured victim will turn to their own car insurance policy for accident benefits (if they have one) and pursue the at-fault driver’s insurance for their tort claim. However, many potential factors can impact which insurance company will respond.

Certain circumstances arise where there is no insurance company to respond to a claim. A common example is a pedestrian or cyclist who is involved in a hit and run or struck by an uninsured vehicle.

In a situation where there is no insurance company to respond to an accident benefits claim or a tort claim, injured parties can turn to the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF). The MVACF was set up by the Ontario Government, as a safety net for victims in need of treatment and compensations for their injuries. The MVACF is considered the payor of last resort, which means that the individual must have exhausted all other potential sources of insurance before the MVACF will consider responding to their claims.

When must the MVACF respond in an Accident Benefits Claim

Section 268 (2) of Ontario’sInsurance Act (R.S.O. 1990, c. I.8) outlines the priority list of insurance companies who must respond to an accident benefits claim before the MVAC. A summary of the priority list for accident benefits claims is:

  1. The insurance company that insures the victim;
  2. The insurance company of the vehicle that the victim was in or was struck by;
  3. Any other vehicle involved in the incident; or
  4. The MVACF

With respect to number 1, it does not matter if the victim was not in their own vehicle when the accident occurred. Furthermore, number 1 may be the priority insurer if the victim is married to, lives with, or is financially dependent on someone with car insurance, even if the victim does not have their own policy.

As the MVACF is last on the list, the victim must exhaust all other options before they can expect the MVACF to respond to their claim for accident benefits.

When must the MVACF respond in a Tort Claim?

If the at-fault party does not have liability insurance, then an injured victim may be able to turn to their own car insurance policy for compensation prior to pursuing MVACF. This is because most car insurance policies have uninsured and underinsured coverage which protect their own insureds (the victim) in circumstances where the at-fault driver’s policy limits are too low to provide the victim with adequate compensation, the at-fault driver does not have valid insurance or the identity of the at-fault driver is unknown.

The MVACF will respond to a tort claim on behalf of the at-fault party if there are no other insurance companies required to respond to the victim’s claim which includes their own insurance company. The maximum amount that the MVACF can pay out in a tort claim is $200,000.

Residency Requirement

Section 25 of theMotor Vehicle Accident Claims Act(R.S.O. 1990, c. M.41) outlines the requirement that an individual must be a resident of Ontario to benefit from the Fund. The act states:

The Minister shall not pay out of the Fund any amount in favour of a person who ordinarily resides in a jurisdiction outside Ontario unless that jurisdiction provides persons who ordinarily reside in Ontario with recourse of a substantially similar character to that provided by this Act.”

This requirement is particularly relevant to tourists travelling in Ontario who have not purchased any car insurance. The exception is that the MVACF may still respond if the jurisdiction where the individual resides (such as another province, state, or country), has a similar system to the MVACF.

Conclusion

Knowing which insurance company is responsible for responding to your claim can be confusing. If you were uninsured or hit by an unidentified driver, you may be able to pursue a claim through the MVACF. It is important to speak with a personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible to help you understand your rights.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Source: Mondaq

Saskatoon files insurance claim after $1.04M lost to fraudster

Excerpreted article was written By Laura Woodward, CTV News

The City of Saskatoon has filed a claim to its insurer in an effort to retrieve the $1.04 million it lost in a fraud scheme, a city spokesperson says.

Police investigators and banking institutions are also working with the city to try and recover the cash.

“The fraudsters are becoming more and more sophisticated all the time,” said Alyson Edwards, a Saskatoon police spokesperson.

Edwards was unable to go into detail about the investigation in finding the city fraudsters, but said officers are working with other victims of scams to draw parallels.

“You want to look at whatever evidence we have, compare it to whatever other cities have experienced and see if there are any similarities.”

The Saskatoon scam is one of the largest municipal scams in Canada,

Recovery ‘not impossible’

At least one IT expert has hope the cash will be recouped.

Jon Coller, the University of Saskatchewan’s chief information security officer, told CTV News it’s not impossible to recover the cash – as long as the money is still in a bank.

“Provided people act fast enough and the money hasn’t moved too far, it is definitely possible to recover,” Coller said.

