In Canada, a person who injures you as a result of his or her negligence must put you back in the position you were in before you were injured. In the case of a car accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will step in and compensate any injured parties. But who pays if the at-fault driver leaves the scene of the accident or has no insurance?
The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program
In Alberta, not-at-fault drivers who are injured by an uninsured driver or in a hit-and-run can claim compensation for their injuries through the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program, aka MVAC.
MVAC operates very much like an insurance company, in that they employ insurance adjusters who evaluate and manage claims made against MVAC.
Note: Your own insurance company should pay for your medical and therapeutic treatments for up to 2 years after the accident, regardless of who is at fault. Therefore, your first step should be to call your own insurance company and open an accident benefits claim so you can start receiving treatment. If you have an eligible claim, MVAC will compensate you other losses, including pain and suffering, loss of income, loss of housekeeping, future cost of care, and out-of-pocket expenses.
How Do I Make a Claim?
If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by an unknown or uninsured driver, you should consult a personal injury lawyer to help guide you through the claims process. There are a number of steps that need to be completed before MVAC will open a claim, and even more steps before MVAC will pay out any compensation. A personal injury lawyer should be familiar with this process and can help you navigate it smoothly.
If you are injured in a hit-and-run accident, you must notify MVAC of your potential claim within 90 days.
Before MVAC will accept your claim, you must show that you have taken all reasonable steps to identify the at-fault driver. What constitutes “reasonable steps” differs from accident to accident.
MVAC also requires you to file a lawsuit against the Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program before they will discuss settlement. It is recommended that you hire a personal injury lawyer to handle this process on your behalf.
If you are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, you should notify MVAC as soon as possible.
Before MVAC will accept your claim, you must provide evidence that the at-fault driver is not covered under any insurance policy.
You must also file a lawsuit against the uninsured driver and any other at-fault parties. MVAC will only accept your claim if the driver or at-fault parties do not defend the lawsuit. It is recommended that you hire a personal injury lawyer to handle these steps.
How Do I Get Paid?
Once MVAC has accepted your claim it will be assigned to a bodily injury adjuster, who will evaluate your claim and negotiate a settlement. This process is similar to the settlement process with an insurance company. However, things can get a bit complicated after a settlement is reached.
Before MVAC will issue payment, there are a number of forms that need to be properly filled out and returned to MVAC. These forms can be confusing, and payment will be delayed if any mistakes are made. A personal injury lawyer with experience handling MVAC claims can help ensure that these forms are properly filled out and returned in a timely fashion.
Will MVAC Pay for my Car?
MVAC only accepts claims for bodily injury or death arising out of a car accident. MVAC will not pay any compensation for any property damage caused by an unknown or uninsured driver.
If you have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, your own insurance company should pay to repair or replace your vehicle.
If you only have personal liability and property damage (PLPD) coverage on your vehicle, your insurance company will not pay to repair or replace your vehicle. Unfortunately, if you only have PLPD and your vehicle is damaged in a hit-and-run or by an uninsured driver, you will be on the hook for any repairs your vehicle needs.
Note: Regardless of whether you have PLPD or comprehensive coverage, your insurance company is still responsible for paying for your medical treatments for up to 2 years after the accident.
Where Does MVAC Get the Money to Pay Out Claims?
MVAC is funded, in part, by the registration fees that drivers are required to pay each year when they register their vehicles. In cases where the identity of the at-fault driver is known, but the driver is not insured, MVAC can and will take steps to recover the full amount of any compensation they pay to an injured person from the uninsured driver.
How Can Moustarah & Company Help?
The personal injury lawyers at Moustarah & Company have experience submitting and settling claims through the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program and can help you navigate this difficult process. If you have been injured by an uninsured driver or in a hit-and-run collision, contact Moustarah & Company today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 780.428.6565.
The information provided on this website does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. Moustarah & Company does not guarantee that this information is accurate or up to date. As a result, should you require legal advice, please contact a personal injury lawyer.