Q&A: Hurt in a Car-Accident and someone needs to pay!

Question:

I have been in a car accident and suffered an injury. Can I sue the other driver?

Answer:

Saskatchewan is often referred to as a no-fault insurance jurisdiction. The reality is more nuanced.

In Saskatchewan, you can elect to either have no-fault insurance or ‘tort-election’ insurance. Each comes with different abilities to sue at fault drivers for your pain and suffering

The default coverage is no-fault insurance in Saskatchewan. With this option, you cannot sue the party who hurt you. Instead, SGI compensates you for your injuries, regardless of who caused the accident. Under no-fault coverage, SGI provides you with a broad range of benefits. However, this does not prevent you from suing the other party for some forms of specific economic loss above and beyond what was covered by your no-fault insurance. For example,

Saskatchewan driver’s are entitled to choose tort-election insurance instead of the no-fault coverage default. With this option, you still get basic insurance regardless of whoever caused the accident. However, the standard benefits included are fewer than no-fault coverage. Under this form of insurance, if the other driver is at fault, you are able to sue them for any injuries over and above your benefits, as well as any pain and suffering that may have resulted from the collision.

Tort-election coverage also allows you to also sue for economic loss: think loss of wages because you missed work due to your injuries. If you suffer what the government calls a ‘catastrophic injury,’ along the lines of paralysis or amputation, you will be entitled to additional benefits to compensate for this.

Tort-election insurance is subject to the regular rules of negligence and contributory negligence. This means if you choose to sue the other side under tort-election, there is a chance you may also be found at fault. If this happens, your damages will be reduced accordingly.

For more information about vehicle insurance in Saskatchewan, contact Jennifer D. Pereira, Q.C.

The above is for general information only. Parties should consider seeking legal advice prior to taking action in specific situations.
Copyright 2019 by Robertson Stromberg LLP. All rights reserved.

Q&A: Collecting loans from friends

Question:

I loaned some money to a friend and they won’t pay it back. What timelines should I be aware of, to make sure I don’t lose my chance to sue?

Answer:

If you lent money to a friend, you cannot wait forever to start a lawsuit. If you both agreed they would pay you back in a certain period, once they fail to do so, the clock begins ticking on when you can start a lawsuit.

The reason for this is that in most normal civil lawsuits in Saskatchewan, you have two years in which to commence a lawsuit with the court. After the two years are up, the law can no longer help you get your money back. 

However, always speak to a lawyer about your specific case. There may be exceptions. For instance, in order for the two-year clock to kick in, you have to know that the person has failed to pay you back. So, if for years you had legitimate grounds to believe you had been paid back, the clock may not start ticking until you actually realize you had a claim.

Anwers for general information only. Parties should consider seeking legal advice prior to taking action in specific situations.
Copyright 2019 by Robertson Stromberg LLP. All rights reserved.

Q&A: You cannot get blood from a stone – the realities of judgment enforcement

Question:

I have a judgment against someone who owes me money but they say they are broke. Is there any way to enforce my judgment and see if they have any assets?

Answer:

Getting a judgment can sometimes be the easy part, with the hard being to actually get paid. Thankfully, a lawyer can help you find out what assets the other party has, and can help you take their property to enforce your judgment.

In Saskatchewan, the Sheriff isn’t just a gun-toting guy from a Clint Eastwood movie – it’s a full government department with the authority to find and seize assets, in order to make sure people who obtain judgments get paid.

Usually, someone who doesn’t want to pay you will tell you they don’t have the money. Sometimes that is not true. For this reason, the law allows a person entitled to judgment, to question a debtor about their assets. The debtor is forced to list all their assets on a questionnaire. If they refuse to do that, the debtor can convene a questioning under oath before a court reporter, and ask questions about their bank accounts, employment salary, vehicles, insurance, mutual funds, etc. With that information, a judgment creditor can then tell the Sheriff where to serve enforcement documents.

If the debtor still refuses to do the above, you can proceed to court to ask a judge to order the person to provide complete and accurate information. If they then fail to obey, they may be guilty of an offence and face a fine or prison time for contempt of court.

Although the process seems straightforward, it involves a lot of rules, time, and know-how. Choosing the right assets to seize isn’t as easy as you think and the process can take time and legal fees. Speak to a lawyer to get a realistic sense of your chances of getting paid, and some potential timelines for your particular case.

The above is for general information only. Parties should consider seeking legal advice prior to taking action in specific situations.
Copyright 2019 by Robertson Stromberg LLP. All rights reserved.

Articles & Research, Jennifer D Pereira, Q&A