What to Do If You Are Involved in an Accident Overseas - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

What to Do If You Are Involved in an Accident Overseas


The last thing anyone wants or needs is to suffer an injury resulting from a motor vehicle accident. The only thing worse is if it happens when you are travelling in a different country. Whether you are there for business or pleasure, it’s likely to ruin your trip.

Due to complexities in the law of Ontario, there is the added stress and confusion of figuring out how to protect your legal rights, and make sure you get the proper monetary compensation for your injuries when you return home.

The first thing to do is stay calm, and seek medical attention. However, if you are able to stay at the scene, try and gather as much information as possible, including photographs of the vehicles, contact details of any witnesses, insurance policy details of the other drivers, copies of the police report, and your medical records from the hospital or doctor you visit. This information and evidence will be crucial for your lawsuit, and is tougher to get once you are back home.

When you do decide to commence a lawsuit, ‘jurisdiction’ will need to be determined. This means that, with the help of your lawyer, you will have to decide whether to sue in Ontario, or if you will have to sue where the accident occurred.

In the case of Club Resorts Ltd v Van Breda, individuals who lived in Ontario were injured while on vacation on a beach in Cuba as a result of a scuba diving accident. The Supreme Court of Canada used the case to explain when an Ontario court will have jurisdiction over a personal injury case. The court decided that the Plaintiff must show that the litigation is linked to Ontario by one or more “connecting factors”. These factors include:

  1. The defendant (person who caused the accident) is domiciled or resident in Ontario;
  2. The defendant carries on business in Ontario;
  3. The tort (accident) was committed (or occurred) in Ontario; or
  4. A contract connected with the dispute (or accident) was made in Ontario.

There are exceptions, but if at least one of these factors cannot be established, the lawsuit will likely need to be commenced in the place that the accident occurred.

It is important to talk to a lawyer about what your options are, and how to go about suing in a different jurisdiction if necessary, as it can be a complicated process.

Once you decide where to commence your lawsuit, the next important issue is to make sure you get the maximum monetary compensation for your injuries. In many countries, the Defendant’s insurance coverage may be insufficient to pay for all of the damages you suffered. This is because it is common for other countries to issue insurance policies which are ‘capped’, which means the maximum amount you could receive for your injuries is far less than the amount you could receive from a Defendant who is insured by a policy issued in Ontario. Ontario is much stricter than many other places in terms of the minimum coverage required to legally drive.

In these cases, it is sometimes possible to sue your own insurance company in Ontario after you have sued the foreign Defendant, by claiming that the Defendant is ‘underinsured’ under the laws of Ontario. By doing this, you may be able to realize any damages above the cap set by the Defendant’s insurer.

It is extremely important to speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible if an accident occurs abroad. Your lawyer will help you determine your rights, where to sue, and to ensure you take the appropriate steps to get the maximum compensation for your injuries.

Five things you didn’t know about your lawyer:

  1. I’m left handed
  2. I play guitar
  3. Favourite country that I’ve travelled to: Nepal
  4. Favourite food: sushi
  5. Favourite type of movie: science fiction

Leave a Reply


Get the help you deserve


Call NOW for a free consultation


Diamond & Diamond Ontario Head Office

255 Consumers Road, 5th Floor, Toronto, Ontario

>> Learn More

Diamond & Diamond Alberta Head Office

4246 97 Street NW, Unit 103, Edmonton, Alberta

>> Learn More

Diamond & Diamond British Columbia Head Office

1727 West Broadway, Suite 400, Vancouver, British Columbia

>> Learn More


168 Bayfield Street


1331 Macleod Trail SE, Suite 645


2713 14 St SW


600 Crowfoot Crescent NW #240


4246 97 Street NW, Unit 103


256 Pall Mall St, Suite 102

Oakville / Mississauga

2939 Portland Drive, Suite 200


50 Richmond Street E, Unit # 108 B


955 Green Valley Crescent, Unit 315


31 Larch Street, Unit 300


1104 – 13737 96 Ave, Surrey, BC V3V 0C6


255 Consumers Road, 5th Floor


1678 Bloor Street, Suite 302


1727 West Broadway, Suite 400


13158 Tecumseh Rd. E. Unit 3B