An Odd Twist in a Tragic Story

In the early hours of October 28, 2012, seventeen year old Brandon Majewski hopped on his bicycle with two friends to go out for hot dogs. As they bicycled down the road, a SUV struck the three cyclists from behind, killing Brandon and seriously injuring his friend Richard McLean. The other young cyclist, Jake Roberts was lucky to escape with only minor scratches. This tragic incident has sparked legal actions on both sides. Brandon’s family started a legal action against the driver of the SUV, Sharlene Simon. Recently, Brandon’s family was served with legal papers indicating that Ms. Simon is counter suing Brandon and the other two young cyclists for the emotional trauma she suffered that night.

You can read the family’s response to the legal action by Ms. Simon in the Toronto Sun by clicking here.

Through her lawyer, Ms. Simon explains why she is counter suing Brandon and the other young cyclists in a follow-up story a few days later in the Toronto Sun here.

In reading these two articles, I get the impression that Ms. Simon only counter sued because the original legal action by Brandon’s family and the other injured cyclist was to protect herself from financial ruin. In Ontario, everyone is required by law to carry third party liability insurance. The minimum amount of third party liability insurance in Ontario is $200,000. However, most people carry $1,000,000 in third party liability insurance. In this case it appears that Ms. Simon had $1,000,000 in third party liability insurance. This means that her insurer would be required under the terms of the insurance policy to pay all damages payable to Brandon’s family and the injured cyclist up to a maximum of $1,000,000. If the damages assessed against Ms. Simon exceed $1,000,000, she is personally liable for those additional amounts. Practically speaking, in most cases, the plaintiff in a legal action will not pursue the damages that exceed the third party liability insurance limits. However, the defendant is still at risk. To avoid this personal risk, most people should consider increasing their third party liability insurance limits to $2,000,000 or even $3,000,000. While damages in Ontario rarely exceed $1,000,000, there is the risk that you will be involved in a serious collision and you want to make sure your personal assets are protected. Further, you would ensure that someone seriously injured would be more adequately compensated for her or his severe injuries. One lesson you can take from this tragic story is to examine your own insurance policy to make sure you have adequate automobile insurance coverage.

Kristian Bonn, Personal Injury Lawyer

Bonn Law Office, Trenton/Belleville, ON