Car insurance is expensive and complicated. It’s the last thing people think about when purchasing a new vehicle. It’s also the last thing which personal injury lawyers want to write about, and explain to people. I’m asked all the time, why it’s necessary to have car insurance if you don’t plan in getting to a car accident. Well, nobody plans to get in a car accident, unless you’re a fraudster who stages car accidents in Toronto; drive Monster Truck or your name is Evel Knievel.
For starters, having car insurance is the law in Ontario. If you drive a car, truck, van or motorcycle, the Insurance Act requires that you have a valid policy of car insurance. If you’re driving a car or motorized vehicle without a valid policy of car insurance, then you’re breaking the law and putting yourself at enormus risk. If you’re driving with a policy of car insurance which has expired, then you’re driving with no insurance.
How can you tell if your policy of car insurance has expired? That’s easy. In Ontario, drivers are given little pink slips from their car insurance company. These pink slips contain valuable information like the name of the insured party, the policy number, the name and contact information of the insurer, the telephone number to contact to report a car accident or personal injury claim in Toronto, along with the start date and expiry date of the car insurance policy. Once your policy expires, it’s your responsibility to renew the policy. The biggest mistake that motorists make aside from drunk driving, or driving carelessly, is failing to check whether or not they are driving with an expired policy of insurance.
If you think that car insurance companies will magically send you a new car insurance policy to renew, think again. Some insurers are good at renewals, others aren’t. Some policies gets lost in the cracks. Other times, you throw out mail from the insurer with renewal or payment instructions to renew your policy; so be careful. If you were on a direct deposit plan or Visa payment plan for your car insurance and you changed bank accounts or financial institutions? It’s likely the insurance company won’t be able to draw money from you account for payment for your car insurance. The result? You might not be insured.
So, you’re driving along, unknowingly without car insurance, minding your own business, when some idiot makes an late left hand turn on a yellow/red and hits your car. Bang. Car accident. Nothing seems too serious. You’re ok, thank goodness. It took the other driver a while to get out of her car, but she seems ok. You think it was the other driver’s fault, but she seems to think it was your fault. The police arrive at the scene despite the fact that neither of you called them. It must have been a witness to the car accident or a bystander. You guys are afterall blocking a busy intersection. The police ask you and the other driver all sorts of questions about how the accident happened. They end up charging the other driving with making an improper left hand turn. Phew. That’s a relief. But, they also charge you with failing to drive with insurance. That sucks, but you think it’s nothing too serious. You can pay the fine and suck up the points.
Months go by and you get a letter from Goldfinger Personal Injury Law in the mail. It’s not a Christmas card. It’s a letter saying that you’re being sued as a result of the accident. Turns out the other driver’s back stiffened up pretty bad after the accident, and she now has a herniated disk as a result of the car accident. It also turns out that the other driver hired a company to get the improper left hand turn charges dropped. The letter asks that you forward the letter to your car insurance company. Too bad, you don’t have one. So what do you do now? A few more months go by and you get served with a Statement of Claim. This means you’re being sued. Because you didn’t have any car insurance, now you have to pay a lawyer to defend the claim out of your own pocket. Even worse, if you don’t defend the claim, you’ll get noted in default and we can get a judment against you; seize your assets, garnish your wages, put a lien on your home. It’s not too pretty. Worse still, you get another letter from the Plaintiff’s own car insurance company advising that they are claiming a subrogated interest against you personally should they be required to pay anything out for the claim. This is getting messy. Now you have to worry about two parties claiming against you.
The good news. If you’re unemployed, don’t have two dimes to rub together, and have no assets, these parties can’t get blood from a stone. The bad news: if you have a paying job, a house (even if it’s mortgaged), a car, or anything of any value, there’s a chance you can kiss those things goodbye after the lawsuit. There’s also a good chance that may have to declare bankruptcy to get a new start on your credit or rebuild your financial profile once all these lawyers are done with you. When you call, ask for Richie. Tell him you know Brian Goldfinger. He will help you out.
This entry didn’t even touch the limitation on your own individual accident benefits should get hurt in a car accident while driving without insurance. There are serious limitations what benefits you can claim, and how much of those benefits you can claim if you’re driving without car insurance. But, if you want answers to these questions and more, you will have to contact the personal injury lawyers of Goldfinger Personal Injury Law.