You can sue to recover damages if you are injured in an accident involving an off-road vehicle. This is because you can recover damages for all accidents involving an “automobile,” and off-road vehicles meet this definition.
At MacGillivray Law, we help clients that have been injured in accidents involving any type of vehicle.
What is an automobile?
In addition to standard vehicles, such as cars or trucks, “automobile” includes ATVs, snowmobiles, boats, construction vehicles, and golf carts. The definition of automobile also includes trolley buses, self-propelled vehicles, and any equipment attached to them. It does not include railway vehicles that run on rails, watercraft, or aircraft.
If your off-road vehicle is considered an automobile for insurance purposes, you must respect the provisions of the Insurance Act of your province. For example, you may need to obtain the minimum prescribed amount of insurance coverage.
Is a snowmobile/ski-doo an automobile?
Yes, a snowmobile is an automobile. In Hetherington v. Personal Insurance Co., 1999 Carswell NB 592, the New Brunswick Court of King’s Bench ruled that a snowmobile qualifies as an “automobile” under the Insurance Act of New Brunswick because it is a “self-propelled vehicle”. This same conclusion was drawn in Newfoundland and Labrador courts as well.
Can I sue if I was involved in a snowmobile/ski-doo accident?
Yes, you can sue the negligent party if you have been injured while riding a snowmobile.
In Parrill v. Genge, 1991 CanLII 14696 (NL CA), a snowmobiler was travelling on the shoulder of a highway and collided with a car. In determining fault, the judge attributed 75% of the fault to the snowmobiler, because the main cause of the accident was the operator’s negligent operation of the snowmobile.
If you’ve been injured in a snowmobile accident, book a free consultation to learn your legal options.
Is an ATV an automobile?
Yes. Courts across the Atlantic Canadian provinces and Ontario have agreed that “automobile” includes ATVs.
For example, in Theriault v. General Accident Assurance Company of Canada, 1990 CanLII 11415 (NB CA), the New Brunswick Court of Appeal held that an ATV is an automobile. In this case, an ATV was improperly operated on a highway and caused the driver of another vehicle to lose control. Ms. Theriault was a passenger in the car that went out of control and suffered injuries. At trial, she argued that the uninsured motorist coverage applied to her because the accident arose out of the operation of an uninsured automobile (the ATV). The trial judge and the Court of Appeal agreed, applying the definition of “automobile” from the Insurance Act to the ATV. Courts in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario have also found that ATVs are “automobiles.”
Can I sue if I was involved in an ATV accident?
Yes, you can sue the negligent party if you’ve been injured in an ATV accident, because ATVs are automobiles for insurance purposes. Therefore, ATV owners in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, PEI and Ontario must purchase insurance coverage for their ATV. This will protect them against any lawsuit that may arise against them. This coverage is not mandatory by law in PEI. If you’ve been injured in an ATV accident, book a free consultation to learn your legal options.
Can I sue if I was involved in a boating accident?
Yes, you can sue the negligent party if you’ve been injured while boating. It is not a legal requirement in the Atlantic provinces or in Ontario to insure your boat. However, it is recommended to obtain boat insurance to protect yourself in case you are involved in a boating accident. Your insurance coverage would allow you to sue the at-fault operator to recover for the damages caused to your boat, as well as the pain and suffering of the occupants. Other advantages of coverage include protection against freezing damage, deterioration, vandalism, and theft. If you’ve been injured in an boating accident, book a free consultation to learn your legal options.
Do I need to insure my ATV, snowmobile, or other off-road vehicle?
It is mandatory for everyone operating off-road vehicles off their property or across a highway to purchase third-party liability insurance coverage in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario. This coverage is not mandatory in PEI.
Under the standard insurance policies of the Atlantic provinces, Section A provides the insured with third-party liability that protects them against personal injury lawsuits that may arise against them (Section 3 in Ontario). Section B accident benefits help replace lost income and pay for other expenses such as medical care if they are involved in an accident (SABS or Section 4 in Ontario). Finally, Section D protects them against uninsured motorists (Section 5 in Ontario).
What happens if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?
If you are involved in a snowmobiling, ATV, or boating accident with someone who does not have insurance, you can sue under the uninsured driver portion of your own insurance policy. This insurance policy can either be that of the off-road vehicle you were operating, your own automobile, or the automobile of someone in the household in which you are a dependent. Recovering funds under the uninsured driver portion of your insurance policy will not affect your insurance premiums.
If you do not have an insurance policy, you can still seek recovery for your damages through the Facility Association (Atlantic provinces) or Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (Ontario). These bodies guarantee the availability of automobile insurance coverage to those eligible to obtain it. It is then up to the insurer to recover the funds against the at-fault driver if they wish to do so.
Off-Highway Vehicles Act, RS, c 323, s 1. (Nova Scotia)
Off-Road Vehicle Act, SNB 1985, C O-1.5. (New Brunswick)
Motorized Snow Vehicles and All-Terrain Vehicles Act, OC 96-240. (Newfoundland and Labrador)
Off-Highway Vehicle Act, RSPEI 198, C O-3. (Prince Edward Island)
Off-Road Vehicles Act, RSO 1990, c O.4. (Ontario)
Have questions for our team?
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.
If you cannot travel to one of our offices, we will accommodate your circumstances and travel needs. We can provide a consultation by phone, Zoom, or FaceTime, or travel to meet you in your home when required.
If you would like to learn your legal options at no obligation, contact us today to set up a free consultation.