Most people understand the importance of carrying car insurance to protect themselves and others in the event of a serious injury or property damage. In addition to the risk of not being able to cover damages resulting from an accident, uninsured drivers can face considerable penalties in Ontario, with fines starting at $5,000 for the first offence.
Unfortunately, not all drivers take the necessary steps to ensure they have a policy in place before venturing onto the roads. According to a 2010 article, there are approximately 2,100 uninsured cars involved in accidents each year in Ontario. Even given these statistics, at least one car involved in an accident is usually insured if more than one vehicle is involved. However, uninsured drivers pose a particular threat when they injure a pedestrian and there is no other policy to turn to. Further, victims of hit-and-run accidents may have little recourse where there is no car or driver to look to for coverage.
What happens in these cases where a person is left injured from a motor vehicle accident without an insurance policy to make a claim against? Fortunately, the province has put protections in place to cover these situations, by starting the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (“the Fund”).
What is the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund?
The province created the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (the “Fund”) to compensate victims of motor vehicle accidents where there is no insurance policy to turn to for coverage. The Fund is intended to be a “last resort” for compensation in cases where none of the parties involved were insured, or the car involved can not be identified for the purposes of making an insurance claim.
Who Can Apply for Coverage Under the Ontario Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund?
If none of the parties involved in an accident had motor vehicle liability insurance, recovery for damages or injuries becomes complicated. Ontario residents who suffered injury or property damage in an accident in Ontario may apply for no-fault benefits and damages through the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund if:
- (a) none of the parties involved had car insurance, and
- (b) the claimant incurred damages over $100.
You might find yourself needing to apply for coverage under the Fund if, for example, you are a pedestrian who was struck by a driver who was uninsured or a passenger involved in an accident where none of the vehicles were insured. If the offending vehicle was stolen, or if you were involved in a hit-and-run accident, you may also be eligible.
What Damages Can I Claim Under the Ontario Motor Vehicles Accident Claims Fund?
Claimants seeking damages for personal injuries under the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund can apply for damages of up to $200,000 per accident plus their legal costs. The funds can cover issues such as:
- Accident benefits if you suffered an injury;
- Death and funeral benefits on behalf of someone who died; or
- Compensation for personal injury or property damage (except for vehicles).
Note that claimants seeking damages for lost or damaged property can only apply for compensation if the owner/driver of the at-fault vehicle is identified.
Owners and Drivers of Uninsured Vehicles and the Ontario Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund
Rest assured that the owner and/or driver of the uninsured vehicle still bear responsibility for their actions. The owner and/or driver, if identified, must repay the Fund for the amount paid to a person for their injuries or damages. The owner and/or driver will have their driver’s licence suspended until they commit to a repayment schedule or repay the amount in full, and will face additional consequences if they fail to do so.
How to Apply for Coverage Under the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund
Depending on the type of coverage a person is seeking, there are various forms to complete and additional supporting documentation they must submit. For example, a person looking for accident benefits under the Fund would need to submit an application form, a copy of the police report, and a consent and notification. When seeking death or funeral benefits, the applicant would also need to submit a coroner’s report or death certificate, as well as documents relating to the funeral.
Contact Tierney Stauffer in Ottawa and North Bay for Uninsured Motor Vehicle Accident Claims
If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or unidentifiable driver, be sure to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands your rights and the best way to advance your claim. Accidents, where there is no insurance policy, can be especially stressful given the unique additional steps involved for seeking compensation.
At Tierney Stauffer LLP, our experienced personal injury lawyers have the skills and resources necessary to ensure that all avenues of recovery are pursued and to guide you through the process. If you have been involved in a car or truck accident, let our team focus on the legal side of your claim so you can focus on what matters most – getting better.
Our lawyers recognize that no two personal injury claims are the same, which is why we give each claim the personalized attention needed to protect your rights and bring about the best possible outcome. Call us at 1-888-799-8057 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with a member of our team.