Are Injuries Involving Parked Vehicles Covered by No-Fault Accident Benefit Insurance?

Published on June 5, 2017

In Ottawa and across Ontario, people injured in automobile accidents are entitled to no-fault insurance benefits, regardless of who was at fault. A question that frequently comes up an injury case is whether the injury arose from an automobile “accident”?

This issue was recently tackled by the Ontario Court of Appeal in Economical Mutual Insurance Company v. Caughy, 2016 ONCA 226

In this case, Ms. Caughy was camping with his family. After dark, two other patrons staying at the campground parked their motorcycles near the plaintiff’s trailer within a designated walkway. Mr. Caughy was not aware that the motorcycles were parked there. Not long after, Mr. Caughy was playing tag with his children. Thinking the walkway was clear, he tripped and fell on one of the motorcycles and fell head first into a trailer; sustaining serious spinal cord injuries.

Mr. Caughy claimed no fault Statutory Accident Benefits from his insurance company, but the insurer refused to pay. The insurance company denied the claim by taking the position that Mr. Caughy was not involved in an automobile “accident”.

The Court of Appeal held that parking of the motorcycle not only led to Mr. Caughy’s injuries, but directly contributed to and/or caused them. Because there was an unbroken chain of causation linking the conduct of the motorcycle operator and Mr. Caughy’s injuries, it was concluded that Mr. Caughy was involved in an automobile accident.  As a result, Mr. Caughy was entitled to no-fault accident benefits.

If you have been injured in an accident involving a car, truck or motorcycle, you should always consult with a lawyer to determine if you may be entitled no-fault accident benefits. From the Caughy case we see that just because the insurance company denies your claim, this doesn’t mean that you have to give up. You may still be able to successfully claim your benefits.