Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers and the Ontario Court of Appeal – Farmers insuring ATVs
By: Brent Meadows
The Ontario Court of Appeal had to decide whether an unmodified all-terrain vehicle (ATV) owned and used by a farmer for day-to-day farming operations was a “self-propelled implement of husbandry” (ie. vehicle for farming). If an ATV is considered as such, then it would not be subject to Ontario’s mandatory vehicle insurance regime. In other words, it wouldn’t necessarily have to be insured under said regime.
Mr. Matheson, the plaintiff, owns approximately 900 acres of farm land that abuts onto a highway. On the day of the accident he used his ATV to get from one part of his land to the other using the highway. He only intended to drive his uninsured ATV on the highway for a short period of time. Sadly, while driving on the highway he was struck by Mr. Lewis and suffered catastrophic injuries.
The plaintiffs brought, inter alia, a Rule 21 motion (ie. determination of an issue before trial) to determine whether their claim was statute barred by operation of s.267.6(1) of the Insurance Act which provides that a person is not entitled to damages for injuries that occur while operating an uninsured vehicle.
The motion judge held that the ATV was excluded from Ontario’s mandatory insurance regime as it was a self-propelled implement of husbandry. The ONCA however reversed this decision and held that the ATV was NOT a self-propelled implement of husbandry.
The court arrived at this decision by reviewing Ontario insurance regime and its intended purpose. The court then referred to R v. Van Berlo where it was held that a vehicle must be ‘manufactured’ or ‘designed’ for a specific use in farming in order to be considered a self-propelled implement of husbandry. While the plaintiff exclusively used the ATV for farming, it could not be said that the ATV was ‘manufactured’ or ‘designed’ for a specific use in farming.
Most importantly, with respect to Ontario’s automobile insurance regime, the ONCA held that an ATV cannot be both an off-road vehicle requiring insurance and a self-propelled implement of husbandry excluded from the insurance regime. Moreover, reg. 893 explicitly provides that an ATV is an off-road vehicle and not a self-propelled implement of husbandry.
The Court of Appeal ultimately decided that the plaintiff’s claim was statute-barred by s.267.6(1) of the Insurance Act as he was uninsured, and his claim for statutory accident benefits was barred by s.30(1)(a) of the SABS.
ATV accidents and insurance
This is undoubtedly an important decision for insurers in Ontario. Now more than ever it would be prudent for farmers to obtain insurance for their ATVs. One question comes to mind: If Honda were to manufacture and design an ATV for a specific use in farming, could it be exempt from the Ontario’s mandatory vehicle insurance regime?
ATV accidents and personal injury compensation
As many make their way to the cottage for the long weekend, I wanted to touch on the use of off-road vehicles . Every spring I’m contacted as an injury lawyer and asked about ATV insurance claims. You would be shocked by the number of All-Terrain Vehicle and off-road vehicle accidents that occur each year. In most cases, the ATV flips and typically the accident results in serious injuries such as head injuries, broken bones and in some cases fatalities. Most ATV riders are excellent drivers and know how to ride their vehicles but something simply went wrong. Sometimes it’s an unexpected branch, a wire that crossed a path that they didn’t see, the ATV gained too much momentum or simply a fluke accident.
Are ATVs considered to be off-road vehicles?
What is clear is that ATV accidents happen, what’s unclear to some is if are they considered to be a motor vehicle and therefore subject to insurance laws and compensation as would be an accident involving a motor vehicle. I have had some off-road cases go all the way to the Ontario Court of Appeal to determine the definition of what is a motor vehicle. In one case, my client was on an uninsured dirt bike and we were successful in proving that he was entitled to maximum compensation. More and more ATVs are used for mainly recreational purposes and sometimes for work on farming lands. Now that summer is here, there will be more and more ATV vehicles out and many of the drivers are considered to be minors.
The Off-Road Vehicles Act describes the rules and laws surrounding ownership and operation of off-road vehicles including ATVs. It also describes what insurance is covered. The Act states:
For legislation purposes, an “off-road vehicle” is considered to be:
1. Dune buggies.
2. All-terrain vehicles with steering handlebars and a seat that are designed to be straddled by a driver.
3. Vehicles designed for utility applications or uses on all terrains that have 4 or more wheels and a seat that is not designed to be straddled by the driver.
Should your ATV have its own insurance policy?
The laws surrounding who can drive off-road vehicles are clearly laid out in the Act. Children are permitted to drive off-road vehicles, with certain conditions. Children under the age of 12 can drive an off-road vehicle if they are on the land owned by the owner of the vehicle, and under the close supervision of an adult. This means that no child under the age of 12 can drive an off-road vehicle off the property of the owner of the off-road vehicle. Children under the age of 16 can drive an off-road vehicle off of private property with a valid G2 or M2 license.
