WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TORTS AND ACCIDENT BENEFITS? (January 7, 2020)

Torts are wrongs that have been committed against you by another party, that is actionable, or for which you can commence an action against the wrong-doing party.

In Ontario, every personal injury tort case must pass a two-part test of liability and damages in order to be successful in settling a tort claim or lawsuit.

There are several types of torts that you should be aware of that defines, and is at the core of Canadian personal injury law. These include, but is not limited to: motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, occupier’s liability, dog bites, and assaults. Tort law in Canada is continuously evolving and is shaped by case law and statutes that ultimately results in new torts.

In contrast to torts, Accident Benefits arises out of the need to compensate an injured party of a motor vehicle accident for pain and suffering they experience as a result of the accident. The most common way to attain compensation is by commencing a lawsuit against the other driver’s insurance company. First and foremost, in order to start a claim, the injured party must prove two things: that the other party is liable and caused the accident, and secondly, demonstrate damages; that the injuries they sustained is serious and permanent.

Tort law is relatively simpler than the law of accident benefits claims. However, Accident benefits law differs from the law of tort in four key ways:

  1. It does not matter who is liable. Either party of an accident may claim for accident benefits, whether or not they are at fault.
  2. One usually commences an action or makes a claim through their own insurance company, instead of to the other driver’s insurance company.
  3. Accidents benefits are governed by the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS), which is a regulation under the Insurance Act that sets out very strict guidelines and requirements for commencing and maintaining a claim.
  4. Accident benefits are made to aid the injured party with immediate treatment and compensation post-accident.

Overall, while it may be easy for some legal professionals to forge their way through tort claims, it is not the same with accident benefits. It is why it is best to have a legal professional who has a strong knowledge of the statutory regulations that pertains to accident benefits and know how to apply them to your individual case, to give you the best possible outcome. If you are interested in starting a tort claim, we would love to assist you. You may contact Arkadiusz J. Empel at our office at 416-500-1937 to get started and/or  find out more information.