Dalhousie Law Journal


motor vehicle insurance, car insurance, personal injuries, Section A benefits, uninsured driver, proof of fault, no-fault, car, driver, insurance policy, passengers


At one time the personal injuries aspects of a motor vehicle insurance policy were relatively simple. The insurer agreed to meet the cost of personal injuries caused to a third party by the fault of the insured. These are normally referred to as Section A benefits. In time, however, the coverage of the policy could be increased by the payment of additional sums so as to permit: i) the insured persons to recover against their own insurer for injuries or loss caused by an uninsured or under-insured driver in circumstances in which liability existed at common law; ii) recovery by the owner or driver regardless of proof of fault for injury or loss arising out of the use or operation of a car; iii) persons other than the driver or owner of a car (who came within the extended definition of insured person) to recover defined amounts from the insurer in circumstances (i) and (ii). The so-called Section B or "no-fault" benefits usually benefitted the owner or driver of a car (first-party claims) and members of his family or others riding in the insured's car but could cover other passengers. The inclusion of some "no-fault" benefits has become mandatory in motor insurance policies. This increase in coverage runs into actual or potential conflict with common law or statutory defences such as those restricting or preventing actions between spouses or gratuitous passengers and the driver who volunteered to drive them.

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