In a personal injury case, the only remedy is monetary compensation. The court will not order a Defendant to apologize to you or make them your servant until you recover from your injuries, no! The judge or jury will only call them to pay you compensation for your injuries and damages. And a Defendant won’t go to jail or lose their freedom for not being able to deliver a judgment. Insurance lawyers are therefore taught that it is essential that the Defendant they are filing a lawsuit against has deep pockets and the ability to pay out a judgment. In other words, you won’t get any compensation if the Defendant can’t pay the judgment, and they will not suffer any punishment or lose any of their freedoms.
This is why insurance matters in your injury claim. Cases where payment issues arise most include:
- Dog bite/attack claims
- Assault claims
- Auto accident claims
Dog bite/attack claims
There are no legal or financial barriers like insurance requirements/protection to dog ownership. Therefore, a homeless person can also own a dog like a tycoon. The only difference is that while there will be a pocket to recover from when a tycoon’s dog attacks you, there will likely be no pocket to recover a judgment claim from when a homeless person’s dog attacks you.
It is important to note that most dog attack cases are covered by property insurance like home or rental insurance. Without such insurance, there is no coverage; you might be out of luck in getting compensated. Therefore, even if you have a worthy case, winning it is of no monetary value if the Defendant cannot pay the judgment. You may lose money in legal fees.
Keep in mind that no insurance covers criminal activity or an intentional act of violence. This means that you won’t get any insurance payout against a Defendant for injuries suffered during a fight. Also, if you are assaulted by a destitute person, winning your case will be nothing other than a moral victory, as you will not be able to collect any payment from such a person.
Defendants without assets are judgment proof, and trying to collect judgment pay from them is futile. Quite often, personal injury lawyers joke that if you are going to get assaulted, make sure that the person who does the assault is rich. Because how do you collect compensation from a homeless person without any tangible or monetary assets? Even if you win your case, trying to collect compensation from a homeless person is like hoping to collect blood from a stone.
Insurance matters in car accident cases and driving without car insurance is illegal. While a Defendant driver may not go to jail for not having car insurance, it may create coverage issues. The number of factors will determine which insurance company Defendant and Plaintiff have to pay out on the claim. However, as a rule of thumb, the Plaintiff’s car insurer will jump to the defence of the at-fault driver if they have no car insurance. This is odd, but sadly that is how insurance laws are meant to work – fight against their own insured.
What then happens when Plaintiff has no car insurance (say in the case of a pedestrian or a cyclist) and the Defendant driver was operating the car without insurance?
If Plaintiff has no car insurance, and Defendant was driving without car insurance, the Ontario Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund is used to compensate Plaintiff. This is, however, limiting as it is capped at some value. Having car insurance is, therefore, a good idea as it gives you more excellent protection should things go wrong on the road.
Remember that money coming from Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) to a Defendant cannot be garnished for personal injury cases. Even if you get a judgment against a Defendant whose only asset is Ontario Works or ODSP, these payments cannot be garnished for your personal injury case as the Defendant is, for all intents and purposes, judgment-proof.