The SAAQ can render negative decisions that can have a significant impact on your file and on your right to adequate compensation following a road accident.
The Automobile Insurance Act (hereinafter the Act) clearly states that a person who believes he has been wronged by a decision rendered by an officer can, within 60 days of notification of the decision, ask, in writing, the Société to review the decision. While there is a chance you could be excused for not contesting within the required time frame, do not assume that all reasons will be accepted. You must then explain to the SAAQ review officer why you haven’t acted in the prescribed time frame and this, even before being heard on the merits of the decision that is being challenged.
If you decide to contest the review officer’s decision (before the Tribunal Administratif du Québec pursuant to Section 83.49 of the Act), the 60-day delay upon receipt of the decision also applies:
A person who believes he has been wronged by a decision rendered by the Société or by a decision rendered after a review may, within 60 days of notification of the decision, contest the decision before the Administrative Tribunal of Québec, except in the case of a decision granting a maximum indemnity or the full reimbursement of expenses to which such person is entitled.
Moreover, a person may contest before the Tribunal the decision whose review the person applied for if the Société does not make a decision within 90 days after the receipt of the application, subject to the following:
(1) if the person who applied for the review requested more time to present observations or produce documents, the 90-day time limit runs from the time observations are presented or documents are produced;
(2) if the Société considers it necessary, to allow it to make a decision, that an examination be conducted by a health professional or that documents be produced, the time limit is extended for 90 days; the person who applied for the review must be notified of the extension.
It is important to understand that challenging a decision outside of the prescribed time period can lead to significant complications and dramatically reduces the possibility of reversing a negative decision if they effectively judge that you do not have sufficient grounds to justify your inaction in that prescribed time period.