Carjackings have spiked in recent years, along with auto theft in the cities across Ontario. If you have been involved in a carjacking, your ability to claim compensation may depend on whether the incident qualifies as an accident under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule.
Typically, when we think of accidents, we think of two or more vehicles colliding with one another or single vehicle mishaps as a result of road hazards. The reality though is that accidents can occur in many ways, including in extraordinary circumstances involving thefts, carjackings, and other seemingly intentional, mischievous, or criminal acts. This was the case in Martin v. 2064324 Ontario Inc. (Freeze Night Club) (2013), ONCA 19, where Martin was accosted by two men who viciously assaulted him and drove over his right foot, and fled the scene in his vehicle. He claimed accident benefits from his automobile insurer, Certas. Certas denied that Martin was involved in an accident. In a unanimous decision authored by Madam Justice Cronk, all claims were dismissed against the insurer except for injuries to his right foot. She noted that the assaults inflicted upon Martin constituted intervening acts that cannot reasonably be said to be part of the "ordinary course of things" associated with the use or operation of Martin's automobile. On the other hand, the injury to his right foot was a direct cause of that injury as it involved the operation of the car itself.
This decision provides a good illustration of the factual circumstances that may present difficulties with establishing causation, meaning did the use of a motor vehicle cause your injuries. While consensus has emerged surrounding the legal analysis to be used in such situations, it remains the case that causation is extremely fact-driven.
If you are injured in a carjacking, you should:
- Call the police.
- Call a personal injury lawyer to ensure your rights are protected.
- Keep details of where the incident happened and take pictures.
- Obtain the name of witnesses.
- Collect out-of-pocket expenses.
Several experts have also offered suggestions on lowering the risks associated with carjacking. These include safety measures of locking the car, closing the sunroof and removing valuables, buying anti-theft devices, and installing a tracking system with GPS technology. In addition, authorities have advised people to lock their doors at all times and keep a closer eye on their surroundings, even when entering or exiting vehicles.If you or your family has been involved in a carjacking incident, you may be able to sue for financial compensation. Please contact our team at JEWELL RADIMISIS JORGE LLP for a free initial consultation.