Supreme Court Bars Civil Lawsuits Against Hospitals and Police in Cases of Car Accident Victims Compensated by the SAAQ
April 13, 2017, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
A recent ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the Quebec Court of Appeal’s decision against two car accident victims in two separate cases. The Supreme Court ruling laid out that a car accident victim who receives compensation from Quebec’s public automobile insurance plan cannot sue third parties for ‘aggravated’ or ‘separate’ aspects of their injuries given there is “plausible, logical and sufficiently close link” between the accident and the subsequent events.
The specific cases considered included the case of Therese Godbout who was seriously hurt in a car accident in 1999. She had both legs amputated at the knees after developing necrosis. Ms. Godbout tried to sue her orthopaedic physicians and the hospital following her operations as they had ‘committed faults in diagnosis and in medical treatment and follow-up’ if the court concludes that defendants erred medically during the patient’s hospitalization following a car accident IF there subsequent/separate injuries were caused by those errors.
However, Godbout had already been compensated by the SSAQ for her injuries under the Quebec public car insurance regime. The Insurance Act of Quebec clearly states that “Compensation under this title stands in lieu of all rights and remedies by reason of bodily injury and no action in that respect shall be admitted before any court of justice.”
The first decision that Ms. Godbout could proceed with her civil suit was overturned at the Quebec Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court of Canada upheld this decision in a divided ruling.
Quebec’s no fault insurance scheme was introduced in 1978 in order to provide compensation to people hurt or killed in car accidents without regard for fault.
Justice Wagner wrote in Godbout that the language of Insurance Act,
“when interpreted in light of the context in which it was enacted, the legislative intent and the principles from Pram and Rossy, ultimately leads to the conclusion that, provided that there is a plausible, logical and sufficiently close link between, on the one hand, the automobile accident and the subsequent events (in the context of these appeals, the fault of a third party) and, on the other hand, the resulting injury, the Act will cover the whole of the injury … Thus, the fact that the injury in question has an ‘aggravated’ or ‘separate’ aspect that can be attributed to events that occurred subsequently to the automobile accident is immaterial: those events will be deemed to be part of the accident, and therefore of the cause of the whole of the injury.”
|Posted under Accident Benefit News, Automobile Accident Benefits, Car Accidents, Paraplegia
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