In August 2017, Edmonton-based MacEwan University lost $11.8 million in an email scam. Officials transferred the funds into an account believed to be a university vender. In April 2018, the university announced it had recovered $10.92 million.

However, city manager Jeff Jorgenson told reporters Thursday that recouping the money would be a challenge.

“There is no guarantee that any of the funds can be recovered or will be recovered.

“What I can say is we’re doing everything we can do recover as much funding as we possibly can.”

Mayor Charlie Clark said he believes there is a chance the funds will be recovered, but for now he hopes the incident can serve as a cautionary example.

A dashcam can offer an ‘unbiased witness’ in traffic-accident disputes

In a video taken through the windshield of Dung Le’s 15-year-old Toyota Echo, an oncoming car breaks the monotony of a wide, nearly empty street on a quiet August morning in a sprawling residential Edmonton neighbourhood.

As it approaches, the car leaves its lane as though turning into a driveway, then straightens and aims head-on at Le’s car. There’s a crashing noise, the dashcam is jolted upward to focus on empty blue sky and a man’s voice is heard saying, “What happened? What happened?”

Le, who is originally from Vietnam, said the footage from his dashcam made it easy when downloaded later on to show exactly what had just happened.

“Lucky I had the dashcam camera when that lady went from the other side into my lane and hit my car. My car is a total writeoff,” the 52-year-old man said in an interview.

“My shoulder and my neck are in pain, sore.”

Dashboard cameras, commonly used in police cars and other emergency vehicles, are increasingly being installed in personal vehicles by motorists who want to bring along an impartial witness when they hit the road.

Camera sales and installations at AutoTemp’s south Calgary vehicle accessories shop are equally split these days between business vehicles and personal cars, said manager Tim Bruce.

“For a category that didn’t exist 10 years ago, it’s becoming more and more popular,” he said.

The units sell for between $200 and $500, he said. Installation, which involves running wires to the camera for power and fixing it in place, takes two to four hours.

Generally, the more expensive units have the most options, Bruce said, including a second camera for the back window, higher resolution picture quality, larger storage cards, GPS for estimating speed and Wifi connectivity so that the video can be downloaded to a cellphone.

The cameras start operating automatically when the car starts and run continuously but some are also activated when the engine is off if they detect motion or an impact, such as when the car is struck by a vandal or another vehicle, he said.

The memory cards are overwritten as they fill, so the owner has to save a file separately if he or she wants to keep it.

Customers buy cameras for old and news cars alike but Bruce said many come in after they’ve been involved in an accident or an insurance dispute where they wish they had dashcam video.

Insurance companies in Canada don’t offer premium discounts for dashcams yet, said Pete Karageorgos, director of consumer and industry relations for Ontario for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, but they might in future if they find the cameras reduce the risk of having to pay out a claim.

“Dashcams may, like GPS devices, be a distraction if they’re not properly used. So there’s that to be aware of and be concerned about,” he pointed out.

“On the other side of the coin, if someone is involved in a crash or they witness something, the good thing about having dashcam video is it really is an impartial and unbiased witness to the events.”

He recalled a case involving a collision on Highway 401 near Toronto where a vehicle stopped and then suddenly backed up and struck a following car. Typically, the driver of the following car would have been assumed to be at fault in what appeared to be a rear-end collision, but the dashcam video proved it was, in fact, a case of attempted fraud.

Le’s dashcam footage will make a huge difference in settling insurance and legal questions related to the case, said Edmonton personal injury lawyer Norm Assiff, who is representing Le.

Without the video, the other driver could claim Le was at fault, he said. An accident reconstruction after the fact might conclude both parties were somehow at fault and split liability.

In either case, his client could be on the hook for damages and face potential insurance rate hikes, Assiff said.

“In an injury case, which is my expertise, there are always two issues,” the lawyer said.

“The first issue is liability, who’s at fault? The second issue is quantum of damages, how much is the case worth, and causation, did the accident cause the injuries?”

From a legal perspective, there’s no privacy issue because the roadway is considered a public place, he said, adding courts typically consider dashcam video to be admissible as evidence.

Protection from dishonesty is the reason Dung Le bought his dashcam for about $69 from an Internet website about five years ago.

