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Car accidents: What if the other driver is unidentified or uninsured?

It happens on Mississauga’s crowded roads: Two vehicles collide, and one or both drivers carry no automobile insurance. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation does not track how many people are driving cars without insurance, but it’s a growing concern.

Many uninsured drivers flee the scene of an accident immediately, and so may be unidentified as well as uninsured. What happens in such cases?

What if you have an accident with an uninsured or unidentified driver?

If you’re involved in such an accident, you may be able to obtain some compensation for personal injuries or damage to your vehicle. The Ontario Government created a Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF) to compensate automobile accident victims who have no recourse through an insurer. This typically involves accidents involving hit-and-runs, pedestrian or cyclist accidents, uninsured drivers or stolen vehicles. The Ministry pays an MVACF claim only if there is no insurer liable to pay your claim.

Making a Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund claim

The most the Ministry may pay for a single accident is $200,000, plus limited legal costs and disbursements.

You must try to find an insurer to pay your claim, even if the other driver is unidentified. You must make reasonable efforts to find the unidentified driver, including:

  • Working with police
  • Trying to find video if the accident took place at an intersection with traffic cameras, or
  • Tracking down possible witnesses to the accident.

If you cannot do this, you can then apply for compensation from the MVACF by completing an Application for Payment under section 7 of the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act.

The legislation and procedures are complex, and it is wise to retain the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer if you decide to seek this compensation from the Ontario Government.

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