Uninsured Motorist Coverage is provided by your vehicle insurance policy
Under Ontario’s Insurance Act, every automobile insurance policy must provide policyholders with Uninsured Motorist Coverage. This coverage pays for property damage or personal injury losses if you were struck by a hit-and-run driver or in the event that the ‘at fault’ driver is uninsured. Under these circumstances, your insurance company pays for losses up to a maximum of $200,000, unless you are paying for additional coverage for this provision on your policy.
The statutory requirement for Uninsured Motorist Coverage states that an injured person is legally entitled to recover damages if they can: 1) establish that the uninsured party is at fault in causing their injuries; and 2) provide evidence for the amount of damages they are claiming.
For anyone injured or killed in a car accident caused by an unidentified or uninsured person, your insurer must pay the amount of damages that you (or your survivors) would have a legal right to recover from an ‘at fault’ driver, up to the limit specified on your policy. You and dependant family members are entitled to damages for bodily injuries if you were struck by a motor vehicle in any capacity, whether as a driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist. For property damage to the car and its contents and for the loss of use of your car, your insurer will also pay what you have a legal right to recover, subject to the deductible and maximum payable on your policy.
If you want to make a claim for uninsured motorist coverage, the following conditions must be met:
- Accidents involving an uninsured motorist must be reported to a police officer or other appropriate law enforcement within 24 hours (or as soon as possible).
- If making a claim for car or property damage, you must notify your insurer within 7 days of the accident.
- Insured injured persons must provide written notification of their claim to their insurer within 30 days of the accident (or as soon as possible).
- You must notify your insurer if the car accident resulted from a hit-and-run.
- If requested, you must make your vehicle available for inspection, to your insurer.
- Provide your insurer with the names and severity of injuries of everyone hurt in the car accident, as well as any property damage.
- As much evidence as possible must be submitted within 90 days (or as soon as possible) to support your claim, including details of the accident and your injuries and losses.
- Your insurer must be provided with a certificate from the medical or psychological professional treating who is treating your injuries, if they request it.
- You must undergo any medical examinations requested by your insurance company, and they will pay the costs of these evaluations.
- The medical certificate must reveal the cause of the injury, the type of injury and how long your disability is expected to last.
- Your insurer must be provided with details of any other insurance policy under which you have a right to injury compensation, excluding a life insurance policy.
The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund is a ‘last resort’ for uninsured accident victims
Ontario residents who were injured in a car accident that occurred within Ontario, where there is no vehicle insurance that covers their claims, can apply to the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF). An example scenario in which this type of claim would be appropriate is if an uninsured pedestrian or cyclist was injured by a hit-and-run driver. This government- funded benefit provides compensation to accident victims, with the following conditions.
- Statutory accident benefits are provided to people involved in a car accident where there is no vehicle insurance policy against which a claim can be made, including no access to Uninsured Motorist Coverage.
- Compensation for personal injury or damage to property/vehicle is provided for victims of a car accident involving an uninsured motorist, hit-and-run driver, or a stolen vehicle with no liability insurance.
- Where legally possible, the fund will recover expenses paid to accident victims from the owners and drivers of uninsured vehicles.
MVACF will pay out benefits under the guidelines of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS), which are the same benefits to which accident victims are entitled under their motor vehicle insurance policy. Anyone who wishes to make a claim for these benefits must complete and submit a SABS application form (available online at the MVACF website), the police report for the accident, and a letter confirming that they are not insured under any other policy.
In the administration of the MVACF fund, it is stressed that this is a ‘last resort’ source of compensation only, and that in the vast majority of cases, at least one party involved in any car accident is insured under a vehicle insurance policy against which a claim can be made. Under Ontario’s no fault insurance, someone involved in a car accident must first claim for accident benefits against the vehicle owner’s insurance company; this applies to drivers and passengers, or pedestrians/cyclists who may have been hit by a car. Injured accident victims also have the option to sue the at fault party (if identified), for any losses resulting from their injury.
Unfortunately, insurance companies sometimes provide barriers or attempt to unfairly limit a claim for Uninsured Motorist Coverage to which you are entitled under the law. The car accident lawyers at Injury Lawyers of Ontario (ILO) offer vast experience in representing clients in insurance and negligence claims. If you would like information on your legal right to injury compensation or need strong representation in an insurance company dispute, our lawyers are available to offer knowledgeable advice and to fight for your legal right to compensation. Call an ILO office today to find out how we can help with your case.