A friend of his who had been involved in an accident was confident the other party would be found liable, but a key witness then gave inaccurate testimony that led to the case going against him.

“A dashcam makes a lot more reliable witness,” Le summed up.

Social insurance numbers are stolen by the millions

New SINs ‘will not protect individuals from fraud,’ said government official

Jonathon Gatehouse · CBC News

The one million Canadians who saw their social insurance numbers stolen in the massive Capital One data hack shouldn’t count on Ottawa to help bail them out of trouble with identity thieves.

In 2018, the federal government issued replacement SINs in just 60 cases of fraud and abuse, according to recent testimony before a House of Commons committee.

Elise Boisjoly, an assistant deputy minister with Employment and Social Development Canada, told the Commons standing committee on public safety and national security that her department handed out more than 1.6 million new social insurance numbers last year — but issued only a few dozen replacement numbers because “getting a new social insurance number will not protect individuals from fraud.”

“The former social insurance number continues to exist and is linked to the individual. If a fraudster uses someone else’s former social insurance number and their identity is not fully verified, credit lenders may still ask the victim of fraud to pay the debts,” Boisjoly said during a mid-July hearing on a data breach at the Quebec-based credit union Desjardins, which exposed the personal data of 2.7 million customers, including SINs.

Social insurance numbers are prized by criminals because they can be used to apply for credit under someone else’s name or establish new “synthesized” identities. They also can be sold to create false documentation for illegal workers.

While Boisjoly acknowledged the challenge posed by “ever larger data breaches,” she said issuing replacement numbers to victims might create more problems than it solves, leading to potential errors in the calculation of pensions and benefits and requiring recipients to monitor both the old and new SINs on a “regular and ongoing basis.”

Earlier this week, U.S.-based Capital One Financial Corp. disclosed that a March breach of its cloud storage server exposed the sensitive information of 100 million Americans and six million Canadians — including names, addresses, credit scores and, in some cases, social insurance numbers.

The information was taken from card holder accounts and credit applications dating back as far as 2005. A 33-year-old Seattle software engineer has been charged with computer fraud and abuse after she allegedly boasted of the heist on social media, indicating that she wanted to share the SINs, full names and dates of birth.

It’s just the latest example of a large-scale hack targeting the personal information of consumers.

READ MORE HERE: 

‘Not humanly possible’: Driving instructor allegedly hacked auto insurance computers

CBC News

Insurance investigators raided the home office last month of a Richmond, B.C., driving instructor suspected of hacking the province’s notoriously backlogged wait list for road tests.

According to court documents obtained by CBC News, the man was able to schedule road tests for his students in as little as two days — when the wait for everyone else is as long as three months.

A search warrant obtained for the instructor’s home says his computer’s internet address has been linked to hundreds of suspicious transactions involving the booking of coveted road tests slots for his clients.

“There are a number of transactions that are occurring within seconds or simultaneously to other related transactions,” the search warrant reads.

“This type of activity is not humanly possible and is believed to be being completed by a computer program or ‘BOT.'”

‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’

CBC is not naming the driving instructor because he hasn’t been charged with any offence. His lawyer said he wouldn’t comment at this time.

But according to the search warrant, investigators with the Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC) say they have grounds to believe the man committed fraud by depriving the insurer’s other customers of road test appointments.

The wait time for road tests has spiked since ICBC, the province’s auto insurance provider,  made its tests more challenging in 2016. The insurer has blamed the clogged system on drivers who repeatedly fail.

According to the court documents, the waiting time to book a road test in the Lower Mainland currently ranges between 50 and 90 days. The average wait is 70 days.

As well as the investigation into computer hacking, the search warrant also details a previous investigation that saw ICBC discipline several driving schools for bulk booking appointments.

A handful of schools were caught using licence numbers of old clients to book and hold spots that were later re-allocated to new clients.

The most prolific offender had their licence cancelled.

“I am rather surprised that this has raised its ugly head again,” said Kurtis Strelau, director of training for Young Drivers of Canada, the province’s oldest and largest driving school.

“I guess, where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

READ MORE HERE: 

Judge rules employees can speak to media about human rights abuses; Allstate says it might appeal ruling

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