Canadian Underwriter

Ontario court deems mosquito bite an accident

June 1, 2007   by

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Ontario’s Court of Appeal has deemed the 2002 biting of an outdoor worker by a West Nile Virus-carrying mosquito an accident and has awarded the worker $130,000 of coverage under his policy.

Ryszard Kolbuc was working as a plasterer when he was bitten by the virus-carrying mosquito, rendering him a paraplegic.

At the time of the accident, Justice Karen Weiler wrote in her endorsement, while mosquito bites were common to a person in Kolbuc’s occupation, there had been no reported cases of the West Nile Virus in Ontario.

“It was an unforeseen, unexpected event that was caused by an external source–a mosquito–and falls within the ordinary definition of an accident,” Justice Weiler wrote.

“The cause of the illness was an accidental event.”

While ACE Insurance Company of North America argued that an illness is not an accident, Weiler noted that that proposition standing alone is correct, but that an accident can cause a disease.

The costs of the trial and the appeal were awarded to Kolbuc, as well as the $130,000 of coverage he was entitled to under his policy.

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