When you bring a claim against someone or something (like a company) that has caused an injury to you, you must specifically identify the person, persons, or corporation responsible for your injury. And even though you might be suffering from a serious injury, and be upset that you were injured, you might still have some concern about what will happen financially to the person you are suing. You might wonder:
- If I sue someone will that person lose their home?
- Will I cause that person to become bankrupt?
And, perhaps of most concern to you from a financial perspective:
- Will that person or company have enough money to pay me proper compensation?
The good news is that for motor vehicle claims, it is the law in Ontario that everyone owning a car must have insurance for those who are driving the car. This requirement is set out in the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act. So if you are injured in a car crash and feel that you should be entitled to compensation for your pain, income losses, or other expenses, rest assured that in most circumstances, it will be an insurance company that is paying for your claim – not the individual person who actually caused the car crash.
The same reality applies to the majority of claims that people make who are injured as a result of the negligence of businesses. People are often injured as a result of errors committed by businesses or corporations, such as failing to properly clear ice from a property, failing to install adequate handrails on stairways, or failing to maintain driveways and walkways free of potholes and other hazards. And these are not the only ways that people can be injured as a result of the negligence of individuals, businesses or corporations! But no matter how the injury occurred, the majority of businesses and corporations carry liability insurance, so that if someone is injured on their property or in their store, there will be an insurance policy there to compensate the injured person for any negligent acts or errors that caused or contributed to the person’s injury.
Will my insurance premiums go up if I make a claim after being injured?
No! If you are an innocent person who is injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, your insurance company will not increase your premiums. This includes claims for car accidents! If you were not at fault for your car crash, and you did nothing wrong, then there is no basis for your insurance company to raise your premiums just because you were injured in a car crash.
Similarly, if you are injured because you slipped and fell on ice in front of your favourite convenience store, your decision to sue the person or persons responsible for your injury will not cause any of the insurance premiums that you pay to increase.
If my case goes to trial, will the jury hearing my case know that the person who injured me has insurance?
Unfortunately, no. Lawyers and judges are prohibited from informing juries when there is an insurance policy involved that will be paying out the claim being made by the injured person for compensation. So it is important that everyone understand that the majority of claims being made as a result of an injury that occurs while driving a car, or an injury that occurs while people are attending at a business will likely involve an insurance company that will pay out any claims successfully made against the person or business. That is, after all, why all of us have insurance – to provide financial protection to us in the event that we unintentionally injure other people through our acts or failure to act.