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What is the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund?
The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (“MVACF”) is a fund established by the Ontario government to provide compensation to people injured in motor vehicle accidents. The MVACF is a payor of last resort, which means you can only receive compensation through the fund if there is no insurance coverage available.
The fund can provide two types of compensation:
- Statutory Accident Benefits; and
- Damages for personal injury and property damage.
I. Applying to the MVACF for No-Fault Benefits
In Ontario, any individual involved in a motor vehicle accident is entitled to no-fault benefits under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (the “SABS”). These benefits are available to any injured party, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
Normally, you apply for no-fault benefits through your own automobile insurance. If you do not have your own insurance, but are injured while an occupant of an insured vehicle, you would seek recovery through that policy. When neither of these options are available, you would seek recovery from the insurer of any other automobile involved in the accident.
In some rare cases, however, there is no insured automobile involved in the collision. For example, if you are the victim of a hit-and-run as an uninsured pedestrian, there would be no known insurance policy available. In these cases, the injured party can apply to the MVACF for benefits so long as they are a resident of Ontario and the collision occurred in Ontario.
II. Applying to the MVACF for Damages
When you are injured in an accident that was caused by the fault of someone else, there is a second avenue for potential compensation in Ontario. That avenue is a lawsuit (called a “tort claim”) against the at-fault party.
Generally, when you commence a tort claim against the at-fault party, the at-fault party’s insurance company responds to the claim and pays any settlement or judgment amount. Occasionally, the injured party’s insurance is responsible for paying the award. However, when the injured party is uninsured and the at-fault party is either uninsured or unidentified, there is no insurance company to respond to the claim. In such a case, the MVACF may compensate you for some of your damages, up to Ontario’s minimum liability limits of $200,000.
In order for this to occur, the injured party must first commence a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Once a judgment has been obtained, the MVACF will consider paying the claim.