Leasing Companies and Liability

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In Ontario, owning or having access to a vehicle is very convenient for most people. The operation of vehicles is governed by law and requires that:

  • you be of a minimum age
  • you be sound physically and mentally
  • you obey the rules and regulations of the road
  • the vehicle being operated be in proper working condition
  • the vehicle being operated be insured and registered

Driving is a major responsibility that not many fully appreciate. When people do not adhere to the law, it can have severe repercussions that can change peoples' lives forever. Here we will look at a decision that affects employers and employees alike.

Case example

In this case, Financial Transport Inc. brought forth a motion for summary judgment against K. Anthony. FTI was being held vicariously liable for an accident which involved one of their currently leased trucks.

In October of 2000, truck drivers Antony and Selliah were involved in a motor vehicle accident while working (transporting goods). At the time, Selliah was driving and Antony was asleep in the cab compartment of the truck. Fortunately it was a single vehicle accident and no other vehicles were involved.

Police investigations ruled that the crash was a result of speeding, at total fault of the driver Selliah. The police findings were not being disputed.

Both parties in the case agreed that this matter for the summary judgment can easily be resolved when held against the applicable laws that govern the matter.

In March of 2007, Antony's attempt to sue the trucking company Ontario Ltd. as well as the company that the trucks are leased from (FTI) was prohibited, based on the principles in the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance. The Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal however, ruled that the principles outlined in the Highway Traffic Act did not exempt FTI from possibly being held vicariously liable. The plaintiffs were then granted a "limited right of action".

The contention here is that FTI feels that the WSI Tribunal's ruling proved that liability did not fall on them (since their ruling severely limited the plaintiff's right to hold them liable). The plaintiff disagreed and saw that the ruling pointed to the fact that the defendant could be held liable in some capacity and that the matter should go to trial.

After examining previous cases and Supreme Court rulings that addressed the issue, the Judge weighed the evidence against the law and found that the rule did not exempt the defendants (FTI) from being held vicariously liable. He dismissed their action and saw that the case should go to trial.

At Gluckstein Lawyers, our extensive experience allows us to help you through the very lengthy legal process on the way to getting you your rightful compensation.

Whether we settle in or out of court, rest assured that you are represented by a professional and empathetic team of personal injury lawyers with your best interests at heart.


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