Less insurance coverage may be available to injured accident victims when multiple injured claimants are suing the same at-fault driver

Posted November 23, 2011
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The Ontario Court of Appeal has recently released a decision in Van Bastelaar v. Bentley that affects the insurance coverage available to injured accident victims in circumstances where there are multiple injured claimants suing the same at-fault driver. When situations as these arise, all injured claimants have to share the at-fault driver’s policy limits pro rate (i.e. in proportion to the value of their respective claims). Typically, to make up for the balance between what they ought to receive under the at-fault driver’s policy and what they will ultimately receive as a result of having to share that policy, the injured parties would also advance claims against their own automobile insurance policy (if they had access to such a policy). These claims were made pursuant to the OPCF-44R Endorsement for “inadequately insured motorist” coverage. The Court of Appeal has now said that so long as the at-fault driver’s policy limits are equal or greater to the injured party’s own insurance limits, the injured party cannot make a claim for inadequate insurance. In doing so, the Court does not give any consideration to whether the at-fault driver’s full policy limits are available to the injured claimant. The significance is that less insurance coverage may be available to injured persons in circumstances where there are other people advancing claims arising from the same accident.