Notifying Insurers Following an Accident Resulting in a Coma – Is the Seven Day Time Limit Flexible?
Author(s): Darcy R. Merkur
April 17, 2023
Many seriously injured accident victims end up in a coma following a motor vehicle accident
These days many comas are medically-induced and are designed to reduce the effects of swelling within the skull following a significant brain injury.
Since the Ontario automobile legislation requires accident victims to notify their insurance company of an injury claim within seven days of an accident, friends and families of coma patients are often at a loss about how to deal with an insurance company while their loved one is incapacitated.
Thankfully, in these circumstances failure to comply with the 7-day notice requirement has no major negative consequences on your ability to make a claim for benefits. Insurers are quite understanding in these circumstances and the legislation does provide exemptions for circumstances where it is difficult to notify the insurer in a timely way.
Best practice is to notify the appropriate insurers as soon as practical. You should aim to do so within seven days but in serious injury cases, like ones involving a coma, that sometimes is impossible.
Speaking more specifically, since the accident victim is in a coma, they are not in a position to provide anyone with their insurance information, and that information may not be known by their friends and family. Further, if the injured person is a pedestrian hit by a car and does not have their own insurance, then they will be reporting their injuries and making a no-fault accident benefit claim to the insurance company of the vehicle that hit them once that insurer is identified.
The requirement to notify insurers within seven days is really a provision designed to help insurers appreciate the consequences of accidents. It is important that insurers are notified in a timely way of accidents and claims so that they can properly investigate matters including whether they are the appropriate insurer (as they have limited time to investigate and dispute whether they are the correct insurer).
We encourage friends and family of those in a coma or otherwise seriously injured to arrange a free consultation with an experienced Ontario trauma lawyer about the best way to handle reporting matters promptly to the appropriate insurer.
Darcy Merkur is a highly regarded Ontario trauma lawyer helping accident victims such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, who have sustained catastrophic injuries.
Darcy is the first lawyer in Canada to be qualified as a Certified Brain Injury Specialist by the Brain Injury Association of America. In addition, Darcy has been recognized as a Certified Specialist in Civil Litigation by the Law Society of Ontario, is listed in peer-reviewed publications – Lexpert® and The Best Lawyers™ in Canada, is ranked AV Preeminent® in Martindale-Hubbell ® and is a partner at Thomson Rogers, one of Ontario’s Top 10 Personal Injury Law Firms as selected by Canadian Lawyer Magazine, and ranked one of the Best Law Firms in Canada by The Globe and Mail.
Darcy can be reached at 416-868-3176 or by EMAIL.