If you were injured during an accident in another province or in the US, a personal injury lawyers can still help you. However, there must be a connection between the jurisdiction (Ontario) and your claim and having the claim in Ontario must be reasonably fair to the defendant as well. This connection can include your residency in Ontario itself and/or the medical treatment you received in an Ontario hospital for the injuries you sustained in the accident in question.
For the defendant, the circumstances are different. Each case is different and different factors need to go be considered and weighed together in order for the trial to take place in Ontario.
Some of these factors include:
- Inquiring as to whether the establishment of jurisdiction in Ontario would result in any considerable unfairness to the person(s) you are suing. The court must consider whether an out-of-province defendant is covered by an insurance policy that responds to claims made in Ontario. If that is the case, then the burden of defense falls on the insurer rather than the defendant him/herself.
- What would be fair to you would also be considered. The court must be fair to the plaintiff in determining whether it would be significantly unfair for you to participate in an out-of-province court as opposed to your home jurisdiction. Also, if you are still suffering from injuries, the court would recognize that it would be inconvenient for you to litigate elsewhere.
- Other parties must be taken into consideration. This includes witnesses, any law enforcement who appeared on the scene of the accident, or emergency professionals. If the core of action occurred in another province or country, the courts are more wary of assuming jurisdiction. This doesn’t mean it’s not possible, however.
- If it is a cross-border case, the court must consider international standards and jurisdiction rules not only in Ontario but in the defendant’s location. The court can consider and recognize agreements Canada is involved in.
In short, the courts must take everything into consideration into deciding whether or not Ontario should assume jurisdiction.
If the Ontario court decides to assume jurisdiction over the case, the next step is to determine if there is another forum that is more ideal for entertaining the action. A list of several factors has been developed by the courts that may be considered in deciding the most appropriate forum. These factors include:
- The location of the evidence and key witnesses.
- The location of most of the parties involved.
- Whether or not turning down jurisdiction will prevent the plaintiff the chance of a legitimate juridical advantage that would be available in domestic court
- Contractual provisions that specify core jurisdiction or applicable law
- The weight of the applicable law compared to the factual questions requiring a decision
- Keep in mind that regardless where the defendant resides and where the accident occurs, he or she still may have insurance coverage that meets claims made in Ontario.
- Also, if the court proceedings take place in Ontario and the defendant ignores the suit (this is more common among defendants in the US), you still win by default.
As this is a complicated matter, you should seek free consultation with lawyers from Clarke Law. They can help you understand the circumstances and your options.