All off-road vehicles must have licence plates, and drivers must have an issued permit, by the Ministry of Transportation. Off-road vehicles may not be driven on highways, unless the driver has a valid driver’s licence. All off-road vehicles must also be insured by a valid insurance policy. Like when you are driving a car, evidence of insurance and ownership must be made available when using the vehicle. Failure to provide proof of insurance or ownership may result in a warning, fine or order to produce within a certain time frame. The only time this is not required is when the vehicle is being driven on private property owned or operated by the owner of the off-road vehicle. In other words, you and your family don’t need insurance or licence if you are driving your vehicle on your own cottage or farm property. The second your off-road vehicles leaves your property, it must be insured.
Like a motor vehicle, purchasing insurance and opting for additional insurance coverage is always a good idea. In the event of an accident, you and your family will be much better covered and cared for. In most cases a separate insurance policy is not even required and your off-road vehicle can be added to your existing car insurance policy. Ontario accident benefits can then be accessed to cover you for things such as medical rehabilitation, home care, caregiving, income replacement, house keeping etc…
Basic rules for off-road vehicles
- drivers must observe a speed lower than posted limits.
- Passengers are not permitted.
- Are allowed to tow trailers.
- Must not have obstructed views.
- Never drive an off-road vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
- Must wear a helmet
As the owner of an off-road vehicle, who are you responsible for?
As the owner of an off-road vehicle, you are responsible and liable for any negligence of drivers of your vehicle if you have given them consent. In other words, if you give permission to say a friend to use your off-road vehicle and they get in an accident and injure someone, you will be liable in that lawsuit and your insurance company may need to compensated the injured party.
The rules and laws surrounding the use of off-road vehicles are complicated. Most important is that everyone drives their vehicles in the safest manner possible. ATV vehicles are particularly tippy and children need to be closely supervised. In the event of an accident where someone is injured, it’s important to contact an injury lawyer to determine your rights and compensation. I have had many ATV accident cases where my clients were unaware of the compensation and supports available to them. Securing maximum compensation and support is key. As an Ottawa injury lawyer, I urge you to absolutely insure your off-road vehicles and opt for any additional benefits that you may be entitled to. In the event you or a loved one is injured, you will never regret having made this decision. Safe riding !
Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth on CTV news.
Please join personal injury lawyer David Hollingsworth this afternoon on CTV news at noon with Leanne Cusack. We’ve had some great questions come in so far and I’m looking forward to today’s segment as the ask the expert on CTV. On today’s show we hope to cover questions that relate to:
Summer safety, pool safety, water parks and off-road vehicles.
A few questions that were sent to our Ottawa injury lawyers and we hope to be able to cover relate to:
- A deceased family member and a lost will. What should you do?
- “Lemon clauses” when it comes to buying used cars
- A Quebec resident who was in a car accident in Ontario. Which insurance regime to go through- Ontario insurance or Quebec insurance?
- Difficulties with a contractor mid renovations the cost of the renovation doubles. What can you do?
- Child injuries and how to proceed
We hope you are able to tune in at noon today on CTV. We look forward to answering all your legal questions. If we can’t get to your question on today’s segment, feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to help.
Who doesn’t need free legal advice?
David Hollingsworth will be appearing regularly on CTV news and is available to answer your questions on or off the air. Whichever you are most comfortable with. If you have a legal question you would like answered on CTV news or need some free legal advice, contact David and he will happily offer free legal counselling. Even if your question does not pertain to personal injury, David can answer your question and if it is very specific, he can refer you to other reputable Ottawa lawyers who specialize in your field of interest.
Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth. A recreational vehicle accident involving a mini four wheeler ATV sent a man and a woman to hospital early this morning at approximately 4:40 a.m. on a gravel trail located off Anderson Road and just south of Renaud Road. The driver was a 26-year-old male driver and his passenger was 29. Both ATV riders were thrown off the ATV after the ATV crashed into an aluminum gate on the park trail. The female passenger was not wearing a helmet and was found unconscious when paramedics arrived. She suffered serious head injuries and injuries to her torso and limbs. Ottawa paramedics rushed her to the Ottawa Hospital Trauma Centre in critical condition. The driver had a helmet on and suffered personal injuries and is stable condition. I hope both people are able to recover from this terrible ATV accident . Sadly, the number of people in Ontario seriously hurt due to an ATV accident continues to rise. Here are some statistics on ATV accidents
- 3,386 ATV accidents that required hospitalization in Canada in 2009, compared with 3,193 in 2008 and 2,577 in 2001.
- 311 ATV accidents resulting in personal injuries in Canada in 2009 involving kids 10-14 years old.
- 477 ATV accidents resulting in personal injuries in Canada in 2009 involving kids 15-19 years old.
- 472 ATV accidents resulting in personal injuries involving persons 20-24 years old.
