I’ve been injured in a car accident with an uninsured driver, who pays the bills?
Car accidents are frightening and suffering from an injury adds more stress to the situation. You may then discover that the other driver does not have any car insurance. This can cause complete panic, as you wonder how you are going to cover repairs and medical costs.
Insurance is required in Canada to ensure that every driver is financially responsible for their actions on the road. Even though it is illegal to drive without insurance, the Ontario Provincial Police’s highway safety division has stated there are nearly 2,100 uninsured vehicles involved in accidents on Ontario roadways each year.
You will not be held responsible for their actions.
Anyone caught driving without insurance in Ontario is still held legally responsible for their actions and any accident related injuries. It can also result in fines, vehicle impoundment and criminal charges.
What if the driver who hit me fled the scene of the accident?
Uninsured/unlicensed drivers are the most likely to flee an accident to avoid facing fines and legal action. You can still receive compensation for damages and repairs related to the accident. In the case where the driver remains unknown, you also have the right to pursue a case for compensation.
How do I make a claim against an uninsured driver?
Contact your insurance company
While it may seem backwards to make a claim with your own insurance company for an accident that was not your fault, Ontario has a “no-fault” car insurance system. This means that if you are injured or your car is damaged in an accident, you would contact your own insurance company instead of going after the at-fault driver for compensation.
The Ontario Insurance Act section 265 legislates that all people must have uninsured coverage, known as “section 265 coverage”. This means that every insurance contract or policy must have coverage for injuries caused by uninsured and unidentified drivers.
This also applies for any passengers in your car, if they are injured in the accident, they will contact their own insurance company for benefits. In the case they do not have any insurance, your policy may pay for their damages as well.
Even under a “no-fault” system, the law requires insurance companies to assign a percentage of fault for each of the drivers involved in the accident using “Fault Determination Rules”. These rules are regulated under the Insurance Act, and differ from any charges laid by the police under the Highway Traffic Act.
Note: Any time you make a claim with your insurance company, you will want to ask about the deductible and any increases to your premiums before deciding to proceed with the claim.
Make a claim with Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund
The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF) provides government funded compensation and/or statutory accident benefits to those injured who do not have insurance or who are involved in accidents with uninsured or unidentified drivers.
This is considered a last resort to cover damages when there is no auto insurance coverage on behalf of either party available to respond to an injury claim for damages.
Note: The claimant and his/her lawyer are responsible for obtaining a judgment by following the MVACF claim process. MVACF’s current third party liability limit is $200,000.00 (inclusive of pre-judgment interest), per occurrence, plus partial legal costs and disbursements.
Most importantly, understand your options clearly.
With any accident injury claim, there is a trial and judgement process, so it is extremely important to understand all of your rights before you proceed. Many insurance companies will require that you have the right documentation and correct forms, as well as proof of the accident.
Understanding your rights and what you are entitled to after a car accident is essential. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer can provide a clearer picture of how injury claims work under these circumstances, so you can choose the best course of action for you.
Visit our FAQ’s page for more injury claim, compensation and claim process information.
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