Quebec has a statutory auto insurance policy provided by the government, it is known as SAAQ - Société De L'Assurance automobile du Québec.
All Québecois are covered by Québec's public automobile insurance plan. This plan provides compensation in the event of injury or death as a result of an accident that occurred in Québec or anywhere else in the world.
The plan also covers tourists in Québec on the basis of their share of responsibility in the accident.
A NO-FAULT INSURANCE PLAN
One of the founding principles of Québec's automobile insurance plan is no-fault coverage for everyone, regardless of who is responsible for a given accident.
This means that Quebecois who are involved in a traffic accident in Québec are covered by the plan, regardless of whether or not they are responsible for the accident.
As the no-fault compensation principle does not take responsibility for an accident into account, individuals or companies cannot initiate legal proceedings against the person responsible for a traffic accident.
In short, all Quebecois are covered for injuries sustained in a traffic accident, anywhere in the world, regardless of whether they are responsible for the accident.
IN THE EVENT OF AN ACCIDENT IN QUÉBEC
If you have sustained bodily injuries in a traffic accident, you must contact SAAQ to file a claim for compensation, not the owner of the vehicle who may have caused the accident.
Once a claim has been received and analyzed, you may be entitled to indemnities that will be calculated on the basis of the degree to which you were not responsible for the accident.
It is important to note that the SAAQ insurance plan is based on the “no-fault” principle, which prohibits any court proceedings against another road user, regardless of whether that person was responsible for the accident.
TO FILE A CLAIM FOR COMPENSATION
- In the event of a traffic accident causing bodily injuries
- In the event of a death of a loved one
IF YOU WERE ON BOARD A VEHICLE REGISTERED IN QUÉBEC
During the accident, if you were on board a vehicle registered in Québec, whether as a driver or a passenger, you are considered a resident of Québec under the plan.
As a result, if you have sustained injuries, or in the event of a death, you may be entitled to the same indemnities as any other resident of Québec, regardless of your responsibility for the accident.
As for any other Quebecois, however, certain accidents are not covered. An example would be the case of a snowmobile accident that occurred without involving another moving vehicle that is covered by the plan.
IF YOU WERE ON BOARD A VEHICLE REGISTERED OUTSIDE QUÉBEC, A CYCLIST OR A PEDESTRIAN
If you were on board a vehicle registered outside Québec, a cyclist, or a pedestrian, the indemnities to which you may be entitled are inversely proportional to your degree of responsibility for the traffic accident.
This means that the greater your share of the responsibility, the lower the indemnities to which you could be entitled. If, however, the country or Canadian province in which you reside has entered into an agreement with Québec, this agreement will prevail.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Québec's public automobile insurance plan does not automatically cover all traffic accidents.
Certain accidents are covered by programs offered by government bodies other than the SAAQ, such as the Commission Des Normes, De L’Equité, De La Santé Et De La Sécurité Du Travail if a traffic accident occurs in a workplace context.
Other types of accidents are solely covered by insurance offered by private insurers.
NO COMPENSATION IS PAID FOR BODILY INJURY OR DEATH IN CONNECTION WITH ANY OF THE FOLLOWING SITUATIONS:
- An accident that occurs during an automobile race, competition, show, trial, demonstration, or exhibition on a course or track temporarily or permanently closed to automobile traffic, or inside a building. For example, an automobile crashes through safety barriers during an automobile exhibition and strikes a participant.
- An accident involving a snowmobile or other off-road vehicles, such as an ATV, a recreational off-highway vehicle or a trail bike, or an accident that occurs on a private road involving an equipment vehicle, a trailer or a farm tractor, unless the accident involves a moving vehicle that is covered by the plan.
Note that even though registering an off-road vehicle is mandatory, the vehicle's registration does not entitle the vehicle owner to compensation in the event of an accident, given that the registration fee does not include an insurance contribution.
- An accident that occurs with a motor-assisted bicycle, a motorized mobility aid (such as a wheelchair equipped with a motor, a three- or four-wheeled electric scooter), or a motorized personal mobility device (such as a skateboard, scooter, toy vehicle, golf cart, gyroscopic or self-balancing vehicle, or unicycle), unless the accident involves a moving vehicle that is covered by the plan.
- An accident that occurs during automobile maintenance, repair, or modification. For example, you are working on your car and it falls on top of you.
- An accident caused by equipment that can function independently from the vehicle of which it is a part when that vehicle is stopped elsewhere than a public roadway. For example, an injury caused by a snowplow installed on the front of a truck.
- An accident caused by the independent act of an animal carried in an automobile. For example, your dog bites you.
A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT THAT OCCURS IN THE CONTEXT OF WORK
If the accident took place while you were at work, you must report it to the Commission Des Normes, De L’Equité, De La Santé Et De La Sécurité Du Travail or to the body in your province or country that is responsible for compensating victims of work-related accidents.
A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT RESULTING FROM A CRIMINAL ACT
If your aggressor used a vehicle against you, you may claim compensation from the SAAQ, or the Commission Des Normes, De L’Equité, De La Santé Et De La Sécurité Du Travail, which administers the Crime Victims Compensation Act.
A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT THAT OCCURS WHILE ASSISTING A PERSON IN DISTRESS
If you were involved in a traffic accident while assisting a person in distress, you may claim compensation from the SAAQ, or the Commission Des Normes, De L’Equité, De La Santé Et De La Sécurité Du Travail, which administers the Act to promote good citizenship. Please contact JEWELL RADIMISIS JORGE LLP for a free initial consultation.