Alix Digout – November 2019
One of the first things people do after being in a motor vehicle collision is call their insurer. If you are involved in motor vehicle collision, you may have up to three different types of claims arising from the one incident. However, it can quickly become overwhelming and confusing when dealing with multiple insurance companies/adjusters regarding different claims and sections of the motor vehicle policy. The following is a brief breakdown of the ABCDs of motor vehicle insurance:
Section A – Personal Injury Claim (Third Party Liability):
If you are injured in a motor vehicle collision as a result of another individual’s negligence, you can seek compensation for your injuries and resulting damages through a personal injury or bodily injury claim. This claim is brought against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. Personal injury claims typically include the following types of damages:
- General damages for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life;
- Past loss of income;
- Future loss of income;
- Diminished earning capacity;
- Loss of housekeeping ability;
- Past and future medical expenses; and
- Special damages (out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of being in the collision).
You are not obligated to speak to the Section A adjuster. In fact, providing information to the Section A adjuster without obtaining legal advice could negatively impact the value of your claim. Once you retain a lawyer, the adjuster or lawyer for the Section A insurer should not attempt to contact you – all communication will flow between your lawyer and Section A.
Section B – No-fault Accident Benefits Claim:
Anyone injured in a motor vehicle collision is entitled to no-fault accident benefits through Section B of their own motor vehicle insurance policy. Section B benefits can be accessed regardless of whether you are at fault for causing the collision, with some exceptions. Exceptions to Section B entitlement include drunk driving or driving without the vehicle owner’s permission.
If you are injured in a collision as a pedestrian or cyclist, you can access Section B benefits through the at-fault driver’s policy.
Section B benefits include (subject to certain eligibility requirements):
- Reimbursement for reasonable and necessary medical expenses incurred within four years from the date of the collision (up to a maximum of $50,000);
- Weekly income loss payments (up to a maximum of $250 per week);
- Weekly compensation for homemakers; and
- Funeral expenses, grief counselling and benefits if a family member is killed in a motor vehicle collision.
Individuals are encouraged to work directly with their Section B adjuster to ensure they are accessing necessary benefits.
Section C – Property Damage:
Section C deals with property damage. If your vehicle is damaged as a result of a collision, you may have the right to make a claim for the cost of the repairs or for the actual cash value of your vehicle if it is damaged beyond repair. You are also entitled to claim for damage to items that were in the vehicle at the time of the collision, provided they are not considered commercial goods.
Much like Section B, you should deal directly with the Section C adjuster to arrange for vehicle repairs, rentals or payments. Most often, Section C property damage claims are dealt with by the time an individual retains a lawyer to deal with their personal injury claim.
Section D – Uninsured and Unidentified Motorists:
Section D of your own motor vehicle insurance policy will respond to a claim for personal injury if it arises from a collision with an unidentified (e.g. hit and run driver) or uninsured motorist. In this case, Section D takes on the role of Section A. As such, you should not speak to the Section D adjuster before seeking legal advice or retaining a lawyer. Unlike a Section A personal injury claim, your insurer under Section D of the policy can bring an action for recovery against the at-fault driver personally (if identified) once your personal injury claim is resolved.
Reminder: if you receive a call from an insurance adjuster after you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision, best practice is to ask them to confirm which claim they are dealing with before providing any information.