Source: Canadian Institute for Health Information
Ottawa ATV accidents and personal injuries
Our Ottawa personal injury lawyers know the legal issues surrounding ATV accidents in Ontario. Every spring and summer we help people who have been seriously injured in an ATV accident or people who have lost a loved on in an accident in Ontario. An ATV is considered to be a motor vehicle and therefore people who are injured are entilted to insurance compensation whether they are at fault or not. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it is important you speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer about your accident and make sure you access the accident benefits and compensation you need and are entitled to. Our Ottawa lawyers are experienced in ATV accidents and will provide experienced legal advice . Simply email at email@example.com or our website www.ottawainjury.ca
Ontario Snowmobile Accident Lawyer, Ottawa Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth..The weather we have been getting here in eastern Ontario has left many snowmobilers and ice fishing enthusiasts in a dangerous position. It seems as though one day, mild weather is on it’s way and the next we are hit with 15 centimetres of snow. What concerns me as an Ontario injury lawyer is how dangerous it can be out there on the ice. The most obvious snowmobiling rule is to never cross water as there are no guarantees that ice is thick enough to support a human or a motor vehicle such as a snowmobile. Ice is always dangerous and could break open at any point. I would caution everyone to stay clear of frozen water it is absolutely certain it is safe.
Snowmobiles have far less traction for starting, turning, and stopping on ice than they do on snow. It is always best to travel at slower speeds, allowing a snowmobile driver to keep better control and fast stop on shorter notice. Trying to stop a snowmobile that is travelling at higher speeds typically results in spins, which are not only dangerous but can be fatal. For best control, it is best to drive your snowmobile from a seated position.
Snowmobile accidents on Ontario lakes are far too common. Most Ontario lakes are flat, wide open areas, but they are not free of obstructions. Remember, if you can ride and turn in any direction while operating on a lake, so can other snowmobile riders. That means that another driver could appear out of nowhere. A snowmobile accident could happen at any time. Although there are many head on snowmobile accidents each year in Ontario, drowning is a leading cause of fatal snowmobile accidents. To be safe, it’s always best to wear a floatation snowmobile suit and ride with ice picks.
What to do if you fall through the ice..
If the ice breaks and you fall through the ice, try to stay calm. Place your arms out in front of you on the outer unbroken ice . Try to kick your feet to propel yourself up onto the ice. Keep doing so until the ice stops breaking. If you don’t have an ice pick, use anything sharp such as keys or a knife to help dig into the ice and give you a grip. Don’t remove your gloves. Once you get up onto the ice, crawl away from the hole. Absolutely do not stand up until you are safely far away from the hole as standing up increases the chances of the ice cracking.
A snowmobile is considered to be a motor vehicle. All snowmobiles must be registered, no matter what they’re used for or where they’re used. Safety is so important to enjoying snowmobiling. Each year, many accidents happen that are completely preventable, causing needless death and injury each year.
If someone you know or if you have been injured in an Ontario snowmobile accident, you many be entitled to Ontario accident benefits through your own insurance. If you have not insured your snowmobile, you may still be entitled to Ontario accident benefits. There are options out there and help for you. Consult an Ontario personal injury lawyer to discuss how you can get some help.
———————- Our Ottawa Injury Lawyer Blog is written regularly by Ontario personal injury lawyer David Hollingsworth. The Ottawa Injury Lawyer Blog reports on accidents in eastern Ontario, personal injury issues, local Ottawa news and events and various news that relates to Ottawa, accidents and personal injury. Visit www.ottawainjury.ca for more information. If you have a topic you would like me to write about or if you have a question, please call or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org (613) 978-9549
Ottawa Ontario snowmobile accident lawyer David Hollingsworth, Ontario Accident Benefits Snowmobile Accidents
Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth … Unfortunately, with winter here, there are far more recreation vehicle accidents out there. I’m sorry to report of a fatal ATV accident outside of l’Ange Gardien this past Friday. Sadly, 50-year-old Yvan Bergeron of Gatineau was driving his ATV on route 309 around 10:30 p.m. without any lights on and was killed. Yvan Bergeron was then hit and later pronounced dead at a Buckingham hospital. My thoughs go out to the Bergeron family and their friends. Police are asking anyone who had seen or talked to Yvan Bergeron on Friday to contact them at 819-459-9911, extension 3286.
There were 194 fatal ATV accidents in Ontario last year. We need to do everything we can to bring this number down and aim to make ATV riding a safer activity.
———————- This Ottawa Injury Lawyer Blog is written regularly by Ottawa personal injury lawyer David Hollingsworth. Since 1999, David has been an Ottawa injury lawyer dedicated to helping Ontario accident victims and the families of accident victims who have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in an Ontario accident. This blog reports on accidents in eastern Ontario, personal injury issues, local Ottawa news and events and various news that relates to Ottawa, accidents and personal injury. Visit www.ottawainjury.ca for more information. If you have a topic you would like me to write about or if you have a question, please call or email me: email@example.com (613) 978-9549