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Injured party may have to access liability coverage from own policy for damages

December 05, 2014, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

The Waterloo Region Record reported on a multi vehicle crash that occurred on Highway 401 on Thursday December 4 at 8 a.m.  One person is reported to have suffered serious injuries in the crash that included a transport truck, another truck, a commercial van and an SUV.  The transport truck is reported to have struck the back of the SUV, causing the SUV to leave the road and enter a ditch. The transport truck then proceeded to strike the rear of a van belonging to a courier company, which was pushed into the rear of another truck.  The van was heavily damaged.  The Cambridge Fire Department responded.  They had to extricate the drivers from the van and the SUV who were both hurt in this accident.  It was reported that the driver in the van suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries.  Both the van and the SUV drivers were taken to hospital.  A dog in the van died at the scene.

In multi vehicle accidents it is important to identify the at fault parties as soon as possible.  In many instances there is one vehicle that is the cause of the accident.  Often a car will rear end another car that causes a chain reaction pushing two or three cars into the next car.  Once the at-fault party is identified that it is important to determine what the liability policy limits are for the at-fault party.  In many instances our car insurance policy provides for $1 million in liability coverage.  Where there are multiple parties involved in the accident, those that are hurt in the accident will have claims against that at-fault party.  Depending on circumstances, it is possible that the combined claims for all potential plaintiffs will exceed the amount of liability coverage.  In that case then the injured parties will have to share, on a pro-rata basis, the available liability coverage.  A personal injury lawyer will review the circumstances to determine whether any other party may also be responsible for the accident that has occurred.  This would then bring additional liability coverage into play to cover more of the damages suffered by the injured parties.  If the policy limits are not going to be sufficient, the insurance policy for the party hurt in the accident should also be reviewed.    Every car insurance policy provides a clause whereby the liability coverage that is provide in the insurance policy can be called upon by the injured party if the policy limits of the at-fault party are not sufficient to cover the potential damages.  For example, if the car driver that caused the accident has $1 million in liability coverage and the party hurt in the accident has coverage of $2 million, than the hurt party will put his own insurer on notice about the car accident.  The purpose of the notice is to let the insurer know that there is a possibility that the damages of the injured person is serious and may exceed the $1 million in coverage of the at-fault party.  This is called under insured coverage. There are strict limitation periods and this should be reviewed as soon as possible to ensure the injured party’s insurer is put on notice about the potential claim.  Note that in this example the injured party would be able to make a claim for damages that exceed $1 million but only for an additional $1 million.  The insurance policies do not stack such that there is $3 million available for damages.  The injured party can only claim up to $1 million against their own policy after the at-fault party’s limits have been exhausted.  If both parties had the same liability policy limit of $1 million, then the injured party will not be able to make a claim for damages against their own policy. 

Posted under Personal Injury, Car Accidents, Fractures, Truck Accidents

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About Deutschmann Law

Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

The opinions expressed here, while intended to provide useful information, should not be interpreted as legal recommendations or advice.

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