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Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund
Cars travel on public roads every single day. Whether people are commuting to work, running errands or going on a road trip, they are most likely travelling in a personal vehicle. Globally, an estimated 1.2 billion cars are on the road in 2020, and with that number only going up, the odds of getting into some kind of motor vehicle accident are ever increasing. Further, accidents don’t always just involve vehicle on vehicle collisions. Unfortunately, in some instances, innocent cyclists and pedestrians are involved. These types of accidents can result in serious injuries and can sometimes even be fatal.
Although it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle without insurance in Ontario, still people drive on public roads without insurance. Thankfully, there are compensatory measures that exist for occasions where there is no insurance coverage available, regardless of whether you are the driver, passenger or a pedestrian and are involved in an accident.
The MVAC Fund
When anyone is in an motor vehicle accident, The Insurance Act provides for Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, which includes income replacement (up to a certain amount) and medical and rehabilitation benefits. This is available to any injured party regardless of which party caused the accident and can be applied for and accessed through your own auto insurance.
Similarly, if you were injured as a passenger, you would go through the insured vehicles policy. There is also another avenue called the The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF). MVAFC is a branch of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario and was established as a safety net for those involved in any capacity of a motor vehicle accident by the Ontario government. It is considered to only be a last resort measure to provide compensation to those injured in a motor vehicle accident when there is no insurance coverage available through any of the parties involved. The Fund is mostly used where a driver or vehicle cannot be identified, such as a hit-and-run situation, but also when you were a pedestrian or a passenger in a vehicle and there is no insurance. However, there are also other instances for when it can be accessed as well as restrictions.
What does it provide?
It provides monetary funds to those injured in need of medical treatment. You may be eligible for:
- Statutory Accident Benefits if you suffered an injury
- Death and funeral benefits on behalf of someone who died
- Compensation for personal injury or property damage for victims of motor vehicle accidents (except for vehicles) caused by uninsured vehicles or unidentified drivers
How one can access it?
Before being paid out of the Fund, section 268(2) of Ontario Insurance Act (R.S.O. 1990, C. I.8) lists the priorities to determine which insurance companies must respond to an accident benefits claims, beginning with the victims own insurance company and MVACF being the last one on the list. Further, there is an Ontario residency requirement and does not allow Americans or tourists in the Province to access the fund, even if they were injured while in Ontario, unless there is a similar recourse available in their home jurisdiction, (S. 25(1), Motor Vehicles Accident Claims Act R.S.O. 1990, c. M.41).
Another way to access the fund is by initiating a Tort Claim through the litigation process. It is your right to sue the at fault party for various injuries, including lost income and extending to pain and suffering by the injured patron and their families. The MVACF will compensate the injured party on behalf of the at-fault party if all avenues through insurance companies involved have been exhausted. This happens when the at-fault driver cannot be identified (hit and run), or they are not insured. If this is the situation, the MVACF may cover up to $200,000 in liability compensation for damages after a judgement has been granted.
The process for claiming any insurance benefit is anything but simple and can be frustrating and lengthy at times when help is most needed. There are measures available to compensate injured victims and you should seek the advice of a qualified personal injury lawyer. Call Louis today.
This article was authored by Louis DelSignore, partner, and Steve Nicholson, articling student.