In McArdle v. Bugler, the Court of Appeal today held that a passenger in an uninsured vehicle, which had collided with another vehicle, was entitled to uninsured motorist insurance coverage applying to the second car. It held that the narrow definition of “person insured under the contract” in s. 265 of the Insurance Act must give way to the more broadly-worded definition of “insured” in s. 224 of the Act.
Section 265 of the Act (which is the section that provides for uninsured motorist coverage) defines “person insured under the contract” as “the insured and his or her spouse and any dependant relative of either,…while an occupant of an uninsured automobile”.
Section 224, on the other hand, is of more general application. It defines “insured”, for purposes of Part VI (Automobile Insurance), to mean, “a person insured by a contract whether named or not and includes every person who is entitled to statutory accident benefits under the contract whether or not described therein as an insured person”. [Emphasis added] This leads us to the definition of “insured person” in the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule for Accidents On or After November 1, 1996″. The latter definition includes, “in respect of accidents in Ontario, a person who is involved in an accident involving the insured automobile”. Applying these two definitions to this case, it was acknowledged by all parties, that the plaintiff would be an “insured person” for purposes of entitlement to statutory accident benefits and therefore, would fit within the definition of “insured” in s. 224.
In reaching its decision, the Court of Appeal applied one of its previous rulings, Taggart (Litigation Guardian of) v. Simmons (2001), 52 O.R. (3d) 704. In that case, the Court had upheld the dismissal of a motion for summary judgment by a passenger in an uninsured automobile who had claimed uninsured and underinsured coverage under a policy owned by a man with whom the plaintiff was living and who was evidently a surrogate father, of sorts. The Court of Appeal held in that case, if the plaintiff could show that he was a “dependent” of the surrogate father, he would be covered.
The Court had been asked, in McArdle, to overturn its decision in Taggart. However, it declined to do so.