Following a motor vehicle collision in Ottawa, or anywhere across Ontario, there are typically two possible forms of compensation: 1) Accident Benefits; and 2) a tort claim (ie negligence lawsuit) against the at-fault driver.
Typically, these forms of compensation are paid through automobile insurance. Generally, the Accident Benefits are paid by the injured party’s insurer and the tort claim is paid by the at-fault driver’s insurer. But what happens when there are no insurance policies available?
The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (“the Fund”) is a fund established by the Ontario Government that provides compensation to people injured in motor vehicle collisions in Ontario, when there is no insurer to deliver Accident Benefits to the injured party or to respond to the tort claims.
The Fund is a payor of last resort, which means you can only receive compensation through the Fund if there is no insurance coverage available.
Who Can Apply to the Fund?
You can apply for compensation from the Fund if you: 1) live in Ontario; 2) were involved in a collision in Ontario where no one had auto insurance; and 3) were injured or have property damage worth over $100.
How Can I Obtain Accident Benefits Through the Fund?
In Ontario, every person injured in a motor vehicle accident is eligible to receive benefits under the province’s Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS), even if they are at fault for the accident. These benefits may cover medical treatment, income replacement, etc.
Normally, the injured party would apply for Accident Benefits through their own automobile insurance. If the injured person does not have their own insurance, but was a passenger in an insured vehicle when they were injured, they may seek benefits through the vehicle’s insurance. If the injured person does not have their own insurance and was not in an insured vehicle (i.e. they were a pedestrian, a cyclist, or were in an uninsured vehicle), they may seek benefits through the insurance of the other vehicle involved in the accident.
In rare circumstances, there may be no automobile insurance to respond to an injured person’s claim. For example, this would be the case where an uninsured person is injured in a collision where they either 1) weren’t in a vehicle (i.e. they were walking or cycling) and the vehicle who hit them was not insured, was stolen or cannot be identified (i.e. in a hit and run); or 2) were a passenger in a vehicle that was not insured and that was struck by another vehicle that was not insured, was stolen or cannot be identified (i.e. in a hit and run).
In these unusual situations, the injured person may seek compensation through the Fund.
To apply for Accident Benefits through the Fund visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/apply-motor-vehicle-accident-claims-fund.
How Can I Start a Tort Claim Against the Fund?
With some exceptions, a person injured in a motor vehicle collision in Ontario is entitled to sue the at-fault driver and/or owner of the vehicle that caused the accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance will then respond to the lawsuit on their behalf, paying any settlement or judgement amount. But what if the at-fault driver was uninsured or cannot be identified? Occasionally, the injured party’s own insurance is responsible for paying the award. But when the injured party is uninsured and the at-fault party is either uninsured or unidentified, the Fund may compensate the injured person for their injuries, up to $200,000 (including pre-judgment interest) per accident, plus legal costs.
If you live in Ottawa or anywhere else in Eastern Ontario and would like to sue an uninsured or unidentified motorist, contact the lawyers at SG Injury Law. We can be reached by any of the following ways: