Liability and Direct Compensation with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Scarborough

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One of the key concerns for any prosecutor, be they a personal injury lawyer in Scarborough or a Toronto personal injury lawyer, is liability. Especially under Ontario’s automobile insurance system, in which liability plays a crucial role in establishing the amount of compensation that you receive after an accident, a good personal injury lawyer in Scarborough who can justify the extent of your liability is essential. But how, exactly, does liability protection work in Ontario? And how can a personal injury lawyer in Scarborough get you the compensation you need?


Legal Liability


Before discussing liability protection, we need to know for what you are liable. In the context of car accidents in Ontario, liability refers to financial responsibility for any personal injury and/or property damage as a result of the accident. You do not, however, automatically assume any legal liability simply by having been in a motor vehicle accident, even if it’s a serious motor vehicle accident. The driver or owner (depending on the circumstances) of the vehicle is only legally liable if a) they intentionally caused the accident or b) they are considered negligent to some degree.


How Property Damage Differs


Tort law, generally, allows a third party to sue you or your insurer to recover for their damages. Likewise, you would expect to be able to sue a third party if their actions caused you personal injury or property damage. While this is more or less the case when suing for personal injury, Ontario’s direct compensation—property damage (DCPD) changes the complexion of such a suit when it comes to property damage in particular.




In 1990, Ontario instituted a direct compensation system for recovering and remunerating property damage after a car accident. Under DCPD, rather than sue the third party liable for the damages to your property, your own insurer is responsible for recovering your damages as if you were a third party suing them. Remember, though, that DCPD is not a true no-fault regulation; your insurer will only remunerate you for the percentage at which you are found not at fault according to the Fault Determination Rules. Ontario’s Fault Determination Rules outline dozens of specific car accident scenarios and assign fault percentages to each of the vehicles involved. For example, if a car pulls out of a driveway and causes a second car already on the road to collide, the first car is 100 percent at fault and the second car is zero per cent at fault. Depending on the scenario, those percentages could be 50 – 50, 75 – 25, etc. So, if you are 50 per cent at fault in your accident, your insurer will only pay for half of the property damage.


Considering that the Fault Determination Rules can only contain so many scenarios, and that those rules apply regardless of any external hazards such as inclement weather, you may find that the property damage recovery you receive is unfair and inadequate. Especially if you’ve also sustained a serious personal injury, having to pay out of pocket for property damage can literally add insult to injury. Fortunately, you are allowed to bring a suit against your insurer for property damage, and a personal injury lawyer in Scarborough is well equipped to let you do just that.