Articles for Non-Lawyers

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Car Accident in the Course of Employment: WSIB or Lawsuit? by Patricia Santucci

Should you pursue a WSIB claim or lawsuit if you’re injured in a car accident while in the Course of Employment?

I am often asked what happens when someone is injured in a car accident while in the course of his/her employment. Sometimes an injured person has the right to sue, sometimes not.

In this case, the answer is somewhat complicated. The issue usually becomes one of determining whether the injured person has the right to sue the at-fault party.

The Purpose of Worker’s Compensation

The purpose of the Worker’s Compensation system is to assist injured workers outside of the civil litigation system. Generally, workers give up their right to sue in exchange for benefits through the Worker’s Compensation system. Although not all workers and employers are part of the Worker’s Compensation system, most are part of the system and are organized into “Schedule 1 Workers and Employers” and “Schedule 2 Workers and Employers.”

Schedule 1 or 2 Worker or Employer?

If you are in the course of your employment when you are involved in an accident, you need to know whether you are a Schedule 1 or 2 Worker or Employer, and whether the person who caused the accident was in the course of his/her employment and whether he/she was a Schedule 1 or 2 Worker or Employer.

In certain circumstances you will have no choice but to pursue your claim through the WSIB. This happens when both you and the other driver are both in the course of your employment and if both of you fall under the same Schedule.

You get to choose whether to pursue a claim through the WSIB system or to bring a lawsuit if one of the following circumstances apply to your accident:

  1. You and the other driver were both in the course of your employment, but one of you is employed by a company that falls under Schedule 1 and the other was employed by a company that falls under Schedule 2, or
  2. You were in the course of your employment, but the other driver was not.

If your circumstances are such that you have the choice to pursue either WSIB benefits or a lawsuit the advice of a lawyer is really important.

WSIB or Lawsuit? 3 Critical Reasons Why You Need a Lawyer

  1. You may have the choice about how and where to pursue your claim (i.e. through Workplace and Safety Insurance Board or in the Courts by bringing a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver).
  2. You need to know which is the more appropriate forum if you do have a choice.
  3. You need to know whether you and the other driver meet the legal definition of “in the course of employment” at the time of the collision.

Complex Area Of Law

Depending on your circumstances, one system may be more appropriate to pursue than the other. As you can see, this is a complex area of law. If you have been involved in a car accident while at work, please contact Patricia, Santucci Personal Injury Law for a free consultation regarding your legal rights and options. We can help.

About the Author Patricia Santucci

Patricia Santucci is a personal injury lawyer born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. She holds several degrees having attended King’s College at the University of Western Ontario, McMaster University, earned a Master of Arts degree at the University of Windsor and an Ontario Teaching Degree from Teacher’s College as well as her Ontario Teaching Certificate. After graduating from the University of Alberta law school she was called to the bar in 2000. You can find Patricia on and LinkedIn or directly through this website