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What Does Accident Mean Under Ontario Statutory Benefits?

Fariad v Intact Insurance Company, 2021 ONSC 6965.

By: Weston McArthur (Student-at-Law)

Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Masood Fairad (the Appellant) was an Uber driver in Toronto, ON. On June 10, 2018, The Appellant was out working. A group of passengers called the Appellant’s Uber over to pick them up.

After he picked them up and drove them for a distance, the Appellant got into an argument with his passengers. Things got so heated that the Appellant pulled his vehicle over and demanded that the passengers exit the car. The passengers did as the Appellant requested; however, one of the passengers then hit his car. This caused the Appellant to step on the gas and drive away. According to him, he swerved and hit his knee on the steering wheel, causing an undisclosed injury.

Following this incident, the Appellant made a claim for accident benefits with his insurer, Intact Insurance Company (the Respondent). The Respondent denied this claim, reasoning that the Appellant’s “accident” had not within the definition of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (the Schedule). The Appellant brought this to the License Appeal Tribunal, who found that the Respondent had correctly interpreted the Schedule; the Appellant then appealed the decision of the Tribunal to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

This case turned on the question of whether The Appellant had been involved in an “accident”. Justice Lederer applied a two-part test to determine this.

Firstly, a claimant under the Schedule must “demonstrate that the incident arose out of the use or operation of an automobile” [para 6]. The Court held that The Appellant did not demonstrate this because he was not “ ‘using an automobile for the ordinary and well-known activities to which automobiles are put’ ” [para 6].

Secondly, a claimant under the Schedule must show “that the use or operation of an automobile directly caused the impairment” [para 7]. The Tribunal found that the Appellant did not hit his knee on the steering wheel and had sustained only psychological injuries, and the Court upheld this finding. The psychological injuries arose from the argument with his passengers, not from operation of the vehicle.

Because he had failed the two-part test, the Appellant was denied benefits and ordered that he pay $5,000 in costs to the other party within 30 days.

Link: https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onscdc/doc/2021/2021onsc6965/2021onsc6965.html?searchUrlHash=AAAAAQAPZmFyaWFkIHYgaW50YWN0AAAAAAE&resultIndex=2b

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