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Driver of vehicle without owner âs consent still qualifies for coverage: FSCO

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A Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) arbitrator has ruled a 17-year-old driver who suffered serious injuries in an accident should receive non-earner benefits even though it is alleged he was driving a car without the owner's consent.

The main issue in the arbitration of R.P. and Intact Insurance Company was whether or not the driver, who was not named because of his status as a minor, could "reasonably have known that he lacked consent to drive the 1998Lincoln," notes the ruling by arbitrator John Wilson, released in April.

If R.P. had either direct consent from the owner to drive the car, or if he had a reasonable belief the owner consented, then he is eligible to claim non-earner benefits as some compensation for the major disabilities arising from the accident.

R.P. had regularly driven the car, which was owned by a family with which he lived. That being the case,Wilsonruled it was reasonable for him to assume he had consent on the night of the accident, April 11, 2009.

Thus, the "evidentiary burden" of proving that R.P. knew he lacked consent fell to Intact Insurance Company, the arbitrator determined.

"I find that Intact has not met its burden of proving that, at the time of the accident, R.P. knew or should reasonably have known he was driving the 1998Lincolnwithout the owner's consent, as set out in section 30(1)(d) of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule," Wilsonadded.

Courtesy of Canadian UnderwriterMagazinewww.canadianunderwriter.ca

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