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How Ontario’s “No Crash, No Cash” Law Affects Public Transit Lawsuits


When taking public transit in Ontario, there are many different ways in which you could suffer a physical injury. One is in an accident involving a collision, but there are other possibilities, as well – such as if the vehicle comes to a sudden stop and you fall to the floor. Under changes to the Ontario Insurance Act that occurred in 2011, a victim would be eligible for accident benefits in the first example, but not the second. This is nicknamed the “No Crash, No Cash,” law, and it could decide whether or not you have access to insurance coverage after a public transit incident. 

What Is the No Crash, No Cash Law in Ontario?

Prior to 2011, most injuries that arose while a passenger was on a public bus, the Metrolink, OmniTrans or another form of public transit in Ontario would be covered by insurance. Every motor vehicle driver in Ontario must carry liability insurance policies known as statutory accident benefits or no-fault benefits. If an individual who does not have this type of insurance gets injured in an accident involving a public transit vehicle, he or she has the right to claim these insurance benefits through the transit authority’s motor vehicle insurance policy.

A change to the Ontario Insurance Act on May 10, 2011, made it so that certain injuries are no longer covered. Specifically, Section 268(1.1) of the Insurance Act was altered to block access to accident benefits for riders on public transit vehicles who sustain injuries in any type of incident where the transit vehicle did not collide with another vehicle or object. This limitation applies to both coverage through the transit authority’s insurance and the victim’s own insurance.

The result of the changes became known as the No Crash, No Cash rule since the public transit vehicle has to crash or collide with something for accident benefits to become available. Unfortunately, this can leave victims with injuries caused by incidents that don’t involve collisions on public transit without a means of financial compensation.

How Does This Law Affect Your Rights After a Public Transit Injury?

If you sustain an injury in a public transit accident in Ontario, the No Crash, No Cash rule will typically bar you from filing an insurance claim unless you were injured in a collision, such as a bus crashing into a motor vehicle or fixed object. You generally cannot receive insurance accident benefits to pay for your medical bills, lost wages and other losses associated with the incident if it was caused by anything other than a collision. This includes:

  • The bus coming to an abrupt stop or making a sharp turn.
  • A slip or trip and fall accident.
  • A laceration due to broken or exposed metal on the bus.
  • Items falling out of an overhead storage compartment.
  • A vehicle door closing on a victim.
  • A criminal assault or attack onboard a public transit vehicle.

If your injuries were caused by a public transit collision, however, you will still be eligible for accident benefits. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may have to file a claim with your own insurance company under Ontario’s no-fault law. You do not have to deal with a tort claim or lengthy lawsuit to receive payment for your injuries through your own insurance provider in this scenario. Furthermore, if you weren’t at fault for the public transit accident, you typically won’t have to pay a deductible on property repairs.

Are There Exceptions to the Rule?

Yes. If a victim suffers a serious injury or has a tort claim with merit, the victim may still be able to pursue accident insurance benefits. It is important to discuss your public transit incident with an injury lawyer in Ontario if you believe you have grounds for a claim. A lawyer can thoroughly investigate your case and let you know your options for financial recovery despite the No Crash, No Cash rule. For more information about an injury sustained on public transit in Ontario, contact SG Injury Law.