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Motor Vehicle Accidents

Insurance liability in car sharing accidents.

Car accidents happen frequently and the aftermath can be complex to navigate, especially when car sharing vehicles are part of the equation.

Accident involving a car share vehicle in Halifax

Car sharing apps like Communauto are increasing in growth and popularity for several reasons, be it convenience, cost effectiveness, environmental impact, flexibility, or practicality. In fact, Communatuo grew from having 100 cars in 2020 to 170 cars in 2023. This rapid growth in the rise of car sharing automobiles on the road raises personal injury questions—what happens from an insurance perspective if you get injured while operating a vehicle through no fault of your own? What happens if you are struck by a car sharing vehicle while you are driving or walking?

If you are injured in an accident, it is first advisable to seek medical attention, if needed. Notify the other driver and report the incident to the car sharing company, making sure to document the scene, your injuries, and damages that occurred, collecting names and contact information of any witnesses. Ensure that you keep track of medical treatments and doctor visits, as well as communications and expenses relating to the accident as you may need this documentation for your claim.

Car accidents happen frequently and the aftermath can be complex to navigate, especially when car sharing vehicles are part of the equation. Although car sharing companies generally carry third-party liability insurance that covers damages to another person, vehicle, or property if their driver is at fault, the specifics of coverage can vary and it is important to understand how the policies work in your city or Province. Insurance coverage in the case of accidents can also vary and may include medical expenses, lost earnings, and other damages. However, the specifics depend on the company’s particular policy.

For example, when an authorized driver operates a Communauto vehicle, he or she is covered by a third party liability insurance policy and subject to all its terms, conditions, and exclusions. This coverage is $2 million for vehicles based in Canadian provinces, other than in Quebec, where third-party liability coverage is $5 million. This third party liability insurance will provide you with financial protection if you are found to be responsible for an accident resulting in personal injury. Authorized drivers are also covered by collision insurance, although they may be responsible for paying the Damage Fee corresponding with the Damage Protection Plan option selected. In Canada, the Damage Fee is billed regardless of whether the driver is at fault or not.

But what if you are not at fault? If another driver causes the accident, the specific insurance claim process can depend on the circumstances of the accident, including who is at fault. There are a couple way you can approach this:

  1. Third-Party’s Insurance: If a third party driver is at fault, an injured party should make a claim against that driver’s insurance for any injuries or damages caused by their negligence.
  2. Your Own Insurance: Depending on the coverage you have, you might also consider making a claim under your own insurance policies, if relevant.
  3. Car Sharing Company’s Insurance: If the third-party at fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, you would generally make a claim against the car sharing company’s insurance. Car sharing companies typically have a policy that covers uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

If you are struck by a car sharing vehicle as a motorist or pedestrian, proceed like it’s a regular crash. Promptly notify the car sharing company at issue about the incident and contact your insurance company about the accident. Your insurance company will be able to provide guidance on how to proceed with any claims and may help handle claims with the car sharing company’s insurance or the at fault driver’s insurance.

Given the complexities of insurance claims in car sharing accidents, particularly determining who is legally at fault and which insurance policy applies, it is advisable to consult with a legal professional who specializes in these cases. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide you with advice on any local laws that apply to car sharing services and how to proceed with making an insurance claim, and ensure that your rights are fully protected.

If you are injured in an accident involving a car sharing vehicle, MacGillivray Law can offer advice specific to your situation and help get compensation for any injuries you sustained.

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MacGillivray Law is a personal injury law firm with offices in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. We serve clients all across Canada.

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