Understanding the Auto Accident Claims Process in Ontario - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

Understanding the Auto Accident Claims Process in Ontario


The shock caused by breaking glass and twisting metal as two motor vehicles collide can make it difficult to think clearly and make decisions. If there are injuries or property damage, a claim must be filed with your insurance company. Here are some tips to help you through the auto accident claims process following your Ontario accident.

Hire a lawyer

If you have suffered injuries, you should focus your attention on getting medical treatment right away. Only after you have been examined by a physician should you turn your attention to the claims process by hiring a lawyer to represent and advise you.

Report the accident to your insurance company

Your report of the accident must be made to your insurance company within seven days of the accident to protect your rights under the terms of your policy. Failure to make a timely report of an accident involving property damage or injuries could allow the company to refuse to honour the claim under the terms of the policy.

Review the terms of your policy

Your Ontario Automobile Policy is a contract between you and your insurance company. Your rights, obligations and coverages are all contained in your policy, but few people take the time to go over it to understand what is expected of them and what they can expect from their insurance company. If you are unsure about anything contained in the policy, ask your lawyer.

Beginning the claims process

Notification of an accident starts the claims process with your insurance company and results in the assignment of your file to a claims adjuster. The adjuster will contact you and set up an in person interview or, in most cases, the interview takes place over the phone. The adjuster might record the conversation or ask you to complete a Proof of Loss form to support the claim.

Investigation and the assessment of fault

At some point in the claims process, the claims adjuster assigned to handle your file must make an assessment of fault as between the vehicles involved in the accident. This is accomplished through application of a set of fault determination rules contained in the Insurance Act to the facts and circumstances of the accident as revealed through the investigation.

The degree to which you are found to be at fault can affect the amount you receive in settlement of your claim and it can also result in an increase in your insurance premiums if you are more than 25 percent at fault. The amount you get from the insurance company in payment of your claim is reduced by your percentage of fault.

Accident benefits payable under your policy

If you are injured in an auto accident, you might also be entitled to accident benefits under your insurance policy. You can obtain the application and supporting forms from your claims adjuster or by downloading them online.

There is an appeals process you can make use of in the event you disagree with your insurance company’s decision about the accident benefits to which you are entitled. You can obtain assistance from the Automobile Accident Benefits Service in resolving disputes with your insurer in Ontario. The AABS process includes case conferences, hearings with an independent adjudicator and other procedures to resolve disputes and reach a settlement.

Getting help with the auto accident claims process

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have experience handling all types of personal injury. Contact our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now about your right to compensation. Consultations are free, and we have offices conveniently located throughout Ontario.

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